Sunday 17 October 2021

‘Happenings’ founder Grootveld dies

Robert Jasper Grootveld, one of the most emblematic figures of the 60s provo (provocation) movement, has died in a nursing home at the age of 76.


Grootveld was famous for the ‘happenings’ he organised on the Spui (photo), then Amsterdam’s ‘magic centre’. The anti-smoking guru would dance around in a cloud of his own cigarette smoke chanting ugh, ugh, ugh – which became one of his mantras.
Grootveld started out as a window cleaner, then turned to journalism and finally found his feet as an artist in the creative atmosphere of the 1960s. He came up with the famous white bicycle plan which has since been adopted by many cities around the world.
His lifelong devotion to the figure of Sinterklaas may go some way towards explaining his childlike pleasure in inventing such institutions as the Exotic Kitch Museum and the Expertological Laboratory, with fellow-artists and poets. In 2000, he made a present of the floating gardens he created to the city of Amsterdam.
‘He totally changed the Amsterdam street scene,’ friend and filmmaker Herbert Curiel told ANP.

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