From Academic Kids


For the Utah town, see Provo, Utah. Provo is also a common nickname for members of the Provisional IRA.

Provo was a Dutch counterculture movement in the mid-1960s that focused on provoking violent responses from authorities using non-violent bait. It was preceded by the nozem movement and followed by the hippie movement, though unlike these two movements, Provo was actually founded, on May 25, 1965, by Jasper Grootveld, an anti-smoking activist and Roel van Duyn, anarchist. Provo was disbanded on May 13, 1967.

Provo gained world-prominence through its protests at the royal wedding of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and Claus von Amsberg.

Its political component won a seat on the city council of Amsterdam, and developed the "White Plans", of which the most famous was the White bicycle plan, which entailed placing white bicycles throughout Amsterdam that could be used for free transportation.

Harry Mulisch wrote a short novel, "De Rattenkoning" (The Rat King), about the riots following the Telegraaf's towing of the establishment's party line after the murder of a labourer. Provo was prominently involved in the protests against the Telegraaf. Mulisch wrote about both actors, highlighting the differences: "While their parents, seated on refrigerators and washing machines, watched tv with their left eyes, and their cars with their right eyes, a mixer in one hand and the Telegraaf in the other, the kids left Saturday evening for the Spui square."

Provo was succeeded by the Kabouters.

("Terwijl hun ouders op ijskasten en wasmachines gezeten met hun linkeroog naar de teevee keken en met hun rechternaar de auto voor de deur, een mixer in hun ene hand, De Telegraaf in de andere, begaven de kinderen zich 's zaterdagsavond naar het Spui.")


Provos and Dutch monarchy

The monarchy became the ultimate establishment symbol for the Provos to attack. Royal ceremonies offered ample opportunities for satire. During "Princess Day," when an annual ceremonial speech was delivered by the queen. Provo made up a fake speech, in which Queen Juliana declared she'd become an anarchist and was negotiating a transition of power with Provo. Provo Hans Tuynman invited the Queen to hold an intimate conversation in front of the palace. where he and some other Provos had assembled some comfortable chairs. Although the Queen did not show, the police did, quickly breaking up the Happening.

The climax of this anti-royal activity came in March 1966, when Princess Beatrix married a German, Claus von Amsberg, a former member of Hitlerjugend, the Nazi youth organization. Coincidentally, Grootveld had been doing performances based on "the coming of Klaas," a mythical messiah. Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, and Klaas Kroese, Grootveld's former sponsor, served as the inspirations for these performances. But by March, Proyos identified the coming of Klaas with the arrival of Von Amsberg.

Miraculously,at the wedding day March 10, 1966, the Provos managed to sneak the smoke bombs past the police and army guards by dressing up like respectable citizens. The first bombs went off just behind the palace as the procession started. Although the bombs were not really dangerous (they were made from sugar and nitrate), they put out tremendous clouds of smoke, which were viewed on television worldwide. A violent police overreaction ensued, witnessed by foreign journalists, many of whom were clubbed and beaten in the confusion. The wedding turned into a public relations disaster. "Demonstrations of Provo are Amsterdam's bitter answer to monarchist folklorism," commented a Spanish newspaper.

The week after the wedding, a photo exhibition was held documenting the police violence. The guests at the exhibition were attacked by the police and severely beaten. Public indignation against the police reached new peaks. Many well-known writers and intellectuals began requesting an independent investigation of police behavior.

Provos and labor movement

In June 1966, after a man was killed in a labor dispute, it seemed as if a civil war was ready to erupt. According to De Telegraaf, the victim was killed not by the police, but by a co-worker,which provos considered an outrageous lie. A furious crowd stormed the offices of the paper. For the first time, the proletariat and Provo were fighting on the same side.

By the middle of 1966, repression was out of control. Hundreds of people were arrested every week at Happenings and anti-Vietnam rallies. A ban on demonstrations caused them to grow even bigger. Hans Tuynman was turned into a martyr after being sentenced to three months in jail for murmuring the word "image" at a Happening. Yet around the time, a Dutch Nazi collaborator, a war criminal responsible for deporting Jews, had been released from prison and a student fraternity member received only a small fine for manslaughter.

Finally, in August 1966, a congressional committee was established to investigate the crisis. The committee's findings resulted in the Police Commissioner's firing. In May 1967, the mayor of Amsterdam, Van Hall, was "honorably" given the boot, after the committee condemned his policies. Strangely enough, Provo movement, which had demanded the mayor's resignation for over a year, liquidated within a week of his dismissal.

The reason for Provo's demise, which was totally unexpected by outsiders, was its increasing acceptance by moderate elements, and growing turmoil within its ranks. As soon as Provo began participating in the City Council elections, a transformation occurred. A Provo Politburo emerged, consisting of VIP Provos who began devoting most of themselves to political careers. Provos toured the country, giving lectures and interviews. When the VIP Provos were out of town attending a Provo congress, Stolk staged a fake palace coup by announcing that a new Revolutionary Terrorist Council had taken power. Van Duyn reacted furiously, not realizing it was a provocation against Provo itself. When the Van Heutz monument was damaged by bombs, Provo declared that "although they felt sympathy for the cause, they deeply deplored the use of violence." The division between the street Provos and the reformist VIPs began growing wider. Some Provos returned to their studies,others went hippie and withdrew from the movement.

End of provos

Provo was a big hit as long as it was considered outside of society. But as soon as the establishment began embracing it, the end was near. Moderate liberals began publicly defending It and social scientists began studying the movement. The former Secretary. of Transportation joined forces with Provo. "As a real supporter, he should have proposed a crackdown on Provo," Van Duyn said later.

Provo's proposal to establish a playground for children was now greeted by the City Council with great enthusiasm. The real sign of Provo's institutionalization, however, was the installation of a "speakers-corner" in the park.

Van Duyn encouraged this development, but Stolk saw it as a form of repressive tolerance - the Provos were now free, free to be ignored. "Understanding politicians, well-intentioned Provologists and pampering reverends, they were forming a counter-magic circle around us to take away our magic power," says Stolk. So Stolk and Grootveld decided to liquidate Provo. "The power and spirit had vanished," says Grootveld. "Provo had turned into a dogmatic crew. Provo had degenerated into a legal stamp of approval."

At the liquidation meeting, Stolk said: "Provo has to disappear because all the Great Men that made us big have gone," a reference to Provo's two arch-enemies, the mayor and commissioner of police.

Provo held one last stunt A white rumor was spread, that American. universities wanted to buy the Provo archives, documents that actually didn't exist. Amsterdam University, fearing that the sociological treasure might disappear overseas, quickly made an offer the Provos couldn't refuse.

After Provo dissolved, the main characters went their own way.

See also

External links



Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools