Leading Amsterdam venue Trouw has been granted a 24-hour license by Dutch authorities.
The club, which opened in February 2009, is located in a former newspaper printing factory in the city's east. The two-levelled venue is widely regarded as one of Europe's leading nightclubs, with a stated aim of combining music, art and food (the venue even has its own restaurant). A 24-hour clubbing license is—outside Berlin and London—a rarity in major European cities, and of the three venues granted round-the-clock licenses today, Trouw is the only one currently operating. The new license will come into effect immediately.
Until now, Trouw was only permitted to open until 3:00 AM during the week and 5:00 AM on weekends; under the new legislation it can stay open as late as it wants. Owner and creative director Olaf Boswijk says the club will slowly extend its opening hours, especially when DJs with a knack for long sets come to town. Trouw is also planning a "night museum," with a basement space set aside for late night art exhibitions.
RA's associate editor Will Lynch caught up with Boswijk to discuss the implications of the license:
How did this happen? What prompted the city to consider all this?
Over the last ten years there’s been a strong call from everybody involved in Amsterdam’s club scene for longer opening hours. In Amsterdam we have an official mayor, and then there’s an unofficial night mayor who essentially represents nightlife and clubs at the city council. Every night mayor in the last ten years has lobbied for better opening hours, and every time comparisons were made with Berlin, but the city council never really wanted to change anything. But the new mayor, who came into office just over a year ago, is a bit more pragmatic. He wants to make sure that Amsterdam has a 24-hour economy that can rival Berlin, London and other creative cities. The other main reason is to reduce problems with people leaving clubs at the same time. For years people have been telling the council that when every club closes at 5:00 AM and the streets flood with people, it creates problems.
Needless to say, this doesn't mean Trouw will be open 24/7. How will regular weekend change exactly?
Generally we’ll start stretching things out slowly and see what happens. I think if we have really good nights regularly and often feel like the magic just starts happening at 3:00 or 4:00 am, then we'll stay open an extra couple of hours until 6:00 or 7:00 AM. With people like Ben Klock and Laurent Garnier playing next month, we have a good opportunity. It just depends on the DJs, the clubbers and whether the staff are fit and able to keep working. In April we have some special weekends planned where we might do a Saturday event that goes into Sunday.
Is this something that you’ve wanted for a long time?
It’s been discussed for more than two years. Of course, we’re yet to see what it does to the club and the business. Obviously there will be other concerns as well; we’ll need extra staff and we will have to persuade people to work longer hours, but I think the main thing is that we are getting more creative freedom. It will really help us to be able to offer guest DJs longer sets. We’ll also be able to give our residents even better spots. Now it’s often a case of the resident warming up for the headliner, but now you can have an upcoming local do the opening slot, then the international headliner, and then our main local resident do the last hours, with a three- or four-hour set which could really work well for them. I think that’s going to be really exciting.
Are you confident that local crowds will be up for longer hours?
I’m quite convinced people will want to party for longer hours—I’ve been hearing that for a long time. But on the other hand the Dutch crowd isn’t like, for example, the Berlin crowd. I would say people are really used to going out between 12:00 and 6:00 AM. There is an after party scene in Amsterdam, but I mean obviously if you’re staying open for a weekend you’ll have to change your habits. If a Saturday night goes into Sunday afternoon, the whole vibe changes too.
Can you say who else is being considered for this license?
Yes. There are two other clubs that are going to get one. One is more like a concert venue set up by Paradiso in the north just outside of Amsterdam, the other club will be in an old Shell building, which will open its doors in 2015. There are also some licenses which will go to hotel lobby bars, gyms; anything that cultivates a 24-hour economy. Of the clubs (that have been granted a license) we are the only one that’s actually open now.