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Latest news from Villa Lila (Archive)

November 2008

MAYOR DALES LECTURE 2009: Agnes Jongerius (FNV)

At Friday the 6th of February 2009 Mrs Agnes Jongerius, President of the covering organization of trade union FNV, will pronounce the twelfth Mayor Dales Lecture at the City Hall of Nijmegen. During the evening, which begins at 20.00 with coffee and reception, the Mayor Dales Price by COC Nijmegen will be issued for the thirteenth time. .

Agnes Jongerius studied socio-economic history at the University of Utrecht. She began her career at  the Transport union FNV. As region director of the Transport union FNV in Rotterdam, she was actively employed in the inland navigation and professional goods transport. In 1990 she was elected to the board of the federation FNV. In 1997 she became a member of the federation board and later she became the vice president of the FNV. On May 25th 2005 she followed Lodewijk de Waal as the first female president of the FNV.

The lecture and award ceremony will be accompanied by singer / comedian Erik Derks, accompanied on piano by Michiel Hautvast.
Erik Derks recently made the CD’Van alles twee’.
For more information please visit:

In 2008 Erik Derks and Han Polman, as founders of Café Dapper received the Mayor Dales 2008 Price for the special initiative to organise a sunday afternoon café for gay and bisexual with mental disabilities. The jury of the Mayor Dales Price praised Café Dapper for the open approach and the contribution provided to the broader community discussion of mental limitations and gay and biseksualiteit.

Friday, February 6th
The lecture and award ceremony are free. The Municipality of Nijmegen acts as hostess and offers its guests a snack and a drink. Candidates must be timely (received 20.00 hours) present, full is full!
more info

November 2008

Krista van Velzen gets Bi-award 2008

The Bi-Award 2008 is assigned to the member of parliament for the SP Krista van Velzen. This annual prize is, by the National Network Bisexuality (LNBi), granted to a person or organization that is (or has been) of exceptional significance for the national or international bi-movement. Illustrious predecessors were in the field of science (including Fritz Klein, Ron Fox), in the field of bi-activism or organizations (including the COC and Gobi). The ceremony took place during the autumncelebration GoBi for bi-sexuals at the 1st of November at Villa Lila.

According to the jry report, Van Velzen gives - by her relentless and consistent attitude towards the advertising and the emphasis that lies on the not be forced to statements about partner (choice) - an example to all bisexuals in the Netherlands on how you do have alternative choices to make your sexual identity visible.
LNBi chairman Luc Houtkamp: "Moreover, Krista van Velzen is as far as we know the first MP that publicly outs her bisexuality. For bisexual Netherlands it is of extreme importance that also at the Binnenhof bisexuality is clearly visible."
Krista van Velzen (1974) is member of the parliament for the Socialist Party since 2002

She is spokeswoman on defense, housing, spatial planning, environment, animal welfare, agriculture, nature and food quality. Van Velzen calls herself "bisexual, 100%".

At the weblog of Krista van Velzen are a lot of reactions.

Oktober 2008

Villa makes school again.

After the opening of Villa Lila in 1985 there soon was an interest from Antwerp for the ‘Nijmegian model’. Elsewhere in Belgium there appeared to be interest in this life and from Nijmegen there were provided several presentations about Villa Lila. In Antwerp this resulted in the creation of the Rainbow Center and Center The Dragon. In Gent, Hasselt and Brussels have been pink houses have been arisen. While Villa Lila herself is making discussion about the future again, the national COC reflects with its building at the Rozenstraat to a ‘Pink house’ according to a model that is similar with Villa Lila in Nijmegen. And it seems that we are making more school because in Utrecht, the idea also rises again. The town will support a  private initiative to create a Villa Lila

September 2008

Social training periods

In October the social training periods start again. Students of high schools will have social training periods at social institutions. Nijmegen 1, the new local broadcasting service wanted to dedicate a report to this trainings. They visited the Dominicus College to talk to students who already fulfilled their social training earlier this year. The reporter jumped out of his skin when he heard that the students did their training at Villa Lila. And suddenly the item concerned no longer so much as the social training but it was all about villa Lila as a training spot. Wasn’t it strange to do the training with homosexuals? The item was broadcasted at September 3rd and you can see it here.

And what did the Dominicus students think about there training period?
Find out at

July 2008

‘Smeerolie’ continues scoring!

Gladly I would like to point out to you two
special people who also are involved in Villa Lila. It concerns theatre maker Godfried Beumers
and expressive artist Mireille Ligterink.

Godfried Beumers lives for over 3 years in Nijmegen and found his way in this city. Meanwhile he is artistic leader of the Colourful City and occupied with the preparation of a special production of the Chinese legend ‘the circle of chalk’ (well known of Brechts Caucasian). In the take off to this production he also organises a tale train with different partners.

