Netherlandic Treasures
Netherlandic Treasures
Netherlandic TreasuresNetherlandic TreasuresNetherlandic Treasures
printable view
Provo Movement

The Provo movement (1965-1972) was directed by a "playful anarchist" group which combined non-violence and absurd humor to create social change. The name Provo was coined by Dutch sociologist Buikhuizen to describe, in a condescending way, post-war disaffected Dutch teens who spent their time provoking the authorities. Roel van Duyn, a philosophy student at the University of Amsterdam, saw the potential in the term, which he explored thoroughly in issue 1 of Provo magazine, 12 July 1965.

The theatrical street happenings organized by the Provos attracted huge crowds and often resulted in over-reaction by the police. The group found great sympathy among Amsterdammers and at one point obtained five seats on the City Council. Its ideas influenced urban planning, social housing, and cultural life in general. It campaigned against marijuana prohibition, air pollution from urban traffic congestion, and the tobacco industry, and it created numerous anti-royal events and literature.

The demise of Provo was due to its increasing acceptance by moderate elements. It began to be defended by moderate liberal politicians and studied by sociologists. Tolerance by the authorities took away one of the group's chief reasons for being: its resistance to anything in authority, and so its leaders officially disbanded.

The periodicals and ephemera in this case are a small sample of Amsterdam's Provo movement. The Provo materials are in turn a small sample of Dutch-language holdings in the Labadie Collection of the Special Collections Library.

Provocatie No. 5.

Broadside announcing "The White Bicycle Plan," advocating the banning of environmentally noxious cars from the inner city. Bikes provided free by the city would be painted white to be identifiable and permanently unlocked to make them available to all users. Provos provided the first 50 bikes, but the police immediately confiscated them, claiming they created an invitation to theft.

Provocatie No. 13

Broadside advertising a demonstration on 4 April 1966 against police brutality.

Provo. Amsterdam, 12 July 1965.

Issue no. 1 of this anarchistic magazine issued between 1965 and 1967 in a total of 15 numbers.


Broadside enjoining its viewers to provocation.

De new Babylon informatief. Amsterdam, 1965-1966.

Issues 1 and 4 (of a total of 4 published) of this polemical newspaper written by the Provo artist Constant [Nieuwenhuys] and devoted to his new urbanist strategies and projects.