Amsterdam City Link


On of the bigger reconstruction projects that is going on in Sarajevo is the Amsterdam City Link project. This project tries to rebuild the battered place Hrasno and make it livable again. Not that there wouldn't be live over there is this project wouldn't be there. Hundreds of refugees, form the countryside and from abroad live in Hrasno.
The project seems to be a reconstruction project but by reading this article you will see there are much more things involved.
We will take some articles from the Newsletter they spread around. This will be completed with words of Kenan Hazaric, employee at the office and spokesman now that Felix de Vries is in Holland for a short time.
The City Link project tries to rebuild the complete neighborhood. In this area there are 43 buildings of which 5 skyscrapers. There are 3431 apartments of which 1000 partly or completely unused due to damage. Besides that City link tries to establish a structure that is necessary for the maintenance of the neighborhood.
With these reconstruction also all social issues are involved. The City Link project is linked to Bradford, UK. The Jewish organization La Benevolencija build a huge network for humanitarian aid during the war and is now responsible for the coordination of social projects in the neighborhood. Of the organizations that work with such issues is Refugee Trust Ireland. They also have their office in Hrasno.
The Red Cross has a kitchen with free meals on the corner of the same building as City Link is in. Many, especially elderly live in poverty.
There is a lot that need to be spoken about. City Link gets her funds from Amsterdam, The Hague, Brussels, etc. Besides that there is support from the Canton Sarajevo, for example in fixing sewerage, parks and playgrounds and such things. Problem for City Link is that all the conditions as set by these donators, have to be connected. One of the condition of the EU is that refugees must be able to return. A guaranty of that is necessary from the local authorities. The Canton gave the condition that there must be delivered a list with all people who live in the area, and this list must be checked before the project can start with internal rebuilding. You can imagine these conditions can create a monstrous burocraty.
Besides that there is a problem of ownership. Off course the millions will not be putted into a project that turns out to be a private company in the near future. This problem is for most of the reconstruction projects in Bosnia Hercegovina.
A commission will be established with representatives of UNHCR, EU and the canton of Sarajevo, that must prepare the final agreement.
Still one of the most important aims of the City Link project is to cooperate with municipal institutes of the city of Sarajevo. These institutes are in a process of change , from socialist system towards a market oriented system. The Hrasno project can be seen as a  learning experience to the institutes, as much as it is to Amsterdam. Different section of the city of Sarajevo are formally involved in the project. The alderman for Urbanization of Sarajevo, the Chief of the Section Housing and Public Buildings and the alderman of Urbanism of the Opstina Novo Sarajevo are members of the steering committee of the project.  The municipal housing organization, Sarajevostan, is appointed to be supervisor of the project. JKP park, the municipal company for public green spaces and Vodovod, the municipal company for water supply and sewage systems are partners in the project.
Right now they work with landscape architects form abroad and with students form the art academy for decorating the area.
First thing they did was starting with demining, investigation of the situation and after that repairing the roofs and, as far as possible, fixing windows. Another problem came up. They found a shell in the wall on the 8th floor. This one was not explodes yet. So they called SFOR. 'OK, we'll put it on the list', was the friendly voice on the other side. Month could go by without noticing anything of them. For a project like this that is kind of ridiculous so the phoned the Bosnia army and they did it in return of a payment.
(From Hrasno Rehabilitation news October 1997)
A lot is going on in Hrasno. A large number of buildings are going to be repaired. Many residential complexes have already had their roofs fixed and a number of buildings have new facades. Aside from this, attention is also being paid to parks and gardens in the Neighborhood and educational program's are being started. A music festival has been organized which was received enthusiastically by a large number of visitors. Many of the shops in Hrasno are open again and there remains, the continuing story of the asbestos problem
Small scale educational projects for Do It Yourself Repairs are going to be started. The idea is that experienced professionals will be brought out of their retirement to help train the unemployed in doing do-it-yourself chores around the house. This project is based on the idea that even buildings which have not been severely damaged can be repaired using qualified personnel. Incidentally, by education and training the unemployed they will have much better chances on the labor market.
