Every year, Amsterdam opens their museum doors at night… during the annual museum night, also known as MUSEUMN8 (pronounced “museum nacht”). With a wristband in one hand, and a 16 oz beer can in the other, I made my way towards the first museum on our non-existent go-to list of “exciting museums.” No one bothered to check out the line-up so we just started following the person who seemed to know most about this madness. And madness it was, people scattered on the streets and in trams trying to grab this once a year chance of drinking whilst enjoying “de Nachtwacht.” And then us, wandering around town looking for the least-crowded ones while sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels. Hey, once there’s an obvious larger amount of people on the streets, it’s time to break all rules and most of all, not stand in line.
We arrived at the Amsterdam Museum first, a museum about, obviously, Amsterdam. First thing in mind was: What do we do? Do we check out art? Is there an open bar? Are we supposed to dance? What is this? Basically, visiting a museum during museum night is the same as visiting one on a regular day. But – there’s more alcohol involved, and there may or may not be a DJ. It all depends on the museum. This one had karaoke and an abandoned bar. Which made it easier to fixate on the art. For this occasion, they had a street art installation in the garden. Several street artists displayed their art. Life-sized ink caps were used as name tags and/or stools ’cause people were spilling their beverages all over the place while trying to sit down on them. Performance art some might call it.
The Amsterdam Museum.
Next stop was Stadsarchief. But first, a quick stop at Homemade, an organic food spot in the center of Amsterdam. Where the not-so-organic rap group Yung Internet were preparing for their performance at the MUSEUMN8 after party in Bitterzoet. And by preparing, I mean drinking heavy amounts of alcohol and enjoying fine Dutch herbs. We weren’t certain what was taking place at Stadsarchief, and to this day we still aren’t sure. All I know is that we ran into our friend Larry outside, who had just received an award – and by award, I mean cactus. Seemed interesting. Inside it smelled like kindergarten food. Heavy electronic music blasting out of the stereo and basically zero art. My annoyance came to a point where I felt like committing petty crimes so we decided to seek fun elsewhere.
Bummy boy KC and Yung Internet frontman Young Mau.
BBQ at Bitterzoet.
Onto the Museum van Loon. A huge canal house, owned by the van Loon family. Whose ancestors co-founded the Dutch East-India company. High ceilings, eerie portraits of old dead people on the wall, lavish bedding and gold, lots of gold. Unfortunately, no bar in this place, but the kitchen did offer carrots. Miss Carrot (I assume she’s not married) told us the story behind why carrots are orange. Fun facts that are somewhat useless, but still. Basically it’s the Dutch to blame with them being hyped with the color orange. Something about people and their problem with certain colors, I thought, while standing in a house formally occupied by slave drivers.
Not only did the Museum van Loon offer carrots.
Anyways, it was time to move on, so we walked towards De Nieuwe Kerk. Translation: The New Church. Which is actually a very old church. Doesn’t make sense, but whatever. The new church was showing an exhibition on Africa. So it was filled with African sculptures and garbs. We walked around while listening to what seemed like African music playing through the stereo? Organ? Or whatever they use in churches nowadays. By this time, the alcohol was flowing heavily and after accidentally disturbing a spoken word sequence, we split. We replaced the Nieuwe Kerk, with the Oude Kerk. As you might have guessed, translation: The Old Church. Located on the Red Light District. At first, I thought the whole show had stopped but as I was walking towards the toilet, I stepped into an “art” installation and soon found out that on my right, 2 people were doing some sort of performance art thing with hoops in front of an insanely bright light. To be honest, it sucked big time. Here’s a man in a leotard flipping around a hula hoop with some sort of instrumental music playing in the background. Time for a break.
Our group split in half. The art enthusiasts decided to head to NEMO early. This museum, or whatever you might name this bundle of joy, has exactly everything you don’t have at a normal museum, and the best part is, you can touch everything and also participate in everything. To experience our last stop in the best way, the “alcoholics” separated from the art enthusiasts to go to the bar. Our plan was to down as much whiskey cokes possible during happy hour. Maybe throw in a few jagerbombs to make this whole NEMO adventure a little more adventurous. And boy, did we. As we stumbled towards NEMO, the whiskey kicked in, and so did the childlike behavior. After a quick altercation in front of the main entrance, we literally walked in like 17-year-old little British pricks walk into a pub on a Friday afternoon. NEMO is filled with scientific games and all sorts of fun stuff that teaches you how a bridge works for instance. However, we soon figured that a lot of these “fun games” needed patience. And patience went out of the door the moment we drank jagerbombs. So instead of recycling water, we were pouring it on ourselves, and instead of making ginormous bubbles, we were literally bursting peoples bubbles. We spun around on tables, tables that were showing people how gravity works. And instead of enjoying the beautiful Amsterdam view from the roof, we were urinating off it. To top it off, we walked out and one of us continued to take a leak in the fountain located right in front of the door. This sophisticated evening of enjoying art turned into madness.
We managed to show up 2 hours late to the after party, and missed all the performances. It might have something to do with the fact that one of my comrades decided to climb onto a road sign after jumping on the top of a mini van. It might. I posted a picture of this entertaining moment on Instagram, to give a heads up to the people in the club. Something in the style of “we’re coming, and we’re not only annoying you already, at this point we’re also annoying ourselves.”
As for the pictures of this lovely evening. Of course I thought it was a good idea to change my film roll in a smoking area balancing my drink and my camera in both hands. Cheers to overexposed film.
Afterparty performer GRGY.