FREE CITY MAP // DISCOUNTS & OFFERS // NEWS & EVENTS // ART & CULTURE // CLUBS // TOP 5 // STYLE AUGUST 2012
AN AUGUST ADDITION TO AMSTERDAM
Photograph: Uitmarkt Festival, Cris Toala Olivares
IN THIS ISSUE:
THIS DAM LIFE - LIVING IN AMSTERDAM
TOP 5 - BEST HAPPY HOURS
THE TASTE – RESTAURANT REVIEW
FEATURED - MONTHLY FOCUS
CITY RITES - CITY HISTORY
LOCAL BEAT - BOMBERLÉO STREETS OF OUR CITY
CLUBS & EVENTS
STAGE & SCREEN THAT DAM TECH
20 LOKAL MOKUM
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Amsterdam,
Welcome to August and the 3rd edition of AmsterDO. I trust you all had a great July. July had a bit of everything really. We had the best and brightest of the fashion world make an entrance to the city during Amsterdam fashion week, two weeks of dance and theatre during the Julidans festival as well as some amazing outdoor festivals. The weather was typical of an Amsterdam summer, with weeks of rain followed by a week of sun and followed by more rain. I know it’s a cop-out talking about the weather but it’s definitely something that’s always on our minds in this city. August should be a great month in Amsterdam and we have some must see events going on. I say “must see” but if you don’t witness anything of the festivities around town you must be living in a cave. The city will turn rainbow as the Gay Pride Festival jumps into gear. Get ready for some great parties and the craziest canal parade you ever did see. The 15th edition of the Grachten Festival will make sure that the canals stay busy all month as classical music takes centre stage with over two hundred events. The last weekend of August marks the 35th year of Uitmarkt, officially recognised as the launch of the cultural season in Amsterdam. Museumplein and Leidseplein Square will turn into open venues that feature dance and theatre performances as well as live concerts. It should be awesome! In this edition of AmsterDO we have started a couple new sections. The first is ‘That Dam Tech’ where we will cover new and exciting innovations in the field of technology with a special focus on Amsterdam start-ups. We are also taking an in-depth look into the cinema scene here in the city with a new monthly section named ‘Stage and Screen’.
INTERACT WITH THE WORLD AROUND YOU! Layar is a mobile app for discovering information about the world around you. Using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Layar displays digital information, unsurprisingly called “layers” into your smartphone’s field of vision. We at AmsterDO like to embrace innovation, as well as support our local start-ups, so are very excited by our first augmented edition, and would love to hear your views. Look out for the Layar Logo throughout the newspaper for more interactive media content.
Let us know what you think about the new sections. I know I mention it every month but please, get on facebook hit the like button so you can tell us what you of AmsterDO.
After installing Layar scan this page with the app to see a welcome message from the AmsterDo Team.
So, head out there you lovely people and enjoy August. Check out the festivities, make the most of the summer and, above all, stay classy Amsterdam. You are AmsterDO. 1. Go to get.layar.com to install the app on your smart phone.
2. Look for pages and content with the Layar Logo
3. Open the app and press the ‘Tap to view’ button...
AMSTERDO WANTS YOU!
HEAD OF DESIGN
DIGITAL PRODUCT MANAGER
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND SALES
4. ...and discover an amazing extra layer of content.
Dan van Dahl PHOTOGRAPHER
CONTRIBUTORS Amy Lowthian, David Beckett, Dean Sadikot, Katherine Oktober Mathews, Julian Smith, Gerard Looker, Sanne van Oosten, “Tourist”.
Special thanks to – The team at Layar, Harald Lamberts, Len Clabbers, The Amsterdam American Business Club, the Grachtenfestival and Reservoir Dolls.
Welcome to Amsterdam's newest community newspaper! We aim to provide a reliable source of news, opinion and insight into the depth and diversity of Amsterdam, whilst simultaneously providing visitors with a unique guide to the various levels of the city. The team at AmsterDO come from all over the world and have a very mixed background, but one thing we all have in common is that we all love Amsterdam! We at AmsterDO don’t pretend to know it all. We don’t want this paper to voice the thoughts and opinions of a select group of people. We want this paper to be the voice of a city! We want local writers, photographers, artists, organizations and businesses to all be a part of AmsterDO. Each month we will be holding parties and competitions for everyone who wants to get involved. If you have an event, a story, some artwork, a good cause, a mission or a dream.... Please get into contact with us and we will share it with the city.
The AmsterDO Team - firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 marks the 15th Anniversary of the famous 'Grachten Festival - A celebration of canals and classical music'
s there anything more iconic in Amsterdam than its canals? If it weren’t for these immense feats of engineering, conducted over hundreds of years by thousands of workers, over half of Amsterdam would be under water. Indeed, in this city, it is the canals that we have to thank for having dry feet. To the west of the old city-centre, the Canal-Belt, which has World Heritage status, is Amsterdam’s piece de resistance, especially in summer when the sun decides to shine. So let it shine and let the celebrations begin for this year’s rendition of the famous Grachtenfestival, the annual event which brings the full glory of the canals (Grachten) to light. This is an event that combines the best of classical music, boats and good vibes and which, with the help of a bit of sunshine, truly demonstrates the kind of local experience that only Amsterdam can provide. This festival first kicked off 15 years ago, as a three day event. From the beginning the intention was to provide a platform for young classical musicians, and to establish a seminal role in the cultural landscape of Amsterdam. Past instalments have included a range of diverse activities, from opera masterclasses held by world famous singers to sing-a-longs designed to engage the whole public. Of course, high-quality classical performances are the norm. The Kindergrachtenfestival, a special edition for children, also serves to capture the imagination of the young, engaging them in the heritage and depth of classical music. All activities and performances are held in culturally/historically important locations around the city, such as the Hermitage museum and the Artis Zoo. Most are, of course, held on or next to the canals all around the city, especially in the Canal-belt. Such has been the success of the Grachtenfestival that it is now a ten day event, with over 200 activities and performances around the city. This generally means a whole lot of music on the canals, and a generally excellent atmosphere! This year’s instalment showcases performers such as The Amsterdam Saxophone Orchestra and the renowned Lendvai String Trio, as well as the Mozart & de Pont Infidelity Trilogy – an epic piece that combines the works of these two megaliths of European opera. Countless and free open-air concerts will adorn the city streets and canals, ensuring that you won’t miss this classically Amsterdam event, even if you’re just wandering around town.
Photographs: Grachten Festival, Ronald Knapp
PARTY OF PRIDE T
In the first weekend of August, Amsterdam hosts the Gay Pride Festival. This means its time to celebrate.
he battle that the gay and lesbian community has fought over the years has proven one of the toughest battles for equality in history. It is one that remains controversial around the world to this day. In countries such as the US and Australia, as well as many others, the gay and lesbian community are still forced to lobby for their rights to be recognised as equal. Same-sex marriage is a concept which continues to struggle for a foothold in the mentality of various publics around the world. Perhaps it is because of this that Amsterdam retains a special and irreplaceable role for the global gay and lesbian community. Indeed, it was the Netherlands, led by Amsterdam, which became the first country ever to legalise same-sex marriage. The former Mayor, Job Cohen, was the first public official to wed same-sex couples, on April 1st, 2001. By taking this huge step in equal-rights, Amsterdam affirmed its status as a haven for acceptance, openness and liberal freedom. This status is celebrated annually in the city, and manifests itself in the world-famous - Amsterdam Gay Pride Festival â€“ an event which engrosses Amsterdam society with various activities and parties, culminating in a flamboyant and unique canal parade on the first Saturday of August. This is an opportunity for the whole of Amsterdam to gather in a united celebration of freedom and acceptance, not only for the gay and lesbian community but for everyone who carries these values close to their heart. It is this essence that makes the Gay Pride weekend, from the 2nd to the 5th of August, one of Amsterdamâ€™s busiest. So make sure you get involved in the festivities, because the rest of city sure will. In this festival of acceptance and solidarity, there is only one way to celebrate â€“ with pride!
CITY’S BEST BAR DEALS
5. Rick's Cafe
Location: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 252 Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 8am to 1am | Fri & Sat: 8am to 2am Rick’s Cafe is often mistaken for Rick’s coffee-shop, which is right next door. Its strong coffee-shop affiliation makes it one of the most smoker friendly spots in the city, whose upstairs smoking room boasts great window views of the RLD. Rick’s isn’t too spacious inside, but the canal side terrace gives it a bit of an extension which is a big plus. It’s chilled-out and gets the sunshine
4. Susie's Saloon
Location: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 254 Opening Hours: Sun-Thu: 10am to 1am | Fri & Sat: 10am to 3am Susie’s Saloon is one of those bars which has a deep-running ‘biker- connection, especially from the day Amsterdam’s Hell’s Angels had a bigger influence in the RLD. Today it still has a biker bar feel to it, but in the most welcoming way possible. There is a friendly atmosphere inside, with older classic rock and new hard rock blasting, as well as tattooed locals sitting at the carved wooden tables, friendly blonde barmaids, a cracking canal side terrace and one of the best, biggest and brightest smoking rooms you will find in Amsterdam. There’s plenty of space to enjoy
3. Irish Pub Sláinte Opening Hours: Mon - Fri & Sun: 9am- 1am | Sat: 9am - 3am Nondescript Irish pubs tend to pop up all over the world, especially where there is an abundance of British tourists, but Sláinte (that’s “cheers” in Gaelic) is every inch the authentic Irish deal, usually harbouring a local Scottish and Irish contingent. It has TVs always showing the sport of the day, and so is a good choice when the football’s on, but the outside summer terrace is the highlight. You can sit at your table with your happy hour option of ‘2 for 1’ Heinekens, from Monday to Thursday: 3pm – 4pm., and have a peek down a couple of the prime red light alleyways where you can watch the world go by in the most dramatic and colourful way possible.
2. The Last Waterhole
Location: Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 49 Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 2pm to 3am | Fri - Sat: 2pm to 4am The Waterhole is the most established rock n’ roll bar in Amsterdam. It’s a dingy, smoky combination that works. This is the local haunt for both natives and expats, and is a bit of a biker hang out, so it’s less of a tourist spot. The Waterhole is known for three things, the first being it’s to the third and the most important highlight: the daily 2pm – 9pm happy hour(s) and the fact and listen to a massive variety of music.
1. Belushi's Bar
Location: Warmoesstraat 129 Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 10am to 1am | Fri - Sat: 10am to 3am Belushi’s Bar is known for being the drinking spot attached to the most popular backpacker’s hostel in the city. Consequently, it is usually packed with young, international globe hoppers, but it’s also popular with Amsterdam’s seasonal expat community, providing a good, mixed crowd of travellers and honorary Amsterdammers. The extensiveness of the Belushi’s "happy hour" alone makes it deserving of a spot on our list. Day long deals start at 11am which include 2 for 1 Becks until 9pm and 2 for 1 mixes until 11pm. Cheap Jäger bombs and shots. The best deal of all, though, is the famous monster Belushi’s Burger and beer for just under eight bucks, from 12pm to 5pm. The leafy, private beer garden at the back is the gem of the bar and means you can enjoy the sun, an impressive burger and your drinks out in the open. What’s more, if there was to be a special mention for the best bar staff in Amsterdam, that privilege would have to go right here.
