Okko and Riga

Riga en Okko krijgen een lintje
Riga and Okko are honoured with a ribbon

In the sixties, married couple Okko and Riga Reussien created a shelter in their own home for their first primate, a very high-strung squirrel monkey. After this, more and more people bring their monkeys and other exotic animals to their house in the Dutch city of Amstelveen. After a while, it becomes almost impossible for Okko and Riga to pay their mounting bills, but quitting and turning their back on their helpless animals is not an option for them. The couple decide to establish a foundation, so that they can start raising funds. On April 14th, 1972, AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection is a fact.

De anjerkas in Amstelveen
The carnation green house in Amstelveen


Carnation green house

In the years that follow, activities are relocated to a former carnation greenhouse on the Legmeerdijk in Amstelveen. In 1992, Okko and Riga decide to take a step back, turning the leading role over to David van Gennep. David is no stranger to AAP: he has been active as a volunteer for the foundation since 1981.

With David as the new lead figure, AAP takes on a new direction. The organization is professionalized and becomes more involved in the improvement of legislation. It no longer solely provides shelter, but becomes an active advocate to stop the influx of (exotic) animals. When the European borders disappear in 1995, an even more significant choice is made: Europe becomes the new work field of the foundation and from that moment on, AAP begins to specialize in exotic mammals.

Relocation to Almere

The number of animals that require shelter increases rapidly and therefore, AAP relocates to Almere in 1996. In the vast, green environment of its new location a brand new shelter facility is constructed, containing a primate hall, a mammal shelter, a quarantine facility, outdoor areas and a ‘real’ office. The new office is no extravagance, because the increasing number of animals requires an increasing number of employees..

AAP Almere vanuit de lucht
AAP Almere from the sky

AAP in Spain

Due to the focus on the current problems concerning animal welfare on the entire European continent, the need for a new animal shelter facility in Spain arises. In 2009 AAP Primadomus, a shelter in Villena that lies 50 kilometers to the west of Alicante, opens its doors. Although the project is initially used as an extra facility for animals coming from Almere, it has grown into a fully established branch of the AAP Foundation..

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