Be-Mag Amsterdam Week: Play your Cards right! – The definitive Amsterdam spot guide

Written by Gijs Peetsold
Photography by Remy Cadier, Bojd Vredevoogd, Dominic Swagemakers, Roel Verhoeven, Liedjevoordegek, Maarten de Ru, Rick the Dick from Ho Land & Maarten Vos

Here’s what we’ve done. We’ve taken 52 of Amsterdam’s best spots and valued them like playing cards. The system is simple enough even for you to understand. Spots that suck rank low. Spots that rock rank high. In general Clover is parks and everything remotely park-ey. Hearts are spots with a lot of history. Spades are spots that you get kicked out of or look like you get kicked out of. Diamonds are reserved for hard, scary or gnarly spots with one notable exception: the Ace of Spades is – obviously – the hardest, ballsiest spot of them all.

Deuce of Spades: Sloten Banks

Here’s one card you don’t hope to see when you are playing the big blind on a short stack by the end of the evening. But you might, and the Sloten Banks might show you the equally unwanted sight of a broken hand, broken wrist or even leg. Somehow this sort-of-okay, innocent-looking spot has claimed more victims than auto-erotic asphyxiation. Go there if you are really into that sort of thing but otherwise, steer clear.

Deuce of Clover: Kadoelenpool

Deuce of Hearts:
Apollo house

Deuce of Diamonds:
Lijnden rail

Three of Hearts:
Amsterdam Arena

Yes, I can already hear the Dutch skate community shout its collective what the fuck?! as if it just lost its all-in bet to a Royal Straight completed on the river. But this famous spot, once a fixture of the Truth Real Street Comp isn’t what it used to be. The easy-enough double rails in front of the Arena are gone. So you have nothing to warm up on before you move to the big-ass triple kink or the scary steep rails, which decreases the odds of you skating these from near-zero to actual-zero.

Three of Clover:
Rai Curbs

Three of Spades: Atlas curbs

Three of Diamonds: White Drop ledge

Four of Clover:
Bijlmer Roll-in

Why is this spot Clover? Cuz it’s a naturally occurring park obstacle. Why is it a four? Because Remy Cadier is part of the UH44 and for reasons now lost to history, this is really his spot. And why do you get the feeling there is no system here and I’m just making shit up as I go along? Because the weed is making you paranoid. Again.

Four of Spades: Mercatorplein

Four of Hearts: Marnix Gap

Four of Diamonds:
Noord Blue Rail

Five of Diamonds: A J Ernststraat Blues

It’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Betting on a five is generally considered stupid. That is, unless all of your bitch-ass friends limp in on your big blind and the turn produces two more fives. That’s kinda what AJ Ernststraat is like: it’s scary, sort of steep and square, with a drop on the left and a kink on the right but if you have the balls to skate it that day you might just come out feeling like a winner.

Five of Clover: Noord Dirk rails

Five of Spades: Amstelveen kink

Five of Hearts: Blauwe rail Amstelveen

Six of Spades: Marcanti

The Dutch for Spades is “Schoppen” which happens to be synonymous with kicking. Maracnti looks like someone’s backyard and even after half an hour you’ll still feel as if someone will come and kick you out at any moment. That never happens though. We made it the six because if you don’t have enough jumping power, the tall metal ledge in the middle might as well be six feet high

Six of Clover:
ABN Bankjes

Six of Hearts: Jan van Galen rails

Six of Diamonds: Bijlmerledge

Seven of Hearts: Binnenhof

There are three types of losing. Two will be familiar: losing because you played and losing because you didn’t play. The third kind is familiar to those who skated Binnehof in its heyday: losing the ability to play altogether. Skaters, skateboarders and goddamn BMX-pegs ultimately messed up the once-perfect edges beyond salvation. But even if the seven fat years are over, it remains skateable and the big-ass black handrails around the corner stand as monuments to this once great spot.