6 THIS DAM LIFE
THE OBSCURE DRUNK
Meeting random people in this city is always possible, especially if you’re open to it. But sometimes, even when you want to keep yourself to yourself, an Amsterdam “happening” will happen to you. This is a real mini-incident I experienced with one of those random people.
come to a part of the city I have never seen before, after taking a wrong tram. Instead of turning back to familiar ground, I stop at a corner bar, buy a beer, and sit outside in the cold summer air. The whole weekend has been pretty miserable weather-wise. Earlier that day I told my friend Rogier, “I love the misery of the Amsterdam weather, so atmospheric,” knowing he also revels in melancholy. “You’re right, David,” he replied, “but please, not in July…” As I glance across the road, some police are in discussion with a few drunks, presumably to ask them to move on or stop hassling the passers-by for change. One of the drunks wanders away from the police, and stumbles in my direction, ragged carrier bags clinking. I hide in the refuge of iPod earphones and a book, but to no avail. He stands in front of me, unavoidably catches my eye, and says something. I take one earphone out. He repeats what he said, but I don’t understand his partially slurred Dutch. “I have to translate,” he says, antagonising me. “You don’t have to do anything”, I say in similar tone. “Is there a difference between lonely and alone?” he asks. It's a question worth stopping the music for, and I take the other earphone out to concentrate on my answer. After a moment’s consideration, I tell him my idea. “I think being alone does not mean you are lonely – and some of my loneliest times have been at the side of another, when our values were not shared. I’m glad that’s in the past.”
ASK AMY ANYTHING GOES...
AmsterDO's own agony aunt, Amy, uses this month to look at the issues and problems facing anyone searching for a home in Amsterdam.
ummer has truly hit us in Amsterdam at last! I can’t guarantee what the weather is like as you’re reading this, but at the time of writing this it is steaming! Not much sleep is going down in this hot town. The topic for this month is something very close to my heart right now; finding a home in Amsterdam. Once again the time has come for me to search for new dwellings and, as always, it is proving a challenge. It’s especially hard to concentrate on finding a new place, what with so much going on in this Dam town. There are festivals, work and, at this time of year, always friends visiting from various parts of the world. I did my share of being festive this July when I headed down to Dour in Belgium…it was as wet and muddy as I expected. Now though, I’ve gotten that out of my system, and it's
“We are looking one another in the eyes” he announces obscurely. We are. He goes on. “There is a man, who does nothing but kill. He kills everybody. He walks free in Paris." Then he deepens his stare and quietly says, “I want to learn the pain behind your eyes”. I don’t know what to say, but it’s ok because he continues, seemingly at another tangent. “I am not independent. I love women! I lived in Rivendale in New York. I lived with a Madame!” He leans his head in towards my face, his breath almost unbearable, and with a conspiratorial nod, he continues. “1972, she came here to Amsterdam with me. We lived near Nieuwmarkt: she worked in a window and I threw bricks at the police. You don’t know about the riots…” Indignant, I butt in. “Of course I do! All the squatters were kicked out, Blue Monday, 1975. It was all about the new underground line, right?” “She knew how to cause a riot too. She drank Jenever, you’ve never seen anyone drink Jenever like her. It… affected her. You understand?” He seems to get lost in that thought and begins swaying on his feet, staring pointedly into my eyes again, searching. Finally, he opens his plastic bag and shows a few bottles of cheap booze, saying, “That will be my dinner tonight.” I expect the question “do you have a bit of change to help me out?” but my thoughts do him a disservice. He smiles, extends his wrinkled, grubby hand. I shake it, and he walks away with a wave. I’m left with an odd sensation that I have seen this man before, and feeling I’ve just been touched by an Amsterdam moment.
David Beckett is author of 'Amsterdam... The Essence', a book which tells the city's story in the words of 25 people who shape it. It's recently been converted as an enhanced ebook for iPad - with 250 pictures, 28 sound clips and 17 movies bringing the story into vivid life. You can download 3 free chapters from iTunes by scanning the QR code to the right (just search under Amsterdam on iTunes). More information can be found at www. theessenceonline.com
time to apartment hunt. Last year I had a three month spell of homelessness, an experience which teaches you, amongst other things, how vital your friends are and how great they can be at helping out in these hard times. This is when you find your true Amsterdam friends…or even make some new ones. In this city, I do believe I’m not the only one with this story to tell. I’m going through all the channels to try and find a place; the websites, friends, networking, asking random strangers... all of them except one. This one route that I haven’t gone down is the path of agencies, where they will charge you two month’s rent in addition to their agency fee. It's a damn expensive route, this one. Of course, if you have the money, it’s a very feasible option. Otherwise, you have to use your brains, talents and adaptability to have any chance of getting something acceptable. It helps when you have other friends looking too, as it can work out cheaper, plus it can provide you with a whole support system during the time you are looking etc. Typical websites to look for rooms in Amsterdam are kamernet.nl, and also marktplaats.nl which advertises both rooms and apartments. Elynx is an online English-speaking community in the Netherlands; an expat site on which you can find short or long term accommodation. Craigslist.nl is always an option, just be very careful and aware, especially when the person says "they are out of town and will not be able to show you the place, but you can look at the outside and wire money to them”. Also couchsurfing.org can always be helpful in emergencies. You will find a lot of people looking for, as well
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as offering a couch. It can be a good way to network and also make new friends if you are really new in town. A couple of possibilities have presented themselves so far on my search, but none worth pursuing with intent. I could have had a room in the RLD. It was a studio about the size of a walk-in wardrobe. This might sound small, but sometimes you get to a point where anything would be better than nothing, especially at a good price. Unfortunately this studio was priced at 700 EUR, including the chance to share, not a private, but a communal shower and toilet! I commented that it was a little overpriced for me, and the landlord then asked me if I had a boyfriend. “No”, I responded, to which he queried, “Why not?” The conversation was going a little off-topic and I told him that, even if I did, there’s no way I could share such a small space with anyone…we would end up killing each other! But now things are getting a bit more real as regards my upcoming homelessness. I might just try looking at the So, given that this is such a common issue for many moving into and living in Amsterdam, I want to ask you, dear reader, if any of you have your own story to share about a homeless time in Amsterdam. I would love to hear it and maybe your story will help me and any other reader who is facing this problem. And dont forget...Ask Amy… See you all next month and please, while you can, enjoy the sunshine! xxx
So keep those questions coming - feel free to ask me, Amy, anything! email@example.com
HOME IN AMSTERDAM
In this photo-essay series, Katherine Oktober Matthews explores the concept of ‘home’ in Amsterdam, and what it means to those who have moved here from all around the world.
VINCENZO, PALERMO, SICILY
was born in a hospital... something different from here since the Dutch are normally born in their own homes. But we are different or, I don’t know, maybe the Dutch are different. I'm Vincenzo, from Palermo. People in Sicily are nice but they are too proud. They will tell you Sicily is the best place in the world. Of course that's not true! There are so many cultures, differences, and colors around the world -- and everything is as special as the things in Sicily. Maybe special doesn’t exist at all, as a concept. Sicily has amazing sea and sunsets but there are so many other places around the world that I haven’t experienced yet, how could I really miss my island? Being Sicilian also means complaining a lot and nothing is ever your fault. Normally a lot of things are your fault but you like to complain anyway. Complaining in an unconstructive way makes you feel so good, doesn’t it? It’s so bad for the world but, for you, it’s an amazing cathartic experience. Of course you feel safest in the environment that you know, or that you like. And normally if you like the people, they will like you as well and you won’t have so many problems. So, you see, I had to leave. Because I’m Sicilian, I like to complain. I always felt like going away because I felt isolated from everywhere. It’s not even easy to get to the other side of the island. And anywhere you want to go on the mainland of Europe – we call it the continent – you need to take a flight. You could also take a train; it’s called “hope-travel” because you hope to arrive. It’s something like 12 hours on the worst kind of trains. Here in Amsterdam, in half an hour you can be in another city that you’ve only ever heard about. I can take a train and in two hours I’m in Brussels and in four hours in Paris. I enjoy being abroad and going to the cities that I could never reach so easily before. Being away also means that I can be around people who don’t always have the same opinions as I do. In Sicily, you are considered to be either right or wrong, depending on if you’re aligned with the majority or not. Here it’s different, since it’s such a mix of different cultures, it’s impossible to be aligned. You can even change your perspective, if you know how to, which is great. It means I can always be un-aligned, not because of who I am but because of the environment. And because the environment doesn't choose things for me, I can do almost anything. I can't really define home. It’s like with love. When you start trying to define love, you’re already talking too much! Maybe "home" is similar to that sensation you feel when, coming back from a frozen night, you go to sleep. It’s still freezing outside but you are in bed. And in that moment, as you fall asleep, and it’s warm and safe, you are at home in your dreamy darkness. This is home for me, this sensation around you, protecting you, making you feel warm. Maybe I will never feel completely at home in one physical place, because it also depends on the people around me. The people are really important for me. Suppose one morning, nobody I know is around anymore… I probably would not recognize the place. But is it so good to feel at home somewhere? If you leave, then you are depressed and you miss it too much. Maybe it’s better not to have a home at all. Maybe I just feel like this because I didn’t find love again, and I still don’t have a family of my own. When you start having kids I guess the concept is different: home is not just a bed anymore. It’s also playing with your kids, cooking with them, reading to them, looking through their eyes to discover forgotten things. It always depends on what happens to you from day to day. Whatever I think now, could be quite different tomorrow.
Katherine Oktober Matthews www.oktobernight.com
THE ORIGINS OF TOLERANCE
'Tolerance' is a tag-line often associated with Amsterdam and Dutch society, and has been for a long time. Here, we explore some of the possible origins of this famous reputation which the Dutch have carried for hundreds of years.
olerance is supposedly so deeply ingrained in Dutch culture that, in the words of sociologist, Peter van Rooden, the 17th century Dutch Republic was already famous as a ‘tolerant haven in an intolerant Europe.’ Not much of this reputation has changed today, especially as regards Amsterdam. Liberal approaches towards sex and softdrugs, as well as equal-rights for same-sex couples, are often seen as indicative of a society that is still more progressive than the rest of Europe. But where does this all come from? Numerous scholars have investigated the origins of Dutch tolerance and, like any scholarly pursuit; it has proven a topic that has aroused much conflicting debate and discussion. However, there are some firm ideas as to where the perceptions of Dutch tolerance came from, and they are notions which inform us greatly about the city as it is today. 1. The need to work together. The idea of tolerance has not always been a dominant tenet of Dutch society. However, the seeds for its growth have existed ever since people started to claim land in this part of the world. The land which the Netherlands is built on is largely of the wet and swampy variety. Over a quarter of the country lies below sea level, and it has only been the mass engineering works of the inhabitants that has kept civilisation here ‘afloat’. Back in the day, if you were living in a little Dutch village which was likely to flood, and the only way to protect your
village was to go and build a dyke, then that’s what you would do. While building your dyke, it didn’t matter if the person next to you was of another religion, ethnic background or somebody you had petty arguments with in the past. As long as they were next to you holding a shovel, then their presence was a positive thing, and you would put aside your differences for the greater good of the community. 2. The Fight for Religious Freedom In what was the most defining event in the Netherland’s history, the Dutch spent eighty years fighting against the Spanish, who occupied that part of Europe as part of the Holy Roman Empire. This became a war between the Protestant Calvinism of the Dutch rebels, and the oppressive Catholicism of the Spanish. It was a fight for religious freedom. Once the rebels were victorious in 1648, and the Dutch Republic had been established, it became a Protestant Calvinist stronghold whose rulers were seen as relatively progressive advocates of the individual liberty to choose one’s own religion. This doesn’t mean that the general public was particularly tolerant. Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and others were still persecuted in various parts of the Netherlands. Tolerance, however, did start to diffuse into the mentality of certain regions. Amsterdam, as always, was the most notable of these. Officially, Roman Catholicism was outlawed in 1618, during the reformation and not lifted until the Catholic emancipation of 1813. However, Catholics were still permitted to practise their faith, albeit with discretion and largely in secret throughout Amsterdam. Although it took many years for this tolerance to cement itself as a feature of the Amsterdam mindset, it has expressed itself in modern times in the form of such progressive approaches to issues such as same-sex marriage and the right to consume cannabis. 3. The Business Acumen of Tolerance Amsterdam was a merchant’s paradise, and the men who ran Amsterdam were the most powerful men in the Netherlands. They led the drive towards global trade, which became the essential factor that led to the world-wide ‘business empire’ established by the Dutch across the 17th century. A part of the reason why these leaders of the new Dutch republic appeared to be so progressive in their approach to tolerance is that they realised the good business sense of doing
so. Dutch tolerance has been referred as value-neutral. What this means is that someone need not have been judged by pre-existing attributes such as religion, race or ethnicity, but were judged by their worth in business. The inherent value of someone was neutral, until otherwise changed through the conduct or misconduct of business. The mass immigration of Jews into Amsterdam in the late 16th century is a case which highlights this point. Ostracised and persecuted across much of Europe, Sephardic Jews found a safe-haven in Amsterdam. This is not to say that they were welcomed with open arms, but they were not shunned. Their value to society as an ethnic group was neutral. Their business worth, on the other hand, was immense. Their world-wide network, skill and knowledge in business, especially in the diamond and tobacco industries, gave them worth to the merchant based society of Amsterdam. The result was that European Jews found a city that would not persecute them and, over time, this contributed greatly to the reputation of tolerance which we have today. The darker side of ‘value-neutrality’ can also be found in Dutch business dealings at this time. The slave trade was one which the Netherlands dominated. They jumped on the abolition bandwagon much later than many European countries, and made a vast amount of wealth by dealing in people. This is because those people, as value-neutral, were commodities in business. They had no pre-existing value connected to their race or skin colour, or as human beings. Tolerance as an ethical notion had little to do with its introduction into the Dutch public mindset. The value-neutrality of business, however, did. Fortunately, slavery was eventually abolished in the 1860s. As regarded Jewish Amsterdam, their integration into Amsterdam society eventually contributed to the amazingly multi-cultural society which we have today. It should be noted that the last decade has seen the debate about Dutch tolerance intensify. Many people argue that the Dutch are not as tolerant as their reputation would suggest. Regardless, this reputation undoubtedly exists, and it has done for hundreds of years. Hopefully it will continue for hundreds more. Joe Wegecsanyi, AmsterDO Senior Editor
ONTGROENING: A HAZE OF HUMILIATION & HONOUR
Sororities and Fraternities are most often associated with teen films coming out of the US. But here in the Netherlands, they have a rich and deep history and, as writes one anonymous member, initiation is not a simple process.
f you’re going to be around any Dutch city in late August and early September, no doubt you will see some very strange behaviour from some of the younger locals. You might witness a bunch of guys, smartly dressed, but crawling down a cycle path while other lads in waistcoats and top-hats dump buckets of flour over them. Or maybe you’ll come across a row of girls in jumpsuits, lined up and facing a wall, blind-folded, while other girls pace up and down shouting at them in Dutch. At any other time of year, the sight of anyone in the city’s dirtier canals would be very rare (they tend to be drunken tourists or stag party members) but during August and September you will see scores of students determinately swimming lengths, all the while being pelted with rotten fruit. Welcome to ‘Ontgroening’, which roughly translates into ‘hazing’. It is a weird time of the year just, as the summer holidays end and before serious university work starts, when students that want to be members of ancient societies must prove their dedication through an intense initiation process. Anyone on the outside will tell you that it’s a dirty, degrading and humiliating brainwashing session. Those on the inside, however, will fiercely advocate that there is a good reason they don’t let those goody-two-shoe nae-sayers in, as there’s nothing quite like a bit of an ordeal to separate the wheat from the chaff and to encourage real bonding and early solid friendships. Once you’re through, you’re a lifelong member of an exclusive and secretive club. Traditionally, it becomes a student’s first professional network, where they will both meet and mate with the high fliers of the future. As a Brit, the whole fraternity/ sorority/ student society culture is somewhat foreign to me. But having already witnessed their antics on the streets of Amsterdam in years previous, I was curious, in a voyeuristic kind of way, and I wanted in, just once, just to see. And so, when I came to Amsterdam in 2011 to complete a study abroad year, I convinced myself it was the best way to learn Dutch, to make Dutch friends and establish some proper roots in my favourite city. I had asked around about the Ontgroening and had a lot of negative reactions. The whole process is highly controversial. Stories of accidental death and ritual animal slaughter caught my ears and I heard it described as Guantanamo Bay for dim Dutch students where you’re bullied and brainwashed until you develop Stockholm syndrome. But I also heard positive stories; if you want to know someone who knows someone and find your way into a top job in the Netherlands, these societies are the places to start. They can be elitist, but as far as “making connections” goes, the sorority/fraternity network is a treasure trove. I also heard stories of trips abroad, charity work, theatre nights, sports teams and wild parties - so much that appealed to me. So, secretly, without telling my highly disapproving Dutch boyfriend, I paid the fee, submitted a Google translated application form and turned up solo at the “get to know you” party for a society that I now can’t give the name of. This wasn’t so bad, as everyone was smiley and welcoming; the super enthusiastic sort, happy to talk slowly and clearly in Dutch and in English when required. Beers on tap were seventy cents each and, after a few, I was able to relax a little, a little too much actually. I drank away my nerves to the extent that my memories from the night are fuzzy, but I did manage to etch out my niche as the token foreigner and the British beer tank. That was the last of the beer for the week though as, apparently according to new regulations
after a death, drinking is banned during Ontgroening, and participants have to be fed and hydrated and can no longer be deprived of sleep. I wondered how intense things had been in the past that such strict regulation now existed, and how much would have really changed since then. I arrived at a meeting point the next day, slightly late and hung-over to high heaven. We had been told we were leaving Amsterdam, and nothing else. We were bussed in silence to some nondescript point in the Dutch countryside. There were people yelling (oh so much yelling), so many orders and commands, none of which I could follow or understand. Some sort of chant started up, half in Latin, half in Dutch, that went on and on and on. I sat for about 3 hours in a drizzly field, trying to join in with the ongoing chanting, sitting with my legs stretched out in front of me and all the while thinking “my God, what the hell am I doing?” The sitting and chanting then turned into digging with spades; making small holes in the ground and, once a whistle was blown, moving on and filling someone else's hole in. Most other people were chatting in Dutch, but I was just too tired, I wasn’t having fun and just wanted it to be over. I don’t know what made me turn up the next day. I think maybe it was just chatting to people and enjoying it, as well as hearing what motivated the other girls. There were many whose parents and grandparents had taken part in the same such ritual, decades ago, and those to whom the sentiment was just very appealing. All in all there really was a feeling of everyone being in this together, and furthermore, the eight people I was literally tied to did end up becoming solid friends of mine to this day. Staggering around Amsterdam, blindfolded, tied to a group of other girls while someone squirted a water pistol loaded with something sticky at me wasn’t exactly fun, but I enjoyed it none the less - the Stockholm syndrome was setting in. There were a series of challenges and tasks to complete and, admittedly, some were pretty bad. Lining up blindfolded with head bowed next to a Red Light District canal with toes over the edge, teetering and trying not to fall in as someone fired tennis balls at you; talking your way into getting a red light window for an hour so we could throw a party in the room; adopting cruel and unusual nicknames, and having to wear these on a placard around your neck (I was tourist), as well as seeing how many upmarket establishments you could enter whilst covered in
flower and wearing nought but a bikini, a veil and an inflatable swim ring. Writing it now, I’m raising my own eyebrows, but in all honesty, I didn’t stop laughing the whole way through. It was damn right dirty, degrading and yeah, pretty humiliating.A lot of people didn’t stay. They were not forced to and no attempt made to convince them to remain. For much of it, I didn’t want to either. I was, however, enjoying the company, the feeling of belonging and being a part of something. And still, the worst part was at the after party; being caught out by a friend, who caught me looking all preppy in my skirt, jacket and blouse and who proclaimed, “My God! You’ve joined those douche bags?! I thought more of you.” I however happened to very much enjoy my time with them after the hazing, and obviously the Stockholm syndrome isn’t as bad as people say it is. If it were, I wouldn’t be breaking the first rule of both fight club and Ontgroening by writing this article.
