Hell: Amsterdam container town

Rotterdam's plans for a Container Town where the city's asocial families will be placed is meant to serve as a harmless solution to a nuisance problem. According to experts, however, such 'aso-villages' won't solve anything.

The Algemeen Dagblad conducted an interview with the Dimitrov family in the Amsterdam Container Town. This family is in danger of being kicked out of the aso-village.

Joost Eerdmans, leader of Leefbaar Rotterdam, proposed the plan that would round up Rotterdam's scoundrels and keep them in one, manageable area for rehabilitation. "It is a solution that gives false hope", says Michel Vols, specialist in public order and maintenance. He claims that earlier initiatives have proved futile. "Problems displace and deepen themselves, but are not solved."

In Amsterdam, two brothers of the family Dimitrov live in a container home off the A10. The municipality believes this family to be the most problematic in Amsterdam, responsible for bullying, intimidation and countless reports of nuisance behavior.

After becoming too much for their neighbors in the Eilanderstraat, they were forced to move to an aso-home where the workers now receive the brunt of their asocial behavior. The municipality claims that the workers are being intimidated, and that rent hasn't been paid in months. On Thursday, housing corporation Rochdale will be in court, as they want to clear the container home.

Eldest son of the family, Stewa Genisov, has had enough of the fight with the municipality. "It's hell here", he says. There is mold on the wall, and the house is cold. His children have been taken away by social workers.

His younger brother says "we are known everywhere as 'those monsters'. Everyone knows our family name, no city wants to let us in. My mother is ashamed.'

The bitterness in this family shows what will be the eventual downfall of these aso-villages, according to Vos. Adrianne Dercksen agrees. She did historical research on the phenomenon. "People are not better off in such a 'thug-village'. The exclusion, the stamp that they get, only causes more anger and more rage."

Vols wants to try a new method. In England, communities use the Acceptable Behavior Contract (ABC) as a preventative measure for nuisance families, it is not law-binding. This is a preliminary step which, if broken, leads to an Anti-social Behavior Order (ASBO), which is a criminal offense. Whoever makes too much noise or is a public nuisance, has to stop. Punishment can be eviction or even jail time.

There is some abuse to this rule, however, Vols admits. "Some residents weren't allowed to have loud sex anymore, or whistle a tune." Overall, the results were positive. This also makes it possible to tackle home-owners, who are hard to evict.