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Muslim LGBT organization rents historic tower in Amsterdam

DutchAmsterdam.nl — A Muslim foundation run entirely by volunteers and financed by donations has rented Amsterdam’s most expensive office location — the historic Montelbaanstoren.

The 16th-century canal-side tower, built in 1516 as part of the ancient defense wall of Amsterdam, has stood empty even since it was fully restored in 2007.

Amsterdam Montelbaarnstoren

Montelbaanstoren. See another view.
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With an advertised rent of €9000/month the municipality of Amsterdam was unable to find a suitable renter.

In September 2009 the City even advertised the prestigious office spot on Marktplaats.nl — an auction website.

At the time a spokesperson stated that Amsterdam Center borough did not want the tower to be used as a hotel or restaurant. Instead it preferred to the it used for offices for a company whose activities take place on water.

In the past the tower has housed a police station and later the offices for the city’s Department of Sewage and Water Management.

The City has now decided to rent the tower to Secret Garden, a foundation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Muslims.

The organization leases the office space for just €1500/month.

A spokesman for the City says Amsterdam considers it important that cultural and social organizations are able to rent offices in the city center. “That’s why we asked a realtor to establish a reasonable market rate.”
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