THE CITY RITES
AT THIS POINT IN TIME... I
This month, three hundred and forty years ago, the Netherlands was struck by probably the most dramatic single event in its history. n 1672 political and social tensions were at such a high level that, on the 20th of August of that year, the man who had led the Netherlands as Europe’s sole republic for twenty years was publicly executed and eaten. This event was the climactic point of the worst year of turmoil in Dutch history. 1672 is known in Dutch folklore as ‘Rampjaar’ – the disaster year. During the course of this year the Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was attacked by the monarchical French and British, as well as two bishopric German states, Münster and Cologne. This invasion led to foreign forces occupying large swathes of Dutch territory. The population across the whole country was racked in fear of this war, and they had good reason to be. The entire situation of European politics at the time was one of extreme complexity. However, suffice it to say that it all occurred amidst a context of European wide conflicts between Protestantism and Catholicism, as well as high tensions between Republicanism and Monarchism. As always, commerce, industry and ego all had their parts to play as well. The Netherlands was a republic, but this didn’t mean that there was no Dutch ‘royalty’. Specifically, there was the family of Orange-Nassau, whose founding patriarch William I had led the country in its struggle for independence against the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War, which ran from 1568 to 1648. Traditionally the male members of this family had held military roles with high political influence. During this war of independence the country had united into a republic and the Oranges had to struggle to hold on to any power. In 1650, the tensions between republicans and the Oranges led to William II moving to lay siege to Amsterdam, the heartland of the mercantile republican movement. When he died suddenly the chance came to block the Oranges off from Dutch politics, and the republican rulers took it, denying the Orange-Nassau family an official or meaningful role in state affairs from that point. The merchant-based republicans confirmed their control and appointed a man called Johan de Witt to the role of Grand Pensionary - the equivalent of a prime minister and effective head of government. De Witt led the Netherlands for the next twenty years, through a significant portion of their Golden Age. This Golden Age was the height of Dutch influence in the world. They were the only republic in Western Europe, their artists led a renaissance of style and skill, and their trade ships sailed the world, bringing back exotic products and immense wealth to the tiny republic. Eventually, this caused much resentment amongst their neighbouring countries. Britain, in particular, held a huge grudge against the Dutch, which resulted in numerous conflicts and several wars. The Catholic French were constantly trying to reclaim the lost lands of the Holy Roman Empire, much of which had fallen to the Dutch rebels during their fight for independence from Spain. All in all, tensions were high in this part of Europe. The Orange family had not disappeared in all this time, despite having been removed from political power twenty years earlier. William III, the son of William II, was the nephew of the British King Charles II, who had intentions to restore the Orange influence. Some in the Netherlands still hoped for a collapse of the republican government, and instalment of an Orangist monarchy. Because of this, Charles II had agreed that if France attacked the Netherlands and their border territories, the British would jump on board. The Dutch republican government had spent these twenty years pumping resources into their navy; a necessity for both their on-going arm-wrestles with the British, and also for protecting their massive trade fleets. However, by 1672, this had left their army neglected, unorganized and inferior to those of neighbouring states. When the French, British and Germans attacked simultaneously, they came in hard and there was little that the sub-par Dutch army could do about it.
Bodies of the De Witt Brothers, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam The French invaded from the east, via their German allies Cologne and Münster, and the British attacked Dutch fleets along the coast. By June, the French had successfully opened up the Dutch defence, and had only to waltz in and take the country for themselves. A terrified Dutch population turned on their republican government, blaming them for neglecting the evidently insipid army. They demanded installation of William III as the head-of-state, or Stadhouder in Dutch. Johan de Witt resigned from his post, after holding the position of Grand Pensionary for two decades. The Oranges finally came back into power. At this point in time, turmoil turned into anarchy. De Witt’s younger brother, Cornelis, returned from a bout of naval warfare against the British, to find that Johan and he were bearing the brunt of Dutch popular anger. Cornelis was accused of treason, imprisoned in The Hague and after heavy torture he was banished on August 19th. His elder brother, having just lost his job, went to visit him on the 20th. Apparently, Johan de Witt’s removal from the high office wasn’t enough to satisfy the angry populace. Whilst visiting his soon-to-be banished brother in prison, a lynch mob formed outside. The division between republicans and monarchists ran deep, across all levels of Dutch society. An Orange supporter and high ranking naval officer, Cornelis Tromp, gave the order which saw the De Witt brothers taken out of the prison by the local militia, executed and then publicly mutilated by the lynch mob. Their hearts were removed, and held on display for some time afterwards by one of the ringleaders. Furthermore, some reports told of how parts of their body were eaten by members of the participating mob. Some historians believe firmly that the double assassination was devised by William III, Tromp and others, in order to reaffirm his political ascension. With popular support, and the demise of his republican enemies, he and his kin were reinstated to positions of high political power in the Netherlands. By this time, the French had reached Utrecht, and it looked inevitable that Amsterdam and The Hague would fall next. William III took control of the army, and withdrew behind the Dutch Water Line. The Dutch then deliberately allowed the outer-lying areas to flood, something that their engineering and mastery of water diversion allows them to do
Historic 1672 De Witt Brothers Assassination Medal as a defensive measure. This created an impasse that denied the French army from proceeding into Holland, halting their advance. The republic was saved. Although the republic continued in name, 1672 is seen as the beginning of the end of the Dutch Golden Age. Economically, socially and politically, the disaster year had an effect on their superpower status from which they would never recover. The lynching of the de Witt brothers was akin to the lynching of republican order, which had overseen the transformation of the Netherlands into the wealthiest and most libertarian state in Europe. After the lynching, the Orange influence began to spread beyond the borders of Holland, and the same William III would go on to claim the British throne in 1688. (His indirect descendants, of course, would eventually be crowned as the royal family of the Netherlands) Indeed, at this point in time, Dutch history saw the downfall of its Golden Age and its pioneering and unique republican nature. AmsterDO
THE 'BREESTRAAT H
Explore the story of Amsterdam through the amazing history of its streets. eading south from the Nieuwmarkt to the Mr Visserplein, the St Antoniesbreestraat (St Antonie’s Broad Street) is recognisable by its garish colours and cubist buildings, standing in stark contrast to the medieval square it adjoins. Despite the seemingly modern exterior, however, the street has had a tumultuous history as the centre of Amsterdam’s old Jewish quarter, ranging from the dizzying heights of the Golden Age to the unspeakable horror and violence of Nazi occupation. St. Antoniesbreestraat was originally a dyke and border of the city until 16th century expansion when it became a residential street. Throughout the Eighty Years War (1568-1648), the United Provinces of the Netherlands fought a war of independence against the Spanish Habsburg Empire. When Antwerp fell to the Spanish in 1585, non-Catholics who refused to convert were forced to leave the city. As a result, many Protestant skilled labourers and artisans fled north and came to Amsterdam, sparking the city’s Golden Age. With them, however, came others who had already escaped persecution from the Spanish, including Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal. Many of these people settled in the area around St Antoniesbreestraat and by the mid seventeenth century, the southern part of the street came to be known as Jodenbreestraat (Jewish Broad Street). The Sephardic Jews were rich, influential and staunchly supportive of the House of Orange. Eventually, they were allowed to practice their religion openly, with the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue (Mr Visserplein 3) built in 1675 and still standing as a testament to those times. Despite being the centre of the Jewish quarter in a Protestant city, the street was not a ghetto and was never exclusively Jewish. Perhaps its most famous resident was Rembrandt van Rijn, who lived there between 1639 and 1658. Able to afford a grand new home after being commissioned to paint The Night Watch, Rembrandt bought the house on Jodenbreestraat 4. There he found inspiration from the Jewish people who lived in the area around his home, using them as models for his religious scenes. His house is today preserved as a museum, Het Rembrandthuis, providing a highly underrated look into the life and times of the iconic Dutch master. In the latter half of the seventeenth century, a second wave of Jewish immigration arrived in Amsterdam from Eastern Europe, the Ashkenazi. They were poorer than the Sephardic Jews and were allowed into the city because of financial aid promised by the Sephardic community. The Ashkenazi primarily spoke Yiddish and their influence can be seen in Amsterdam’s nickname “Mokum”; a Yiddish word meaning “the place”. Amsterdam was thought to be “the place” for Jewish people in Europe, the Jerusalem of the West. By the time the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Jewish population is estimated to have grown to about 80,000 people. During the occupation the Breestraat and the Jewish quarter became the site of skirmishes between Dutch Nazi groups and the Jewish residents. On February 22 and 23, 1941, the area was sealed off by barbed wire and razor wire fences, non-Jews were forbidden to enter and 425 Jewish people were arrested and sent to Westerbork for deportation. In response, the socialist and communist parties organised a general strike demanding the release of the Jews. The strike was brutally put down after 2 days, but is known today as the Febuary Strike and commemorated by the Dock Worker statue on Mr Visserplein. By the end of the Second World War, the Breestraat was a ghost town, with most of the city’s Jewish population having been deported. The final winter of the war, known as the Hunger Winter, was extremely cold. With the city cut off from its supply lines, desperate and starving Amsterdammers turned on the houses in the Jewish neighbourhood in their search for fuel to stay warm. Entire houses were dismantled in this scramble for wood and by the end of the war the street had been destroyed. After the war, the abandoned houses and decrepit ruins of
STREETS OF OUR CITY
the Breestraat were torn down by the city government in the pursuit of modernisation. Plans were drawn up to demolish the remaining buildings and turn St Antoniesbreestraat into a highway which would run to Centraal Station, as well as the creation of a new metro line. These plans, however, were met by fierce protests, riots and large-scale community pressure. A community group was created to save the house of a Sephardic Jewish family, the Pintohuis from 1680 (St Antoniesbreestraat 69). These pressures resulted in the abandonment of the highway plans and the Pintohuis is now a public library. Today, a walk down the Breestraat offers the chance to submerge oneself in a truly local Amsterdam area with cafes, bars and specialty shops in abundance. The famous Waterlooplein market is also in very close vicinity. It is a street that has experienced firsthand the highs and lows which have marked the turbulent history of this city. So when you walk past the many shades of yellow on the newer buildings on the street, remember that it was here that Mokum first truly came to life.
Julian Smith, Professional Amsterdam Tour Guide & Local originally hailing from Canberra, Australia
CITY MAP & DISCOUNTS 1
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THE NINE STREETS
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VAN GOGH MUSEUM
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ICE BAR AMSTERDAM
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AMSTERDAM AMERICAN BUSINESS CLUB A
msterdam and America have always had close business relationships. Ever since Henry Hudson set sail, from what is today’s Amsterdam central station, to discover the soon to be Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, which would come to be known around the world as New York (heard of it?) The Amsterdam American Business clubs keeps this spirit alive today and for over 30 years have been providing a platform for like minded expats and locals to come together. Today the AABC is a professional networking organization whose main purpose is to help Improve contacts between Dutch and American businesses. The club consists primarily of American and Dutch professional people, but also includes a broad variety of nationalities and professional backgrounds. They currently have over 650 members and their sponsors include ESPN, Baker & McKenzie, Hard Rock Cafe, Voerman International and this month we at AmsterDO our proud to be among their official sponsors. Dating back to 1975, the Amsterdam American Business Club started out rather informally with just a small group of invited members meeting up for a cocktail and a lunch once a month. The club as we know it today was officially registered in June of 1997 and has rapidly grown in members ever since. The club has a strong reputation for holding great business events, organizing fantastic summer picnics and initiating surprisingly successful business ‘matchmaking’. The American Business Club ‘borrel’ each month attracts
an average of about 50 to 75 people. These business networking events, every third Monday of the month, are held mainly at sponsor locations throughout the Amsterdam area. In addition, the AABC holds a Labor Day Picnic – this year on the 2nd of September, a Thanksgiving Dinner. Their biggest event of the year is the Dutch America Friendship Day. This is combined with a Meet & Greet exhibition events where nearly 25 companies participate each year. At each monthly AABC event, new members are given the opportunity to introduce themselves and shortly describe their businesses. There is plenty of time to network and exchange business cards in a pleasant, but clearly business environment. On occasion, keynote speakers are invited to present interesting topics for all attendees. These have included many national and international senior members of the Dutch and American business and government communities, including the Mayor of Amsterdam and the US Ambassador to the Netherlands.
