An Education in Amsterdam
As everyone who has travelled knows, a great way to get to know the local area is by tagging along with someone who has a vague idea of what they’re doing. So it was with a recent trip I myself made to the city of Amsterdam. Though undeniably a great destination, it is very easy in Amsterdam to find yourself battling through hordes of foreign tourists: some areas feature so many American and British accents it’s a wonder there’s anyone left in the English speaking world. I was lucky enough to be meeting a close friend from home who had spent the previous 6 months in the Netherlands as a student; my clueless tourist bungling was therefore kept to a minimum (though I was temporarily lost after getting on the wrong train at the airport).
I saw very little of the city centre itself, thus avoiding the stag dos (bachelor parties) and hookers. Instead, I was taken by my friend to a dilapidated school building on the edge of town. The area was quiet, residential, not particularly well looked after and the absolute last place one might consider there to be a nightlife. Where were all the things Amsterdam was famed for I wondered? I was about to find out. Turns out someone had the bright idea of whacking a sound system and bar into this drafty, old, probably should have been torn down years ago school building and turning it nightclub with a difference. At this place, we spent numerous hours in revelry, enjoying the local ‘culture’. Though the details are somewhat scattered, it is safe to say that many inhibitions and much dignity were lost.
Opening in January of 2016 ‘De School’ as it is known, places an emphasis on hosting local music acts, and is ideal for some seriously authentic disco dancing. As far as I could tell, almost everybody in the place was Dutch; local 20 somethings partying in their own city away from the tourist trappings of the centre. While primarily a club, the site also has a concert venue, a restaurant, a café and an exhibition space for when you’re feeling more sedate. It’s the kind of venue where, if you don’t know it exists, you’ll never find it, and highlights the usefulness of travelling with someone who has prior knowledge of the area.
After leaving sweat, blood and a fair few brain cells on the dance floor, I traipsed out the next morning pondering the most surreal day at school in my life. Though a little worse for wear, I’ll wager I met far more locals and spent far less money than I would have done had we not known where we were going and headed straight for the Amsterdam’s centre. It was a night to be remembered for the right reasons, and that, as a traveller, is all you can ask for.
Check out the venue here: http://www.deschoolamsterdam.nl/en/