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It appears that 1974 was an excellent year for abandoning things: not only the world’s most popular resort town (see post below), but also its most densely populated area became completely deserted that year. About 5,000 people lived on Hashima (also know as Gunkanshima), a small island near the Japanese city of Nagasaki, once – but not anymore. Owned by Mitshubishi, Hashima used to be one large coal mine – its inevitable demise came when Japan’s industry switched to petroleum and virtually all coal mines in the country were disbanded. Abandoned virtually overnight in 1974, the island was shut off… Read More

Welcome to Varosha, once the glitziest beach district of Famagusta, Cyprus (and indeed the world – Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot were among the regular sunbathers); now a ghost town sealed off by the Turkish military. Since 1974. The story of Varosha is the story of the implications of escalating political conflict: sometimes it even ruins holiday plans. This great website has got a lot of pictures of the abandoned and slowly disintegrating neighbourhood, and a detailed personal account of what happened in 1974 can be found here. And if you want to know more about the (rather complicated, really)… Read More

He (three-part-documentary) not only renamed a country and most of its cities; he even forced its residents to change their identity. He not just embezzled an estimated 5 billion dollars while in power; he actually managed to become one of the world’s richest people while completely destroying a nation’s economy. He simultaneously was a CIA-backed anti-communist and a close friend of Nicolae Ceausescu. He not only had an ideology named after him; he also came up with linguistic gems like zaïrianisation for the main elements of this doctrine. Mobutu Sese Seko not only built a hydro-electric dam, a Concorde-proof airport and a nuclear… Read More

Although age (and marrying an established Der Spiegel-heiress perhaps) did slightly mellow down former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten, he’s still frustrated and engaged enough to verbally assault London’s modern architecture from the top of a tourist bus. Wielding a microphone (always his weapon of choice) and wearing something he himself  thinks is even worse than most of the glass office blocks he encounters on his tour, he manages to do what he has been doing for a very long time: delivering a surprisingly interesting message in between curse words, biting cynicism and a lot of cigarettes: “every social unrest… Read More

“You are about to witness the very exciting story of a city, and its people.” Two documentaries (and one conservative stand-up comedian) that shed different lights on the phenomenon that is Detroit. Requiem for Detroit boldly goes where British Broadcasters have gone many times before, summarizing the city’s history in just over an hour of documentarian greatness. The BBC does what the BBC does best – even most youtubers seem to approve. However, one Australian urges everyone to watch this in the comments: Twitter-republican and Fox News-columnist Steven Crowder blames 30 years of leftist policies, overinvolvement by the government and worker unions for… Read More

You too can have your own state or nation! A Micronation that could appear in the Lonely Planet Guide. According to the Montevideo Convention (1933) the criteria for statehood is: The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states. Any entity that meets these criteria can be regarded as a sovereign state under international law. The Principality of Sealand, next to the south-east coast of the UK, claims to be a independent sovereign state. Constructed… Read More

From the era of VHS-tapes and terrible house music: one hour of Bijlmer-criticism in handy documentary format. Starring Pi de Bruijn, Wouter Vanstiphout, Ashok Bhalotra and others, the initial utopianism and following social disappointment that is the Bijlmer are being dissected – multi-culturalism, social segregation and how to deal with unwanted side-effects of backfiring utopianism are main topics of discussion. As relevant as it ever was it seems..