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TO THE TUNE OF GOOD TASTE A
This month, we’ve taken a look at Symphony’s Brasserie, one of the shining lights of Amsterdam’s outer-city culinary scene.
msterdam certainly is one of those quaint places; one that has all the benefits of a big city, with the atmosphere of a small village. While it is a place that rewards exploration, it is also a place that facilitates comfort zones, especially within the confines of the old neighbourhoods. Weeks can be spent without venturing further than the limits of one’s local pub, restaurant, or café. Traditionally, the inner-city is the place to be. But times are changing, and Amsterdam is continually growing. Steadily, more and more locals, both native and expat, are starting to venture into the world beyond the old city. The Zuidas, a district which is also known as ‘The Financial Mile’, is the location of the World Trade Centre, and Amsterdam’s equivalent to Canary Wharf in London, or La Défense in Paris. The station at the centre of the district, Amsterdam Zuid, which is only about fifteen-minutes from the old centre, is the focus of plans to make it Amsterdam’s second main station. Indeed, this district is doing things. A hub of professional activity, abuzz all through the week, it has also become an attractive option for an evening out. As a result of this growth, some places are just now beginning to make their mark in the area and Symphony’s Brasserie is one of them. A short walk from Amsterdam Zuid station, this is one of those places that gives a big impression
from the outside, but then continues to surprise you once you’ve entered. A lot of imagination has been put into Symphony’s and the quality of interior design and appearance is high. The big first impression is that it is classy and eloquent, but those adjectives don’t quite do the job in conveying the warmth and welcoming nature that it also exudes. A lot of this definitely comes down to the efforts of the staff. According to Corinne de Groot, Symphony’s manager, the ethos is one that ensures the happiness of the staff, which translates into a more dynamic eating experience. It is one of those places where the employees clearly enjoy telling you about the food and wine. Gies, one of Symphony’s floor managers, says that his job is about giving “some of my positive energy. That’s my goal.” The staff members are into it, and they’re proud of what they produce, in terms of a complete experience for the diner. What this also amounts to is that Symphony’s is actually very open and welcoming to everyone, including families. The idea is to have a good experience and ‘the only important thing is quality.” Wine is a much favoured topic of conversation with the Symphony’s staff. They know their list and they revel in the broad and international nature of it. New Zealand, South Africa and Chilé all feature, and expats from these places will definitely enjoy revisiting the tastes of their homelands. If the sun is shining, there could be few better places than Symphony’s terrace to enjoy a glass or two. If you can’t decide from the depth of their list, the engaging staff won’t hesitate to elaborate. So that brings us to the big question. What is the food like? Well, Symphony’s is not trying to do anything spectacularly avant-garde. Their food is not about fusion or experimentation; it is about providing the best quality of what people know. A salad is still a salad, but it will be an excellent salad, with just a few little convergent and complimentary twists within. Think salmon tartar with smoked tempura eel - Beautiful. Fish is a big mover for Symphony’s, as is sea-food in general. Mussels and salmon are both regulars, but the chefs also get free reign to branch out with any special catches that come in. Often, you’ll have the opportunity to feast on the chef’s bass or plaice.
This doesn’t go to the detriment of land-food, and the bridge is gapped by a surf n’ turf spectacular – veal medallions with smoked salmon. In fact, the abilities and adaptability of Symphony’s chefs are not limited by the menu. Custom menus can be catered to the particular needs of groups, including specific dietary requirement, and emailed to the customers beforehand. As de Groot states, “Everything is possible”. Symphony’s also provides a perfect place for private functions, and is open for bookings. This gives the staff an opportunity to convey their own enjoyment in satisfying both celebratory and professional groups, which they will do gladly. Indeed, Symphony’s flexibility derives from their aims to satisfy and fulfil, which they do impeccably. Symphony’s is an a la carte restaurant, and a three experience and general satisfaction, it’s a very reasonable price to pay for something so new and fresh, at a venue that is leading the way in this up and coming part of the city.
The Taste, AmsterDO
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16 LOCAL BEAT THE ONECHICK-UHBOOM-BAND
Local Beat journeyman, Dean Sadikot, takes this month’s edition to look at one of Amsterdam’s truly special local artists, BomberLéo
ell…. where to start with this month's feature artist? A lady who needs no introduction, but what the hell, I'll give her one anyway! BomberLéo, Amsterdam's finest One Woman Band, is no stranger to the stage, you might even say she is the stage! Hailing from a vast musical family, BomberLéo was already playing instruments and performing as a child. It didn't take long before she was forming and playing for several and diverse bands. She even used to play bagpipes while wearing a Ska outfit! One of the most memorable endeavours for BomberLéo, however, was a band she formed with her sister and two friends. The band was called ' Semaphor Signals ', after a song by English rockstar Wreckless Eric. This turned out to be an excellent choice of name, when they were invited to a private concert of his because of it. Taking full advantage of the situation, the band presented him with their CD. He liked it so much, he invited them to record and perform with him! Soon after this good fortune however, the band split. It was this change of direction that then allow BomberLéo to strike out on her own, as a solo artist. With a great deal of initiative, about a month’s worth of practice and a wee bit o' help from her brother, BomberLéo was rockin'! The One Woman quest had begun… BomberLéo describes herself as a story teller and a communicator. "There's a really strong connection in the way I write music to the way I view life. Music or art should be a direct expression of how we experience life" Sat alone on stage with a kick drum, high hats, guitar, two kazoos and a microphone, she controls the stage with pounding rhythms, both gritty and sweet melodies, soul filled kazoo-action, and an honest voice that would make any man misty-eyed. Her musical styles span genres, and constantly develop. If you close your eyes, I swear you would think there was a whole band in front of you. In 2011 BomberLéo funded and released her first solo recording "One-Chick-Uh-Boom-Band", a five track EP showcasing her different styles and rhythms. It even gets rather raunchy in one track, featuring new and local hip-hop talent Fredee Brazil. Ooooh matron! BomberLéo is currently working towards an album release, but says that "the disadvantage of being a One Woman Band is that you have to organize and pay for everything, so be patient!" With the EP out and available to buy, BomberLéo then decided to take on a shiny new venture. This woman never stops! Throughout her many years of performing, she'd established many musical contacts, both weird and wonderful. She envisaged a place where creative minds could meet to get on and share new inspirations, whether it be music, art, spoken word or wacky performance. The Betty Too coffee-shop kindly agreed to host and fund the night and the decision was unanimous that the name should be…. BomberLéo & Friends. The night turned out to be a huge success and gathered a huge community of musicians, artists, poets, freaks and people who just liked to be there. Even her mum and dad represented with a soulful jazz duet! After 6 months there was enough raw material recorded to release a 20 track compilation CD, featuring most of the artists that performed at the nights. Last month they held a whole day festival at Camping Zeeburg in Amsterdam to celebrate its release. Nearly all the artists who performed each month came back to unleash their styles again to a way bigger audience. The day was filled with good vibes and the occasional tear from myself, as I’d witnessed the whole
conceptual process, from an idea to a reality. One might even say that a 'lekkertronic' day was had by all, innit! So, if you are thinking "damn man… where can I see this one-woman-genius? Or how can I be a part of these monthly nights?” Then do read on! BomberLéo and friends are back in September for another smashing season of goodness, so get your lovely asses to the Betty Too coffee-shop, near the flower market. If you have something to share, you should especially make an effort, as your gift will be embraced by a welcoming community. You can even buy BomberLéo's EP and the BomberLéo & Friends compilation CD there, on request. Also, on the 1st of September come join me to check BomberLéo out at the ' Metro 54 Festival ' in Amsterdam. She'll be rockin' it out on the "Mind The Gap" stage. And if it's art you're into, then maybe her other new venture, Fabrique Artistique, may be of interest to you as well. It involves art, installation and decoration. As well as decorating some of Amsterdam's most reputable bars and events, it also includes an exhibition at ' Moods Coffee Corner
' in the Jordaan. Currently, Brechje Tromp is in the spotlight there, with some wonderful photography. Every 6 weeks the walls change and a new party is had! Well … thats enough from me, for now. I could write for ever about all the wonderful things that local creatives like BomberLéo are bringing to Amsterdam, but I need another cup of tea! So, ‘til next time, I leave with you with this… The One Woman Band took my head out of the sand and constantly continues to inspire me. Keep living the dream, for all our sakes. For further information on BombérLeo's music and events, visit… - blafbettytoo.wordpress.com - myspace.com/bomberleo - facebook.com/fabriqueartistique
Stay tuned for next month when we unearth a new local artist from our inspiring city. Dean Sadikot (Innit).
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RANTINGS FROM THE LONE RAVER
With half of the City still away on summer holidays and the outdoor party season in full swing, one could forgive the promoters of Amsterdam’s finest nights for having a little break of their own. But fear not my fellow ravers, there is still plenty on the agenda across the city's clubs, venues and parks.
Week 1 – Pride, Boat-Parties & Dance Valley
The first weekend of August is always a special one in Amsterdam with the annual Gay Pride festival happening across the city. The main Parade starts at 2pm on the Saturday and takes place along the Prinsengracht before heading out to the open waters of the Amstel and finishing up in Oosterdock. Into its 17th year, there is a whole host of parties on over the weekend with the cream of the crop being the Rapido event at Paradiso. But for me it's all about the street parties, so pack a bag and take a stroll ‘round town, taking in the Zeedijk, the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein to experience a party only rivaled by the legendary Queen’s Day. Another Dutch tradition takes place on the same day in the form of Dance Valley in Spaarnwoude, a beautiful nature reserve that is only a short bus ride out of town. Here, you’ll find a mind boggling array of artists doing their thing across 12 stages. The Dance valley crew has certainly covered all bases here with international superstars mixing with local talent. Its depth and variety make it impossible to single out the leading names without offending any of the other 200 or so acts on show, but personally I'll be looking forward to Sandwell Districts’ live performance while my hobbit friends (yes, fancy dress is the order of the day) will be looking on through their retro tinted glasses as Roger Sanchez takes to the main stage. Other stand out names include Shy FX, Ferry Corsten, The Crookers and Billy Nasty with this selection alone giving you an idea of the expansive range of acts and DJ's on display. A word of warning: if it’s raining be sure to take some wellies (gumboots, rainboots) as this place can get a little ‘Glastonbury’ on you very quickly (muddy as hell). Into the night and back behind the proverbial city walls, it is after parties galore as Silent Servant literally serves up a special dose of techno at the deceptively large Club Up. Vaitfest hold their post pride party ‘Dig’ in Space at Air with Larry T, while at Villa the White Rabbit folk are invited by Boefjes to continue the marathon that is their 20 hour party. Moving into Sunday you’ll find Nuno dos Santos taking to the captain’s table at Varen & Raven’s all day event on board the Boot 10 ship, which departs at 3pm behind Central Station for a 7 hour party up the IJ. These events are always good times.