Seven of Clover: Bijlmer Pool

Seven of Spades: De Waaijer

Seven of Diamonds:
Bijlmer Gemeentehuis ledge

Eight of Clover: IJ-oever bankjes

First thing: “bankjes” means benches and that has nothing to do with banks. So why the Clover? Well, my perceptive reader, in a word: coping. That’s why. These bankjes have been adorned with a half-inch-diameter iron bar making them that much more pleasant to skate. The waterside view, proximity to Central Station and the perfect asphalt all help to turn this girl-next–door-spot into… well, into something you’ll want to grind.

Eight of Spades: Business School

Eight of Hearts: Vrije Universiteit (VU)

Eight of Diamonds:
Henk Sneevlietweg rails

Nine of Diamonds: CS Rail

We are, of course, defined not by our achievements but by our shortcomings. So what’s wrong with CS rail? Well, nothing! And that’s exactly it. Run up: perfect. Rail: perfect. Landing: perfect. It’s not a bust, it’s not crowded, there isn’t even a residential muttering hobo to jizz in your juice. Which means that if you go there, you’ll have no excuse. You’ll have to skate it. But ask yourself beforehand: will you?

Nine of Clover: HEMA 

Nine of Spades: Gelderlandplein

Nine of Hearts: Hoogoord double set

Ten of hearts: Spinoza Ledge

Somehow a ten always seems like a good card to play. But in poker it’s really not that impressive. Spinoza ledge has that quality too. You’ll do something on it and get all excited but then you’ll see the footage and realize you’re just grinding any ole ledge. I recently figured out why tens are exciting. They’re so good in Blackjack that the feeling leaks into poker. Spinoza would have called this type of realization a transfer from passive to active emotion. He argued this is way to truth. I still always play a ten. I usually lose the hand.

Ten of Clover:
Museum Square miniramp

Ten of Spades: La Place ledges

Ten of Diamonds: NEMO

Jack of Clover: Olympia Skatepark

A Jack is called a Boer in Amsterdam, the same word used for out-of-towners. Locals usually display a low opinion about the Boeren and they certainly display low opinions about Olympiaplein skatepark. Yet much as the city would be helpless without the Boeren and their fat, farm-rearing wallets, the Amsterdam scene would be helpless without the park. So ignore the inevitable puffs and sighs of your jaded local acquaintances and head here for a nice warm-up session.

Jack of Spades: Bruggetje handicap-rails

Jack of Hearts:
Osdorp curbs

Jack of Diamonds: Onderuit flatrail

Queen of Clover:
SMART banks

Go for the quirky girl. The smart one, the fun one, the one with the sense of humor and the ability make you smile. Forget about high heels and makeup and skimpy dresses and attitudes and all the other contraptions you have been tricked into thinking of as attractive only to make women spend money on bullshit. Go to the SMART banks for as long as the building remains empty. Or stick with the shallow bitch bleeding you for drinks and wake up to regret it.

Queen of Spades: Max Euweplein

Queen of Hearts:

Queen of Diamonds: IJburg rail

King of Hearts: Amstel Area

We are Amstel, king of Amstel, Sovereign of the Kink Enormous, Keeper of the Double set, Earl of Rail to Rail, Purveyor of the Red Metal, Duke of the Waverail and the Legend of IMYTA. We are the Knight Maker and we are, when you really think about it, a pretty impressive bunch of spots situated improbably close together and next to a railway station to boot!

King of Clover:
Marnix pool

King of Spades: World Fashion Center 

King of Diamonds:
Weesperplein planters

Ace of Spades: KPMG

The biggest meanest thing in town has only just been opened up and by no small names. Pascal Tan has a backroyale on the long ledge, Edwin Wieringh a topsoul on the steep ledge. And that’s about it! Considering that these guys would 360 topsoul your mom, that is surprisingly little, so far. And that may all be well and good I hear you say, but where’s the Motorhead reference? You know what, I’m not gonna do it. I ain’t. It makes no difference what you say.

Ace of Clover:

Ace of Hearts:
Zuid WTC

Ace of Diamonds: IJburg ledge

Check out more articles from the Be-Mag Amsterdam Week here.