Last year, Pakhuis de Zwijger started a new programme series ‘Amsterdam Stories’ to showcase all the diverse stories that shape Amsterdam. In Amsterdam Stories it is al about ‘remixing’ and breaking the disciplinary boundaries of storytelling; combining music with cinematography, photography, or poetry. It is both about the medium and the content. What does Amsterdam mean to the makers? A night of exchanging diasporic stories about the feeling of home, love, trauma, nostalgia, and everyday wonder. Look back and forward to all of the stories and inspiring artists that have joined and will be coming up this year!

MC Lost: Als ik niet in Amsterdam woonde…

The first edition of ‘Amsterdam Stories’ was organised in collaboration with MC Lost. An important aspect in Amsterdam Stories is highlighting and respecting the diversity of language. Every edition is catered around the language the artists feels the most comfortable with to express themselves in. During this edition, MC Lost shared poetry from his book Als ik niet in Amsterdam woonde zou ik er elke vakantie naar toe gaan (If I didn’t live in Amsterdam I would travel there every holiday). This book is also an extension of MC lost’s album FASES. Fases tells the story of MC Lost, a musical documentation of a boy growing up to a man in the big city, Amsterdam. The story is told from a nostalgic perspective – things that have been and are to come. Like a true polyglot of artistic expression, MC lost performed poetry, music, and also shared a teaser of an autographic short film he has been working on. During this programme, MC Lost invited people from his community that inspired him and together they exchanged experiences of their own creative journey, providing tips for other young creatives about producing, publishing, and entrepreneurship.

Watch back the episode here.

© Pakhuis de Zwijger, pictures by Rosa-Lynn van den Berg

De Helende Kracht van Storytelling (The Healing Power of Storytelling)

The second edition of ‘Amsterdam Stories’ was organised in collaboration with Thrive Amsterdam in honour of Mental health week Amsterdam. During this evening, it was all about exchanging stories about connection and mental health. With contributions from writer and musician Aafke Romeijn, entrepreneur and musician Des Balentien, and spoken-word artist Nourddin Douhdouh. All of them gave a piece of themselves in vulnerable performances about the meaning of mental health in their personal lives. Afterwards Host Jennifer Muntslag talked to them about the meaning and healing power of storytelling when it comes to mental health and connection.

Take a look at the performances and conversation here.

© Pakhuis de Zwijger, pictures by Rosa-Lynn van den Berg


In November we organised a storytelling night, EP (extended playlist) launch, and listening party with NIÑO DIVINO. A persona created by conceptual emerging artist Darwin Winklaar. Through the compilation of six songs from which all six of them will be represented in music films, he retold the story of his childhood memories and the domestic religious habits of the women who raised him. ANEMOIA represents nostalgia for a time never known. Acknowledging what happens behind closed doors; Aruba’s domestic realm and working class situation and the influence of machismo in the culture. And however detrimental that may be the empowerment encountered by embodying the feminine energy through queer representation. During this evening NIÑO DIVINO launched ‘ANEMOIA’ and took us on the journey of making the EP, celebrating the many nostalgic and untold stories that shape the Aruban reality. This programme was also about highlighting how stories are diasporic, linking Aruba with the Caribbean community in Amsterdam. The night ended with a party in the bar with music from DJ ESSOVILLA!

Take a look at the launch of ANEMOIA here.

© Pakhuis de Zwijger, pictures by Rosa-Lynn van den Berg

Truth & Other Stories

We ended 2022, with a storytelling night mixed with poetry and music linked to the theme of ‘Truth & Other Stories’. This was organised in collaboration with poet & community organiser Leslie Browne. All of the artists explored their idea of truth in their performance. The evening was opened by Bomberleo a.k.a the one woman band, juggling a guitar, while playing a harmonica and singing. Kiddo Cee joined Bomberleo with rhythmic raps. Leslie Browne shared beautiful poems, accompanied with paintings linked to the poems. Afterwards, Benjamin Fro shared songs about darkness, light, and hope. All performers also joined a dialogue with the audience about the meaning of truth in their work. It all came down to moving away of the idea that there is one truth, moving from a place of honesty instead. We ended a night with soulful music performed with a loop station by OTION and spoken word by Sharrif Simmons.

Watch back ‘Truth & other Stories here.

What’s next?

Join us for another year of exchanging inspiring stories! For the first edition of 2023 on Friday 20 January ‘Tracing Tales of Caribbean Spirituality’ we’ll explore the (hi)stories and folktales of Caribbean spirituality and healing rituals. How has spirituality, magic-realism, and folktales shaped Caribbean identity and culture? And how does it affect the Caribbean diaspora in the Netherlands? We’ll mainly focus on visual forms of storytelling with Loëlle Monsanto (Sranan Folktales), Lisandro Suriel (Ghost Island), and Justin Reinir Croes (RUCU).

Join us and reserve for free through this link!