Week 2 – House, Outdoor Festivals & After Parties
Friday night see's local house heroes Homework hitting up Paradiso to celebrate the release of their forthcoming EP "Confessing", on the 20/20 Vision label. The duo, who grew up together in this fine city of ours, have been on a steep upward curve for the past couple of years, having DJ’ed in some of the world’s finest clubs. Now it’s time for one of their biggest parties to date, back in their home town to welcome “Confessing” into the world. Joining the hosts will be one of the UK's hottest properties, Subb An, who has already had releases on Leftroom, BPitch Control and last year’s "Misleading", released by Crosstown Rebels. This is one not to be missed for house music lovers. Alternatively, head to Sugarfactory for a night of indierock, poptrash and electro from The Clap Initiative, where “off the wall” is the norm. Saturday gives us a little predicament as regards out-door party choice, as heavy weight Loveland goes up against the smaller and more intimate Gaasper Pleasure. The similarities are clear to see with both festivals set in beautiful parks on the outskirts of Amsterdam, both having absolute stellar line up's and both close to selling out as I write. The Loveland organization have put together a line-up worthy of the expected
20,000 revelers and they will be rolling out the red carpet for Sven Vath, Dubfire, Sasha, Martin Buttrich, Sander Kleinenberg and The Shapeshifters, as well as many more. On the other side of town Gaasper Pleasure heads into its 6th edition with a line up to excite any underground music lover with Tommy Four Seven, Marc Antona, Mark Henning, Boris Werner and Sandrien just the tip of the iceberg. The after party at Studio 80 looks like it will be pretty special too. For something altogether different, Level 1 at Pand 14 will be all about Grime, Bass, Dubstep and Hip Hop.
Week 3 – Mid-Week Techno, Cheeky Dubstep & 24 Hour Party People
As the usual talk in this column is normally confined to weekend excursions, I thought a look at Amsterdam's best weekly school night ‘tempters’ was in order. So we’ll take the long way ‘round and start on Tuesday with the ‘What is on your mind?’ regular at Korsakoff which provides an early-in-the-week dose of techno, and involves resident Dexon inviting local guests to showcase their talents. This includes free entrance and is open till 4am, so it’s not hard to be swayed. Wednesday offers more options with Black Box at Studio 80 offering up house of the deeper variety, while The Womb at Sugarfactory is open to all, with residents Kid Sublime and Wouda playing warm soulful house and disco. Thursday give us Air's offering, The Cookie Club, which has weekly guests that would do service to any Saturday night. Over at the Melkweg the Cable night also sees local and international guests playing Dubstep, Bass and Future Garage. While the weekend officially ends on Sunday, there is one way to prolong the party and it's Amsterdam's Drum and Bass Institute, Cheeky Monday's at the WInston Kingdom on Warmoesstraat. It is here, for the past 8 years, that those who are not quite sure of the boundaries between work and play have jumped up and gotten down to some of the biggest names on the scene, including residents Spud, INsom and Sinistah. The week's stand out night comes in the form of the 24 Hour Party People's occasional take-over of Studio 80, where Life and Death records co-founders Thugfucker are currently the only confirmed guests. However, if they were to play the full scheduled 11 hours, it would not be a disappointment to any attendee. Last year’s release Disco Gnome on the aforementioned label combines a relaxed house beat with a hypnotic synth rhythm throughout and a well used sample of Phiness's vocals from Naughty by Natures "Holiday" giving it top marks on the summer vibes scale. Studio 80 really comes into its own when it isn't restricted by the usual 5am closing time and this party has the potential to run well into Sunday. The atmosphere is one of the friendliest in the city and a place I really enjoy heading to on my own. But remember, as with most Amsterdam clubs, if you turn up too wasted entry will be tough.
Week 4 – Dockland Diversity & Delano Smith
So the final week of August is upon us and Friday throws up a few choices with a resident’s night at Air seeing Juan Sanchez taking to the controls and Jay Shepheard bringing his live set to ‘We are E’ at Studio 80 along with Dan Curtis and Bas Amro. However, the Saturday throws up one of the final and best outdoor parties of the year when Bart Skills invites us all to his Voltt Loves Summer event at NDSM docklands. Taking place a short ferry ride away in the disused docklands of Amsterdam North, the industrial wasteland is the perfect location for this celebration of Techno and the roster befits the setting. Bart has assembled a diverse mix of genres with Gaiser and Matthew Johnson representing the minimal sounds of Minus, with Cari Lekebusch bringing his tougher Swedish baselines into the mix and Glaswegian duo Slam performing a live set. Then add Monolake, Deadbeat, Pan Pot, Mathias Kaden and Raresh to the mixer and it becomes a more than fitting way to close out the month. However before we put on our slippers and light that pipe, there is one more very special day to be had for all you House connoisseurs, as the legend that is Delano Smith is brought to Amsterdam from Detroit by Les Enfants Terribles crew to play the small yet spectacular Canvas on the Sunday. This is a very intimate set so if you read this and got a little too excited, I would advise trying to get a ticket ASAP. Another preview of Amsterdam's finest comes to an end but of course it’s only the beginning. Enjoy the month ahead! I know I will.
THE WEEK 4 – DOCKLAND DIVERSITY AND DELANO SMITH
18 CLUBS & EVENTS PARADISO
WETERINGSCHANS 6 www.paradiso.nl
REMBRANDTPLEIN 17 www.studio80.nl
LIJNBAANSGRACHT 238 www.sugarfactory.nl
This place has been a church, a squat and a coffee-shop. These days it’s an awesome club venue with great acoustics, a liberal attitude to the consumption of soft drugs and a bar on the dance floor. Did we mention it used to be a church? You will find a wide variety of music and bands and a night to remember.
Amsterdam’s most ‘underground’ club is located on the neon-lit, touristic Rembrandtplein. The 300-capacity club has two areas and is where you will find cutting-edge electronic dance music, experimental techno, or experience one of its regular gay nights with some of Berlins edgiest DJs.
SF is located in Amsterdam’s clubbiest areas – Leidseplein square. Part of Sugar Factories website manifesto describes this club as – Artistic – Cultural – Progressive – Independent. That pretty much sums up what you can expect from a night here. On any given evening you could expect to see DJs, as well as bands, theatre, dance and even spoken word.
WEDNESDAY 1ST AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Line-up: Yarrr & Gay Liberté Time: 11:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤17.50
Line-up: Dj T. (Get Physical, DE), ONNO & Victor Coral (Presetone, NL) Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤13 (Online)
Line-up: DHerbalize It , Wicked Selectaz (Ras Sjamaan & Dj Spitfire), Lee 'royalee' Millah, Axel Savage & Dj Chaos Time: 00:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤12
Girlesque Gay Pride
New Babylon with Dj T.
Bam Bam meets Knockout!
THURSDAY 2ND AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
Line-up: DJ's and William Arnold. Time: 23:30 - 05:00 | Genre: Jazz, Soul, Funk | Price: ¤7
THURSDAY 9TH AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Line-up: David Labeij, Timstr aka Tim Avis Time: 23:00 - 03:30 | Price: ¤6
Line-up: Specker, David Labeij, Gideon Bouwens, Mulder Time: 00:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤10
SUNDAY 5TH AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
Line-up: DJ Dikky Vendetta, Fabio White, Giangi Cappai & Abel Time: 15:00 - 02:00 | Price: ¤45 (Online)
FRIDAY 10TH AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 10TH AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Line-up: Aron Friedman, Dennis Ferrer, Lilith, Sven Prinsen Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤14
Line-up: Aiscream, Fox & The Hound, Aangebrand DJ Team, The Stress, Sickboy Time: 23:59 - 05:00 | Price: ¤11
SATURDAY 11TH AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 24TH AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
Line-up: Carita La Nina, Eke Evi, Lady Bee, Gabi Time: 00:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤10
SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
Aandachtstrekker! - 1 Year Anniversary
Line-up: Yellow Claw, Kid Q, FS Green, Lady Bee, Cinnaman, MC V.I. Time: 00:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤15
We Are E W/ Jay Shepheard (Live)
Line-up: Jay Shepheard - Live (Retrofit/compost), Dan Curtin (Mobilee), Bas Amro Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤15
THURSDAY 16TH AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Zonsverduistering @ Helix
Line-up: Bojcot Selectah, The Kinetic Movement, Smiles Time: 00:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤6
SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
THURSDAY 23RD AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Line-up: Mystery Guests Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤14
Line-up: BAbstract Ekte, Chaze , Glenn S & Mc Tjek Time: 23:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤15
Flashy Abstract Presents
FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST , CLUB PARADISO PRESENTS:
Line-up: Nozinja, Tshetsha Boys & Tiyiselani Vomaseve Nkata Mawewe Time: 23.30 - 05.00 | Price: ¤5
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.paradiso.nl
FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST , STUDIO 80 PRESENTS:
SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST , SUGAR FACTORY PRESENTS:
Line-up: Michel de Hey, kINK (Live), Kaspar Noe Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤12.50
Line-up: Tom Hades, Kevin Arnemann, Paul Laurens, Live Visser Time: 00:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤12.50
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.studio80.nl
Junction Invites Kranck
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.sugarfactory.nl
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REMBRANDTPLEIN 11 www.escape.nl
AMSTELSTRAAT 24 www.air.nl
KORTE LEIDSEDWARSSTRAAT 18 www.jimmywoo.nl
Escape is known to use a wide variety of multimedia effects which has led it to be branded the most versatile club in Amsterdam. This place is very trendy and very popular so expect a line and dress nice. Inside you will find a lot of different areas with a variety of music.
Large but intimate with several different areas in a flexible layout. Air has been custom designed from the ground up by Marcel Wanders and the state of the art sound and lighting system has won international awards. If you add the novelties’ like electronic lockers and a fully automated bar system you have a club experience you won’t forget.
Jimmy Woo is easily the most exclusive club in Amsterdam, they have won almost every clubbing award Europe has to offer. This is the place to see and be seen in Amsterdam and if you can get through the door you will not be disappointed. The style of music varies greatly, depending on the night, from R&B, to Disco, Soul & Funk.