The volleyball team Zeljenicar got donated a new outfit by the Amsterdam department of the Volleyball league and the first result is there. They became champion of Bosnia. A good example of material support that enlarges the resilience. In that area they could do with a lot more in Hrasno.
The last month 14 roofs, 2 facades and 34 stairways are repaired. The repairment of a stairways means new doors, windows, lightning and so on.
The facades where colored many colors. Spontaneous reactions as 'Fantastic, this is the best statement against the depression' and ' at last somebody shows a different approach to Sarajevo' were heard many times. The solution was good, cheap and it was interesting enough for politicians to stand in front of and get caught by the camera. In the hope to get some more promises of them.
Further we try to design a part of the neighborhood for disabled people. Sarajevo doesn't have only disabled people from the war, but, of course also in general. In these countries there weren't good facilities for them. There were no integration projects like in Holland. With this project we try to give an example as well.
A new area of work will be the two flats completely at the edge of Hrasno. These flats are heavily damaged. These are the only flats that do not have fixed roofs yet. First we have to investigate what is the situation of the construction, before we can start. We need laboratories results for that. With these results and our recommendation we could get permission of the local authorities. A part is collapsed. We expect that there could be mines.
An other point is the waterpipes. Before we can install new pumps (now the water get to the 6th floor maximum) we first have to check the complete net. There wasn't water for 5 years in those pipes.
The Hrasno City Link Project takes three years and will be finished in December 1998. The program will cost approximately 20 million DM. For a complete restoration approximately 50 Million DM extra is needed. In November 1997 proposals are done to prolong the project. This happened in cooperation with the ministry of foreign affairs of Holland, with the EU and with several others.
A list with needs is to long to publish but we'll do it anyway
The foundation is looking for donations for sponsor targets. An overview of sponsor targets can be found on this page. Questions regarding this list can be directed to the Foundation (address and phone numbers can be found in the colophon). Contributions can be made on the account of the City Link Amsterdam Sarajevo Foundation, Postbank 7777350, in The Netherlands. Please mention 'contribution Sarajevo'.
We look forward to your reaction.
The staff-members of ING-Barings Bank from Vienna, Austria, donated clothes and tools. The tools will be used by the inhabitants of Hrasno as part of a "self-repair" project, so that they can repair damage in their own apartments. The donated clothes are divided among the citizens of Hrasno.
On behalf of the City Link Amsterdam Sarajevo foundation we would like to thank the ING-Barings Bank from Vienna for their efforts.
Sponsor targets
General facilities for schools in Hrasno
Audio-visual education, material for a school magazine, theatre equipment (for primary- and secondary school, and school for handicapped children), excursions, seats, school yard, canopy (terrain reconstruction for primary school), construction of a sports field.
Arrangement of workshops
Sewing machines, drawings and materials for weaving looms (for textile production), means for medical adjustments (elevated sanitary, wheelchair-washbasins, taps etc.), drawings for production of medical adjustments (adjusted sink-unit, bows, shower seats etc.)
The workshops are meant to involve and coach residents in certain jobs in the community or in the production of certain facilities for private use.
General facilities in the community
Construction of playgrounds, sports goods, street furniture, road construction, reconstruction of green facilities, art, start of a children's farm, construction of a youth/community centre, washing machines.
All sorts of (professional, electric) tools are welcome:
Tools, necessary for: plumbing, plastering, painting, tiles, electricity, masonry, wallpapering, steelworks and all other useful tools you can think of.
High pressure cleaners, industrial vacuum cleaners, generator, press tools, plasterer's mixers and chutes.
Of course you can contact their office in Holland
Eric Sedny
P/O Box 1900
room 3A.09
1000 BX Amsterdam
in Sarajevo
Felix de Vries
Trg Heroja 43
00 387 71 653387 tel/fax