Story of Metelkova mesto in Ljubljana

Nataša Serec

We are at the autonomous cultural centre Metelkova mesto in Ljubljana. My name is Nataša Serec, I am the president of one of the associations active in this place. The whole story of Metelkova mesto started in the late 1980s, when there was a real urge to find places for artists, like studios or places for production and postproduction, which were missing in Ljubljana at that time. Around 200 artists and cultural workers joined into the so-called Network for Metelkova with one goal - to get the abandoned, at that time already empty military barracks at Metelkova street. The aim was to get places there legally, but unfortunately, the negotiations with the city government didn`t go as members of network hoped. So on the 9th September 1993 the place was squatted by approximately 200 different people. The reason why the place was squatted was the illegal demolishing of three buildings within the barracks complex, which was an illegal act of the municipality – for which nobody was ever accused. However, it was clear that some people were against the former military barracks being given to artists’ production.

After 17 years of surviving and progressing, especially in the last few years, we now have 7 clubs working here, 55 artists and craftsmen, a recording studio, an anarchist library, and spaces for youth and disabled people. An important place for Ljubljana, the Queer center, a gay and lesbian place, is based here. There are approximately 200 people more or less active at Metelkova at present; our association is one of the largest, in terms of the scope of our activities. Apart from organizing concerts, we also have a youth programme, a visual art gallery and we put on activities like workshops for children and youth. We are also very active in the negotiations with the city government.  

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President of the Association KUD Mreža in Ljubljana, Slovenia

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