FRIDAY 2ND AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
SUNDAY 5TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS:
Line-up: C6, Marc Benjamin, VJ: Joury Time: 23:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤10
Line-up: AIR 1 - Skip&Die, When Harry Met Sally, Doppelgang, The G-Team AIR 2 - De Flikkerklup, Ted Langenbach, Aiscream Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤13
Line-up: TBA (www.jimmywoo.com) Time: 23:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤10
Supertoys Invites Rumour Has It
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
THURSDAY 9TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS:
Abstract For President
SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
Line-up: Raymundo, Gabriel & Castellon, Birkelund (DK), VJ/LJ Joury, Saxy Mr S, Mc Irma Derby, Kazzikasz, Eclectic Urban Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤16
Diggs in Space
Line-up: LarryTee, BartBMore, Broekjevol & Bloesjevol , MissBunty Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤20
Line-up: Abstract, Godenzonen, MC V.I. Time: 23:00 - 03:00 | Price: ¤12
FRIDAY 10TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS: SATURDAY 11TH AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 10TH AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
Line-up: Raymundo, Frederik Abas, Saxy mr S on Sax, VJ/LJ Joury, MC Miss Bunty, Eclectic Urban Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤16
Line-up: Warren Fellow, Secret Cinema, Quentin van Honk Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤13
Format: Juan Sanchez Invites
Brothers Beach House
Line-up: Audiophox, Dannic, Eric Witlox, Mucho Time: 23:00 - 03:45 | Price: ¤10
F*cking Pop Queers
Dimitri & Adam Port
Line-up: Adam Port (Keinemusic, DE), Dimitri, Makam Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤12.50
The Flexican Society
Defected In The House
Line-up: Brian Chundro & Santos Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Tickets: www.escape.nl
Line-up: 2000andone, Franky Rizardo, Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Tickets: www.air.nl
Guess Woo's Back
Air Family Night
Line-up: Frederik Abas, Joshua Walter, Costar, Joury Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤16
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.escape.nl
Line-up: The Flexican, MC Sef Time: 23:00 - 03:00 | Price: ¤12
SATURDAY 11TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS: FRIDAY 24TH AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
SATURDAY 25TH AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
Line-up: Yuki, DIGM, Davy V. Time: 23:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤12.50
THURSDAY 16TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS: SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
FRIDAY 24TH AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
Line-up: Kid Q, Weslo, Mr VI Time: 23:00 - 04:00 | Price: ¤15
SATURDAY 11TH AUGUST , JIMMY WOO PRESENTS: FRIDAY 17TH AUGUST , CLUB AIR PRESENTS:
SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST , CLUB ESCAPE PRESENTS:
Line-up: Juan Sanchez, Ferro, Prunk, Homework, Tettero, Rubix, Quinten 909, Lars Vegas Time: 23:00 - 05:00 | Price: ¤10
Line-up: TBA (www.jimmywoo.com) A very new concept that will be taking place every 5th Thursday of the month, which comes down to 4 nights a year! Time: 23:00 - 03:00 | Price: ¤12
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.air.nl
FOR MORE INFO VISIT www.jimmywoo.nl
20 STAGE & SCREEN
KEEP AN ‘EYE' OUT! I
cultural enhancement. These artists included Bert Haanstra and Herman van der Horst, contemporaries who led the ‘Dutch Documentary School’ movement – a style known for featuring human beings as metaphors, and which held its own on the international documentary scene. This resulted in Dutch success in major industry awards such as Cannes and an Academy Award nomination. The legacy of this movement can be found in the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, one of the industry’s biggest events and held annually in November. The Dutch film industry has a well entrenched heritage which, In the 66 years since the foundation of the Dutch Historic thanks to the EYE institute, is now available to everybody. Film Archive, there has been a concerted effort to collect, n 1895 cinematography was born in Paris. The production maintain, restore and display the Dutch film heritage. In 2009, of L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat, by brothers this effort was solidified between the four big film archives. August and Louis Lumière, would kick of the French film The result is the new EYE Film Institute, an architecturally eyeindustry and, in turn, those later behemoths Hollywood catching, and ground breaking new attraction on the north side and Bollywood. However, it also kicked off the Dutch film of the Ij Harbour. The EYE has over 62,000 kilometres of reel. This amounts industry, which became an early player with the 1896 release of Gestoorde Hengelaar (The Mad Angler) by M.H Laddé. While to around 37,000 Dutch and International films – a collection the Dutch industry would never match the size of its French, that is constantly growing and is supplemented by over 700,000 American and Indian counterparts, it has, however, had its film-related photos and cards, and 60,000 posters. Indeed, the periods in the sun, thrived on an international scale and left us EYE is the embodiment of the years of hard work that has been put into preserving and maintaining this important contributor with a Dutch film heritage to be proud of. In 1946 the Dutch Historic Film Archive was founded, and to Dutch cultural heritage. The new and attention-grabbing building, which was set about collecting works from before the war. It is thanks to this establishment that we still have access to such classic titles designed by Viennese firm Delugan Meissl, is the only museum as The Misadventure of a French Gentleman Without Pants at in the Netherlands specifically dedicated to film and the the Zandvoort Beach, which was released in 1905 (giving film- moving image. It was opened in the first week of April, and features four film theatres, exhibition space, workrooms, filmmaking possibly the greatest title ever conceived). In fact, the era from before 1946 had already seen two labs and a cafe. The combination of this new-age building, boom periods for Dutch film. During WWI the Netherlands alongside the huge and internationally heralded collection, had been a hub of cinematic activity. As a neutral country invites the general public to explore this world of film in a way that wasn’t involved in the war, Dutch production companies not previously possible in Amsterdam. The EYE pays homage to produced a plethora of feature films. When the Nazis came to the world of film in the best possible way, by allowing the public power in Germany in the 1930s, another boom period resulted to experience that world to its greatest depths. As such, it is an as many German film-makers fled to Holland to escape artistic addition to Amsterdam of which the city and the public can be proud for many years to come. oppression. Documentary production has also always been a strong AmsterDo asset to the Dutch film tradition. In the 1950s, a range of For more information or artists began to benefit from the Dutch Film Fund, dedicated the August schedule visit www.eyefilm.nl to making documentary production a priority in regard to
THROUGH THE EYES OF A FILM LOVER
AmsterDO’s new film-mad specialist, Jaime Menchén López, unravels the world of Amsterdam cinema, and provides his hottest tips for submerging oneself in this vibrant local scene.
hen I moved to Amsterdam from Madrid a year ago, I didn’t expect that I would rediscover the experience of going to the movies in my new city. I love watching films in theatres and, moreover, I love the act of going to see a movie, which I’ve been doing for more than 20 years now in different countries. And yet going to the movies in Amsterdam, as it happens with many other things in this fabulous city, is altogether something different. What makes going to the films so special in this city is the big network of art house theatres scattered all around the place, and the stimulating, unpretentious programmes that run in these and other venues. Compared to Madrid, where most of the art house theatres look like multiplex cinemas, Amsterdam feels like a refreshing step back in time. There are around a dozen of these cinemas in Amsterdam. Most of them are cosy, pleasant places with a nice café, but there are at least three that stand out for their history and unique character: The Movies, De Uitkijk and Kriterion. The Movies and De Uitkijk vie for the honour of being the oldest cinema in Amsterdam, both around a century old. The interior of The Movies displays a beautiful, old-fashioned café and restaurant, while De Uitkijk, being more modest, looms large for its small yet stunning building.
Kriterion, for its part, is a student-run cinema that has been working since the end of World War II. Its big, high-ceiling bar with affordable prices is, in its own right, worth making a visit to. It hosts many events, amongst which is the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, Imagine, which takes place in April. On top of that, this year has seen the opening of the new building for the cinematheque and the film archive, The Eye; a wonderful space that has exceeded all expectations. Then, there are the movie listings, which may be not as extensive as in Madrid or London but can aptly fill the needs of the regular film-goer. In addition to the August premieres, which include the indie flick Meek’s Cutoff (9 August) and Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (23 August), the spectator can watch rereleases of films such as Leningrad Cowboys Go America (Aki Kaurismaki, 1989) or Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008) in unusual locations (check filmhuiscavia.nl). You can revisit The Lord of the Rings trilogy at Kriterion (2, 9 and 16 August) or check the best films of 2011 according to The Movies (including Black Swan, Drive and A Separation). And, of course, keep an eye on the broad program of The Eye, which includes both French and Dutch classics, as well as the exhibited Stanley Kubrick collection. More inclined to blockbusters? Well, that’s covered by the Pathé cinemas which, among others, boast a beautiful building close to the Leidseplein (Pathé City) and, more remarkably, the gorgeous Pathé Tuschinski; a 1921 art deco theatre with a really impressive main auditorium, now showing The Dark Knight Rises. A last tip: check the website www.cineville.nl for a comprehensive agenda and a really fair monthly subscription to watch any movie in 13 art house theaters, including The Eye.
Jaime Menchén López is passionate about all types of films, from Murnau’s ‘Sunrise’ to anything made by Fritz Lang to some of the Coen brothers films. The most recent film he feels very impressed by is ‘Take Shelter’. He is in the process of learning Dutch in order to, amongst other things, be able to read subtitles. He’ll be writing about movies in AmsterDO in addition to his blog jaimemenchen. wordpress.com and UA magazine (united-academics.org/ magazine).
THAT DAM TECH
PEELING BACK THE “LAYARS"...
equivalent of Layar, allowing its user base to add their own media, text, images and 3D objects to magazines, posters, beer coasters, and any other image, by simply scanning them with a smartphone. Think of it as AR graffiti, by which anyone with a smart-phone can access your vandalisations. It also serves as a cross-pollination of social networks that allows users to connect by discovering, liking, sharing and commenting on interesting posts.
“With Stiktu we really put the power of augmented reality in the hands of the people. I truly believe that this is the most innovative app currently available in any app store. Stiktu opens tremendous new possibilities to interact with the physical world around us. At Layar, we want to democratise space and Stiktu is the app to help us reach that mission.” - Raimo van der Klein, co-founder of Layar
In this section we will be focusing on the various technology and creative media agencies based here in Amsterdam. Each month we will shine the spotlight upon a different start-up that has either firmly established its roots here, or is a fledgling seed company that is catching the attention of the tech scene in Amsterdam.
o kick it all off, it may not be a huge surprise that we will let our friends at Layar take the soapbox this month. Layar is an industry-leading company at the forefront of the rapidly emerging medium of Augmented Reality (AR). AR is a way of viewing digital information that has been superimposed, or augmented, onto a live real-time view of the physical, real-world environment around you.