Godfried also continues the intercultural story café, starting September every second Friday of the month. New is, that besides Dutch storytellers, lovers and pro’s, we will invite storytellers from several countries to tell their special stories. At you will find more information about Godfried.

Less known is Godfrieds involvement with the network ‘Smeerolie’ of which Villa Lila is a member too. For several times he organised the Smeerolie café in Villa Lila, intended for members of the network at the intersection point of the creative sector and company life. I already met several artists through Smeerolie who will exhibit in the Villa in the future. Mireille Ligterink, who you might know of her paintings that remind a lot of collages will be one of them. She publishes a totally different kind of work at A project that reminds a little of our project ’50 heads 50 artists’

But Mireille makes a solo project of it and she intends to make 52 paintings. Every week she makes a portrait of a man or woman who deserves well of the cultural life of the city of Nijmegen.

Guess three times whom she painted now…

Helm de Laat

The photo was made by Judith Mens and dates of the premiere of the story café, March 7th 2008.

July 2008

Villa Lila smoke free too

For a couple of years Villa Lila was mainly smoke free. This was because we wanted to be accessible as much as possible for everyone as a public building. So far the foyer had still been excluded because of the bar function. But as of the first of July smoking in the foyer is also prohibited.

On the floor above the foyer however, there is a small separated smoking room where the most addicted smokers can light up. The downstairs neighbours of Villa Lila were consulted since we are using the garden behind the building together with them. We agreed that it is allowed to smoke there too.

Our co-workers, -also the people behind the bar- will maintain this prohibition. Any offender who gets caught by the ‘Authorities’ will cause the Villa a fine of € 300,00. That would be a pity.

People who ignore the prohibition will be spoken to immediately, the smoking prohibition will be brought under their attention, we will make them aware of the fine that the Villa risks and they will be asked to put out the cigarette (cigar, pipe). If people are willing to restrict the smoking to the smoking room and garden everything will be fine. People who will not confine to the rules will be denied entrance to the villa.

Obviously there are ashtrays in the garden and in the smoking room only. And we wish all the smokers the best of luck, but also we call on them to quit smoking. You can do it and after a while you will be breathing freely.

The non-smokers who have avoided the Villa until now because of the smoke and stench problem are heartily invited to visit the Villa and become an active member, for instance behind the bar. See the job openings of the Villa on the site.

March 2008

Giving notice of ‘hatecrimes’ anonymous starts March 20th.

Victims of homophobic or racial violence in Amsterdam can give notice anonymous at the police easier starting march 20th. The police will spread folders and notice forms in café’s, sauna’s, libraries and other public places. Giving notice can also be done at

Which crimes are included in hatecrimes? Crimes and violations that are committed because the victim is homosexual or has an other race or religion. Being kicked, beaten, assaulted, abused, harassed etc. because you are different.

Concisely said: these facts always have a discriminatory background at the offender. There are codes the police uses at formulating the warrant and daily reports but from all studies about this matter it is clear that these codes are used inconsequently, not, or even wrong. This also appeared at an investigation at the police of Nijmegen. But the called misdemeanours are not connected to for example homosexuality, because often there is not enough interrogation. But the holebi organisations already know for a long time that the informants / victims do not want to come out for their sexual preferences, or they have little faith that the police will take the case seriously.

In England the police also struggled with the problem that they could not get the numbers clear about hatecrimes. And they could not convince the policymakers that something had to happen about the bad image of the police. In 2004 they started the project ‘True vision’ in 3 police forces. Of the 43 forces in England 40 participate now. Parts of the project are: realisation within the forces, recognizable information fit for the target groups – folders, booklets- and a website. Trough these ways victims can report or inform anonymously. The police contacts the person involved later eventually. The project led in England to an increase of reports c.q. declarations of 38% of homosexual-related offences and 42% of race hatecrimes. This project is now translated into the Dutch community through the National Expertise Centre Diversity of the police and will start as a pilot on march 20th 2008 under the name ‘Hatecrimes’ amongst others in the police region Gelderland south, which also includes Nijmegen and environment. If the experiment is successful it will be established all over the country in 2011.


November 2007

Homo money ís acceptable.

As a homo one can become a member of the ChristenUnie(ChristianUnion), but only if one keeps quiet about ones inclination. This is what Jan Dirkmaat from Nijmegen, nature conservationist, managing director of Vereniging Nederlands Cultuurlandschap (Society of Dutch Cultural Landscape) ánd homosexual experienced..

November 2007

Dirkmaat, well-known as chairman of the Das en Boom (Badger and Tree) society signed up for membership of the CristenUnie in 2002 because of their firm points of view on the environment. And he was enlisted. Until the party found out, by way of an interview with Dirkmaat in a daily paper that he is gay.
After that Dirkmaat was visited in Nijmegen by Dick Stellingwerf, CU Lower House member at the time and former town council member of Ede. Stellingwerf bade Dirkmaat to give up his membership and become a financial contributor instead, because the party had problems with his leanings.

