Arnhem: Amsterdam’s Underground Alternative
When one thinks of Dutch nightlife, Amsterdam is the city most likely to come to mind. However, there are more places in Holland with a booming house and techno scene.
Take for example the city of Arnhem. In recent years, it developed itself from dormant and quiet to a city that enlists organizations such as 8Bahn, Free Your Mind, Studio Sonsbeek and ABSTRACT as active participants in showing the world that Arnhem also has a party mentality. A change that hasn’t gone unnoticed. In August 2017, Electronic Beats was the first to release an article featuring photo’s taken inside some of Arnhem’s most notorious rave parties. Now it’s time to let those photo’s get a voice and speak to those involved.
Pascal Rietman, co-owner of 8Bahn, confirms the shift Arnhem has made, when talking about the history of the organization. “When we started out ten years ago, we wanted to go to Arnhem. Mainly because there wasn’t a lot to do yet in the field of house and techno. In Amsterdam you had Club 11, in Utrecht there was Poema and Rotterdam harbored Maassilo, but Arnhem didn’t have anything except for Free Your Mind Festival. That’s why our first parties weren’t even held in Arn-hem, but organized in Wageningen instead. Our first party in Arnhem finally came about when Luxor re-opened after ten years.”
Since then a lot of new Arnhem-based techno and house collectives came and went. A process that Naim de Vries, initiator of the new Luxor Live club night ABSTRACT, has his own views on: “I honestly think that they were set up too soon for Arnhemmers to really catch on. The audience here first need to get used to an event or music genre before they’ll get excited enough to come out. For me it has taken a year and five events to get to the point that people are finally starting to come back and spread the word.” When talking to seasoned Arnhem clubkid Suul Kahveci, she concludes the same when expressing her discontent for the lack of real underground techno in Arnhem. “It’s a real pity that organizations such as New Dutch School and Compass didn’t last in Arnhem for it has negatively affected it’s techno culture”. She goes on to say that “if a DJ like Dave Clarke is in Luxor, the room is overcrowded with techno loving fortysomethings, but I never see those people at events like ABSTRACT”. The same sentiment is shared by Rietman. “In Arnhem there is a huge gap between the older crowd who likes the 90’s techno sound and the young ravers”. That begs the question where the millennial ravers have stashed themselves. With a cheeky smile on her face Suul informs us that next to the events of 8Bahn and ABSTRACT, “there are still a lot of other (and sometimes illegal) raves being organized”. Naim names a few such as Ketned, Knock on Wood, 8bit and Work Them. He highlights one called Zuurstof, “Everyone has got their eye on them.”
Want to experience the scene for yourself? On Kingsnight & day, 8Bahn will be hosting se-veral events in Musispark and Luxor Live with killer line-ups consisting of artists such as Konstantin Sibold, Beesmunt Soundsystem, Moody Mehran, David Vunk, Cinnaman and Bambounou. The Kingsnight event still holds some late tickets, but the admission for the day events is free. The same goes for Free Your Mind’s first ever Kingsday event, which will be held at Roermondsplein and has a slightly more conventional line-up consisting of De Sluwe Vos, Tommy Four Seven and Extrawelt. Already occupied on Kingsnight and day? ABSTRACT has got you covered! On the 26th of May Abstract Division are on the menu in Luxor and they’ll be banging out techno all night long.
– Nina de Koning