Introducing Be-Mag Amsterdam Week 2012

Introduction & Write-up by Ryan Claus
Photography by Bojd Vredevoogd & Remy Cadier

I don’t say this because Amsterdam surpasses any other space and place in the Netherlands with awesomeness; that goes without saying. It’s just because Amsterdam is so damned special. Without sounding too cliché, it is definitely the atmosphere of the greatest capitol in the world that makes it so unique. Wandering through the canals of piss and poison, peeking into the red-light windows of our Puerto-Rican heavyweights and Polish fitness queens in silver mankinis, constantly taking in the scent of tropical herbs and spices; it’s just another Tuesday in Amsterdam.

There is a certain sense of liveliness in the streets of this city, even on the rare moments when it’s quiet. It’s the compact size that make you feel like you’re moving around in a cosy, green village in the peaceful hills of England in the middle-ages, and it’s the stretched-out areas beyond the city centre that makes it a great place for poorly skilled rappers, too. The museums and art are nothing short of top-notch and of course we get the best concerts year round (famous people love smoking pot).

The cultural diversity makes for a comfortable choice in very interesting restaurants, bars and clubs. The nightlife of the city never gets boring – if you’re tired of picking up underaged tourists from the Salsa bars (where they play techno), there are so many local festivals, raves and parties organized by tight-jeaned night people that sleep when the sun is out and live when the sun goes down. The last few years we have seen some areas of the city that were previously labeled as ‘forsaken’ and ‘dangerous’ turning into very cool, trendy spots with alternative bars and outlets. Then there are also the super impressive tram lines, cruising from one sightseeing site to the next, crushing any tourist drunk enough to get his or her foot stuck in the railways. If all this weren’t enough, there is of course Ajax, a mysterious gathering of extra-terrestial men that specialize in the art of soccer, unbeaten since 1437. Amsterdam simply has it all.

But there is one thing that really makes this city what it is: it’s people. It would not be fair to say inhabitants, because the people of Amsterdam are also it’s millions of tourists passing through each year and the many international people who have settled here. Despite being a big city, most people will have no problem helping you to find the cheapest prostitute or the best coffee shop. Amsterdammers are open-minded, laid back people and that is not because everyone is constantly high. They just are, and it reflects in the openness they have about their smoking and prostitute policies. ‘It happens and it’s not harmful, so why not make it an open thing.’ This frame of mind is more helpful for getting rid of criminality than you probably think, as there would be a lot of illegal dealing and prostitution going on if the government were to forbid the two biggest tourist attractions in the city.

You have now been reading a text for about three minutes and it had nothing to do with skating; congratulations, that’s your new record. If you are interested in Amsterdam for skating, there are of course a few locals of all ages and religions, but not nearly enough for a major city. I have been to inbred villages with a bigger inline scene than Amsterdam. Still, the few rollers that do still pick up their skates more than once a month are very cool and on an above-average level. And it is undeniable that this is the hometown to some of the world’s greatest rollers, who still drop the occasional hammer to shut everyone up. The spot choice is also fantastic in Amsterdam, especially in the outskirts.

This week is Amsterdam Week on and I have just given plenty of reasons why my hometown gets the shine the next seven days. Expect some exciting interviews and articles with the city’s main rollerbladers and of course plenty of amazing images and video’s. Ladies & gentlemen, I give you… Amsterdam.

-Ryan Claus

More about Ryan Claus:
Writer, Blader, B-boy, Receptionist, Footballsupporter. In no particular order, this pretty much sums up Ryan Claus. I say pretty much, because, as always it’s the details that count. Whether it is Writing, Blading, or one of the other pastimes he indulges himself in, the passion he puts into each and every story, grind or footballmatch is only matched by his enthusiasm and wit. Still a young kid, seen from an olderblader’s perspective, he is a valuable asset to not only The Dutch scene, but now through Be-Mag he can shine a light on some topics which might need some of his special attention. Don’t expect him to pull any punches, or tiptoe around controversial subjects, but keep in mind the views and opinions of this young man do not neccesarily reflect those of Be-Mag as a whole. Which is good.

-Remy Cadier