Stellingwerf confirms his conversation with Dirkmaat about Dirkmaat’s homosexuality, but says he doesn’t remember any details. Also he doesn’t remember on whose authority he visited Dirkmaat.

October 2007

Three generations

During a well visited cocktail hour during the Friday Afternoon Café on 12 October Villa Lila said goodbye to three volunteers. Maurice Ruiten has been active from May and Jeanine Salvino from August 2002 in the bar group of Villa Lila. Theo Zonderland even from April 2001. He has been coordinator for years as well.
Villa Lila director Helm de Laat praised his dedication and called him a worthy successor of Rene Kusters who had been coordinator before Theo for more than 10 years. He used the opportunity to introduce the new coordinator Tom Jessen and expressed his hope that Tom would be a worthy successor to Rene and Theo.

f.l.t.r. Tom, René en Theo (picture: Maurice Nooijen).

Oktober 2007

Nijmegen’s Silver Waal Bridge pin for Brigitte Heezen

7 October 2007 At the opening of the Lesbian Festival in Nijmegen last Friday deputy mayor Lenie Scholten had a surprise up her sleeve for Brigitte Heezen.
The COC Nijmegen board member and coordinator of the festival was honored for her effort with the Nijmegen Silver Waal Bridge pin.

In her opening speech deputy mayor Lenie Scholten looked back upon Nijmegen’s lesbian past-a current topic now that in the Valkhof Museum the exhibition ‘70ies in Nijmegen-Tien Krejatieve Aksiejaren’ is on show, in which the gay/lesbian past is given ample attention. Scholten knows what she’s talking about, because end Seventies she herself became active in the women’s and lesbian movement.

Last week-end the Lesbian Festival 2007 in Nijmegen presented an extensive and varied program with a Literary Night and debating programs with many prominent lesbians, documentaries and films, an information market and with numerous festivities all over town.

The Silver Waal Bridge pin is originally a business gift that through the years more and more often has been awarded as a sign of municipal approval. People who make themselves especially useful for (parts of) the Nijmegen community receive this pin with some regularity.

(Source: COC NL- photos: © Judith Mens)

September 2007

Bookstore ‘De Feeks’ sold!

A relieved Renéee Schoffelen lets us know that bookshop ‘De Feeks’ will be preserved for Nijmegen and “It’s going to be even more fun and cheer!”
And that is good news for the gay/lesbian movement.
Because ‘De Feeks’ does not just have a great many holebi titles in stock, but is also an essential part of the holebi movement in Nijmegen.

August 2007

Feeks on sale

Bookstore ‘De Feeks’ is on sale. The present manager of 20 years, Renée Schoffelen, is up to a new challenge. ‘De Feeks’ was founded as a feminist bookstore but has become a very general bookshop with a number of specializations. The bookstore is specialized in holebi books, third world literature etc. If you are interested you can read more here.

May 2007

Meike Kühl new staff member of Villa Lila.

After Wouter Christiaans and Niels Spiering joined the staff of Villa Lila in December of 2006, Meike Kühl has now also joined as a member of the staff. She used to be in the management of Pinkeltje (now called Dito) and has put in an effort for other organizations as well. At the moment she studies Cultural Anthropology in Nijmegen.

Read more about Meike
Read more about Wouter
Read more about Niels

April 2007

On april 15th, Peter van Loon, chairman COC Nijmegen, Skilledly translated en beautifully recited a speech of mine in Druten during a memorial service of the painter Antoon van Welie (1866-1956) to whom the Valkhofmuseum currently dedicates a grand exposition. At this memorial service the mayor of Druten, Antoon Aelbers, guestcurator Karin van Lieverloo of the Valkhofmuseum, and Pieter Roelofs, conservator Rijksmuseum (resident of Druten) also gave speeches. The service was accompanied by harpmusic en choirsinging.

You can read the speech at this site:

Helm de Laat

December 2006

New boardmembers Villa Lila.

Wouter Christiaens and Niels Spierings have recentle been added to the board of Villa Lila. Wouter was previously boardmember of Pinkeltje and projectleader of the "Nijmeegse Roze Zaterdag". Niels has acquired managerial skills as member of the national board of the political party "Groen Links". Within this party he is also active in "Roze Links".
Both introduce themselves further:

Read more about Wouter
Read more about Niels

Oktober 2006

Aswat founder Rauda Morcos visits Nijmegen.

November 17th, 5 pm during the Fridayafternoon Cafe Rauda will talk about Aswat, the fist Gay Palestinian Women Organisation.

Read more at:

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