“If you’d asked me if I would wait 5 hours in line for ‘De School’ closing, I would have told you resoundly NO! The longest I’d waited for a club was 1 hr 45 another January in Berlin. By the time we’d entered, our bodies were so stiff with the anxiety of the door policy and the bitter cold squeezing our shoulders, I could hardly even dance. I spent the night talking to a random Swiss man to practice my German and left at 7am wondering what I had done it all for. But that was before and now it was different, I was different.”

This is how on Friday 2 February, the Night Culture Nieuw-West event begins with the story of Willow Sommer about anxiety and control. Clubbing – maybe not everyone knows it – offers a safe space to find healing and release from these destructive and distorting modes of being.

Subsequently, under the guidance of the moderator Souhayla Ou-Oumar we took a moment to think about what clubbing means to us. What images come to mind when we say this word and, when was the last time in which we were dancing. The vibes, the music, the way you were dressed. Clubs are places to release, contrary to popular belief they provide a safe space, a meditative space, a collaborative space. On the dance floor, we can be truly ourselves, or any shade of ourselves.

This night emerged out of a series of roundtables held between different night culture venues in this area of Amsterdam. These roundtables were born out of the project of Manuela Piccolo (ed article’s author), who was interning at New Metropolis Nieuw-West. She is a researcher and club-goer herself and was very much interested in the topic of clubbing and night culture in Amsterdam Nieuw-West; consequently, the first roundtable conversation was born. During these conversations, the representatives of clubs in this area exchanged their experiences and common struggles and it soon became clear that there was a need to put this on paper and collaborate on working towards a joint Manifesto about Night Culture in Nieuw-West.

This Manifesto adds on to the current ‘Night Vision’ about the whole of Amsterdam. Here is the following list of the people and clubs that worked together in these roundtable sessions: stichting Nachtburgemeester Amsterdam, Ruigoord, Lo-fi, Club Raum, De Sering, Bar Multipla, ISO, MOVA, Bret, Radion and the municipality (represented by Peter Both & Fouad Lakbir).

Following are some highlights from the Manifesto

Nieuw-West is Amsterdam’s largest urban district. One of the few places where the fray can still be found and exploited used. In a city where space is increasingly scarce, a few pioneers are making room. Sheds, garages and old school buildings where no developers will be given a face again. Night culture gives the fray light, sound and warmth again. New-West is a place for more and more Amsterdammers to come together. Thanks in part to the pioneers united in this manifesto.

More about the project

Night Culture Nieuw-West is a new collaborative experience between all the clubs located in the area of Nieuw-West. A series of round tables that we are holding to exchange ideas and experiences, to build a community of night in our neighbourhood. All the initiatives are a tribute to Night Culture.