The history of AAP

Okko and Riga

In the 1960s, the couple Okko and Riga Reussien took their first monkey in their own home, a nervous squirrel monkey. After this, more and more people brought their monkeys and other exotic animals to their home in Amstelveen.

At some point it became impossible for Okko and Riga to pay for everything themselves, but stopping with the care of the helpless animals was also not an option. The couple decided to establish a foundation, so they could start raising funds. On April 14, 1972 AAP was a fact.

Carnation greenhouse

In the years that followed the couple worked from a former carnation greenhouse at the Legmeerdijk in Amstelveen. In 1992 Okko and Riga stepped back and David van Gennep took the helm. David was no stranger to AAP: since 1981 he had been involved with the foundation as a volunteer. With the arrival of David AAP took a new direction. The organization became more professional and more involved in improving legislation. As a result, AAP no longer just offered shelter for animals, but also fought very actively to stop the continuing influx of animals.

When the European borders disappeared in 1995, another important choice was made: Europe became the foundation’s new field of activity and AAP specialized in exotic mammals from that moment on.

Relocation to Almere

The number of animals in need of care grew rapidly and therefore AAP moved to Almere in 1996.

Here, in spacious, green surroundings, a new rescue center was built, with a chimpanzee complex, primate department, mammal department, quarantine, outdoor enclosures and a real office. Because not only the number of animals was growing; the number of coworkers was also increasing.

AAP in Spain

With the focus on issues across Europe, the need for a facility in Spain was growing. In 2009 AAP Primadomus was opened, a shelter in Villena, 50 kilometers west of Alicante.

Although the project was initially used as an annex for animals from Almere, it has since grown into a fully-fledged branch of AAP.

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