So what exactly does it mean to augment reality? Essentially, you can view reality as a wide spectrum; with the (analogue) real world at one end and the (digital) virtual space at the other. In between lays a metaphorical grey area of mixed reality - an enhanced world that is both familiar yet strange. With the popularisation of smart-phones, there is a concurrent trend to use these devices as a window to this digital universe. As well as virtual objects and content being added to the field of view, there can also be elements of a diminished reality, whereby objects are effectively erased from sight, which can have useful applications for de-cluttering a perspective that can be obscured by unnecessary distractions. Essentially, AR allows the user to see through walls and opaque objects, as well as to add relevant contextual information to the users’ view of the real world around them. This concept is far from new, nor that futuristic, especially when you consider how AR has already seeped into the public consciousness via various forms of traditional media. If you watch sports on the television, you will see the scores and times overlaid onto the live TV feed. Another, perhaps less obvious example is when the advertising boards and features of the play area are overlaid with dynamic computer graphic advertising, translated and specified according to the location of the viewer. Additionally, popular culture has embraced cult films such as The Terminator, Predator and a host of others that demonstrate how augmenting the field of view can give a competitive advantage on the battle field (by combining maps, points of interest, thermal vision, location, orientation and navigation aids etc.) Similarly, films such as Minority Report, Mission Impossible and James Bond illustrate the use of targeted advertising, tangible user interfaces and voice/user recognition that sit as siblings to the all embracing field of AR. When you put this technology into a head mounted display (HMD), effectively projecting digital content within the users field of view via eyeglasses and leaving the user’s hands free to interact with real and virtual objects, AR is taken to a whole new level, with applications ranging from military use, to surgical/ medical, tele-operation, archaeological reconstruction and the aerospace industries. ‘Project Glass’, from the monolithic Google, should continue in paving a way for a wider AR user-base and greater application of this technology by producing a consumer focused device that is both affordable and robust. In addition to handheld and head mounted AR, there are head up displays (HUD) that have been implemented in military vehicles for years, but are only now becoming commonplace in today’s cars, with prestige model Audi’s and BMW’s showing dashboard elements within the windscreen, minimising the requirement for the driver to look down. So, where does Layar fit into all of this? Layar intends on making the print world clickable. By utilising the already existing physical infrastructure of printed materials, publishers and advertisers can quickly and easily activate their static print pages with digital experiences. In an age where online consumption is skyrocketing, print publications must find a way to communicate with their readers in new and interactive ways to maintain relevance in this digital habitat. Layar manages to merge the online and offline worlds, raising new levels of user engagement to a previously one-way conversation.
1. Go to get.layar.com to install the app on your smart phone.
2. Look for pages and content with the Layar Logo
3. Open the app and press the ‘Tap to view’ button...
4. ...and discover an amazing extra layer of content.
Stiktu in Action Buzzwords like ‘web 3.0’, ‘cross media’ and ‘user engagement’ have been bandied around for some time now, without anyone really nailing down an accurate and complete definition, but it seems that the missing link has arrived in terms of a practical application that can truly traverse the analoguedigital divide. With Layars’ creator tool, the print industry has been empowered, in not only raising public awareness of the technology, but in finding the killer application, whereby the general public have a tangible reference point for how this technology can be useful and relevant to them in their daily lives. Layar now averages over one million downloads per month, twenty three million in total, and having attracted over sixteen million USD in funding since its inception in 2009, no one can argue that these guys aren’t firmly placed as the market leaders, and justifiably the self proclaimed ‘hero’s of interactive print’. In addition to the creator tool, Layar have just released a new and free mobile application that allows users to remix the real world. ‘Stiktu’ allows users to leave digital messages on real life objects and is designed to be the social / user-generated
Don't get me wrong, it will be at least 3-5 years before AR reaches any kind of critical mass, or has enough momentum for industries to embrace this technology wholeheartedly. On a personal note, I have been involved in the AR community since studying for my PhD in 2003 and have been eagerly looking forward to the ‘knock-out’ AR application. In waiting for the technological platforms to play catch up, and the coding gods (aka monkey’s) to build me a usable tool whereby I don’t have to directly communicate with the many gyroscopes, accelerometers, cameras and other (very useful) bullsh!t that is packed into modern smart-phones, I have had a lot of time to contemplate how to apply this technology to everyday-life and specialist contexts. Having a creator tool that talks my language (i.e. human) is essential, and facilitates the creation and publishing of AR experiences and campaigns, by allowing these to be created in a matter of minutes as opposed to months. It is a creator tool that has really pushed the evolutionary accelerator button and opened the floodgates to an untold amount of creativity and (literally!) limitless possibilities. So far, Layar sits firmly at the forefront of this pursuit. Like a phoenix from the ashes, I firmly believe AR will be as omnipresent to tomorrow’s society as Facebook is today... not just yet, but thanks to Layar; very, very soon. David van Dahl, AmsterDO
ProjectGlass in Action
SEX, DRUGS & DUTCH POLITICS
The Netherlands…the land of sex and drugs? How did the Netherlands get this image? And what did Dutch politics have to do with it?
utch politician Boris van der Ham has just published a book called De Vrije Moraals (Free Morals), all about the history of legislation concerning sex, drugs and alcohol in the Netherlands. In researching this book, he has scoured transcripts from political and social debates in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and, in doing so, has dug up some interesting historical inconsistencies. When Van der Ham was young he travelled throughout Europe. In doing so, he was confronted with the preconceptions other Europeans had of the Netherlands. “It’s an amazing country, no freaking morals!” someone said to him. This was flattering, in a way, but it also made him feel a bit uncomfortable. No morals? That’s not really what the Netherlands is like. The Dutch don’t live like rock stars, most have very normal lives without really strange sexual lives or any drug habits. Should the Dutch therefore be proud of their image? Van der Ham also shows how the image of the Netherlands in the United States has made a 180 degree switch over the last hundred years. Now, American TV-anchors and politicians like Cal Thomas, Bill O’Reilly and Rick Santorum, like to paint the Netherlands as a devilish country, something America should never strive for. But one-hundred years ago the Dutch were known for their tidiness, piousness and diligence. American school books were decorated with drawings of exemplary Dutch scenes; something American should strive for. Another interesting inconsistency is that most people think that back in those days all laws were very strict and that this strict block of rules only started to be stripped down in
the sixties. But that isn’t actually the case. Most laws that were stripped down in the sixties, such as birth control, abortion etcetera, actually only dated from a few decades before. Until the end of the 19th century the Netherlands actually had very loose laws concerning, sex, drugs and alcohol. These ‘loose’ laws were based on the code pénal instated by Napoleon in the beginning of the 19th century. They were based on the fact that church and state were to be separated and that; therefore, religious attitudes should not be reflected in the law. Not until the beginning of the 20th century did this start to change, only to be changed again during the sexual revolution of the sixties and seventies. Many people also think that the government must have been strictly against the production of drugs throughout history, only to alleviate some laws concerning cannabis during the seventies. But this too is not the case. The Netherlands was actually very much in favour of drugs like cocaine and derivatives of opium before the Second World War. Why? It’s all about the money. The Netherlands played a significant role in the trade of cocaine from their colony in the East Indies, now called Indonesia. In 1900 the Netherlands even founded a cocaine factory! Meanwhile the United States were starting on the path that would lead to their ‘war on drugs’, but none of the European partners were very interested in joining this fight, as they had colonies that produced these drugs and didn’t want to lose the revenues won by this. Not until after the Second World War, when the Netherlands lost their colony Indonesia, did they change their mind and chime in with the US on the importance of fighting drugs. This was not only because of the loss of Indonesia, but also because they were yearning for American Marshall Aid, and knew they needed to adhere to US policy in order to get their share. Indeed, all about the money. But the historical inconsistencies don’t stop there. In many debates held in the Dutch parliament about a century ago it was continuously stressed that the introduction of birth control to the market was absolutely out of the question. No way would that ever happen! Subjects such as homosexuality, pornography, drugs and alcohol led to much less emotional debates than the issue of birth control, and it seemed to be a relentless taboo. Nevertheless, in the sixties, this was the first issue that succumbed to the demands of the sexual revolution. After going through the most interesting political debates
on sex, alcohol and drugs throughout the years, De Vrije Moraals continues with a contemporary philosophical discussion on free morals. The most important questions are: When is a person really free? Are you really free when you are addicted to drugs? Or are you then a slave to your addiction? But shouldn’t you also have the right to run risks? Should the government really make their country fool-proof? And even if they should do so, can the government ever save their people from harm? Isn’t it the most important that people are educated enough to make their own decisions? But even then, don’t certain groups of society run more risk than others warranting extra protection? Should youngsters receive extra protection? And if so, which age should be chosen? The list of questions goes on and on and Van der Ham answers these questions thoroughly. But in the end the most important answer is: keep on asking questions and keep your eyes wide open. It isn’t about ideological blindness or about shrugging your shoulders at abuse. Having free morals isn’t easy, as you need to be critical of these morals at all times.
Sanne van Oosten, www.bloggerswithoutborders.com
THE DAM REGULARS
If you are looking for an event a little off the beaten track – Look no further. Check out the ‘Dam Regulars’ for some real local events and a chance to mingle with some like minded people.
Comedy Workshop @ CREA Café
Cultural student centre for the University of Amsterdam Time: 15:00 | Location: Nieuwe Achtergracht 170 | Price: ¤30 for 4 work-shops EVERY MONDAY
Okido Yoga: Training for health, strength and mobility @ OT301
Famous squat which contributes immensely towards community activities. Check out their program! ¤12 EVERY TUESDAY
Open Mic Night @ Jet Lounge
Great venue, great vibe and totally acoustic. Get there early to put your name on the list Time: 21:00 | Location: Groen van Prinstererstraat 41 EVERY THURSDAY
Salsa Dancing Night
Local Latin Night Time: 21:00-01:00 | Location: Klonneplein 4-6 | Price: Free EVERY SATURDAY
Organic Farmers Market
Organic Local Produce Time: 9:00-16:00 | Location: Noordermarkt, De Jordaan EVERY SUNDAY
Nude Swimming @ Zuiderbad
Not for everyone, but if you’re into it, well here it is, strip of a few layers and jump in! Time: 16:30-17:30 | Location: Hobbemastraat 26 | Price: ¤3.30 EVERY MONDAY
Sophie’s Quiz Night @ Café Thijssen
All questions are in English too! You can reserve a table on the facebook site ‘Café Thijssen’ Time: 20:00 | Location: Brouwersgracht 107 | Price: ¤2.50 p.p 1ST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH
Hard Rock Karaoke! @ Pakhuis Wilhelmina Super trendy venue Time: 20:00 | Location: Veemdkade 576 | Price: ¤5 EVERY MONDAY
Drag Bingo @ The Queen’s Head Pub
A night which everybody should experience at least once, if not regularly! Time: 22:00-03:00 | Location: Zeedijk 20 | Price: ¤2.50 EVERY MONDAY
Sneak Preview @ Kriterion Movie Theatre Locally famous student-run theatre Time: 22:15 | Location: Roetersstraat 170 | Price: ¤5
Have you got a small local event or activity and want to let people know? Send us an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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