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41 18 English  Nederlands

Mapping for Tourists

MFT resulted in Noord, an exhibition and travel guide

Noord is the result of a project initiated by Nat Muller and Mediamatic: Mapping for Tourists. 22 artists were invited to map Amsterdam-Noord, pars pro toto for The Netherlands. The artists lived and worked in Noord during the summer of 2010. Find out more about the history of the project on this page. Find interviews with the artists on the blog, or read the artists' project proposals. To find out more about the outcome of their work - the travel guide and exhibition - , visit the Noord web space.

Arabic street sign in Noord

Arabic street sign in Noord


Image for the Noord project. We're making the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands.

Bint el Dunya

Amsterdam-Noord serves as a pars pro toto for The Netherlands. Apart from the pivots of Dutch culture - Hema, Bakker Bart, roundabout art and cargo bikes - it houses provincial polders, conventional townhouses, and the well-known Dutch multiculturalism. But is Noord just like any other place? Not really. It is conflicting and heterogeneous, but at the same time has a strong sense of solidarity and camaraderie. It is one of the most undiscovered, and therefore exciting locations of The Netherlands.

Being the testing ground of a large city has its pros and cons. Since the nineties, artists and cultural entrepreneurs have been working on turning Noord into a vibrant cultural area, attracting nomadic artists and media companies alike. But Noord also has the highest unemployment rate, and the highest percentage right wing voters. Noord harbors top politicians, working class single moms, and the largest Egyptian community in The Netherlands. Whether it's a town of its own, or a peripheral city borough, Noord is unmistakably a conflicted area.

In collaboration with independent curator Nat Muller, Mediamatic figured it was about time Noord was thoroughly explored. Despite being part of a large city, Noord is more representative of The Netherlands than it is of Amsterdam. Therefore it has had to work hard to prove itself, fighting failed gentrification and urban renewal projects. Turning to Cairo, capital of tourism, Mediamatic invited young Arabic artists to shed their light on Amsterdam-Noord. Nicknamed Umm el Dunya, Cairo is considered the 'mother of the world'. Not unlike Noord, she too is undergoing a metamorphosis, and is trying to shake off her wearisome reputation. Noord is her adopted daughter: Bint el Dunya.

Laat mij leven, illustration by Ganzeer

Laat mij leven, illustration by Ganzeer


"My first Noord-inspired sketch (digitally-altered), which most likely will have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual project I'm gonna do here, because I think I want to do something that involves the ferries." Ganzeer says on his blog.

Mapping for Tourists

A conglomerate like Noord deserves a motley crew of researchers. Joining the artists from Cairo is a group of graphic designers from Cairo's northern neighbor Beirut, known for producing some of the best designers in the field. Dutch artists with a flair for mapping, knowledge of socio-geography, or a love for Noord, have joined the Arabic artists in their quest to research the visible and invisible aspects of the city borough. Ranging from synchronized swimmers to giant frogs and snail farms, over the summer the artists have mapped the unique location, and have produced fresh new work.

Visit the Noord pages here, to see the results of their work, as well as find information about the travel guide and upcoming events.

Haring Naatje fish stall

Haring Naatje fish stall


A fish stall in Amsterdam-Noord.


Noord has been a friend to many, and a challenge to most. Exploring the 'daughter of the world', the artists soon realized Noord was not an easy place to come to grips with. Free in their choice of medium, the artists' work will result in an interdisciplinary exhibition, and in the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands. Mediamatic, as well as local and international artists, will initiate events, inviting people to join into the discovery of Noord.


The exhibition opened on September 10, and will run until November 9. Location is Mediamatic Bank. Participating artists from abroad are Ganzeer, Malak Helmy, Mahmoud Hamdy, Ayman Ramadan, Kareem Lotfy, and Ahmed Kamel. The local artists include Sarah van Sonsbeeck, tunctunctunc, Foundland (Ghalia Elsrakbi, Lauren Alexander, Dirk Vis), Golfstromen (Joop de Boer en Jeroen Beekmans), Melle Smets, Jan Rothuizen, Wietske Maas, and Malkit Shoshan. Visit this page for more information about the participants.

Travel guide

The travel guide combines the results of the artists' research with practical information about the peripheral borough. The tourist design team consists of Khajag Apelian aka KJ, Lara Balaa, Lynn Amhaz, and Engy Aly. The travel guide was printed tabloid format, and was distributed along with Het Parool on September 10. With a circulation of 80.000, Het Parool is Amsterdam's number one newspaper. The travel guide is also available at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68 Amsterdam.

Exhibition team

Willem Velthoven (director)
Jans Possel (director)
Femke Vos (project manager)
Amber Verstegen (project assistent)
Ista Boszhard (research team)
Julia Luczywo (research team)
Tommy Vermeire (research team)
Alberto Marchioretto (reporter)
Justin Linds (reporter)
Bas van den Broeke (communications)
Dido Reijntjes (communications)
Evelyn Austin (web-editor)
Ingunn Jonsdottir (exhibition)
Lars Wannop (graphic design)
Martine Posthuma de Boer (funding)
Nat Muller (research Cairo, preparatory phase, Map Fest)
Anne Margriet van Dam (travel guide editor)
Eva Spijker (research team)
Sebastiaan Klaasen (research team)

More information

The opening of the exhibition and the launch of the travel guide were on September 10. The exhibition runs until November 9, at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam. Weekdays open from 13:00 - 19:00, and on the weekends from 13:00 - 18:00 hrs. Entrance fee is € 3,-


Noord is made possible by:
Mondriaan Foundation, Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (FondsBKVB), DOEN Foundation, VSBfonds, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsdeel Noord, Ymere and Netherlands Embassy in Cairo.

Comments (18)

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He Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to react to the project! I understand where you're coming from. However, I believe we mention a lot of the same nice things about Noord as you do.... Camaraderie and solidarity, cultural and economic growth, the (green!) polders, multiculturalism.. By singling out "conflicting and heterogeneous" you seem to ignore the context we've placed this in, namely that it's the diversity of Noord that makes it such an interesting, nice and exciting place.

As for asking people FROM Noord to tell about Noord: people like yourself, who were born and raised in a particular place, will have a completely different view on the place than an outsider. I would like to believe there is no right or wrong view, but rather these can live side by side, conflict, but ultimately enrich each other.

I hope you make it to the opening/exhibition, see how much the artists have enjoyed being guests in your city borough, and find the time to talk to them and share experiences & thoughts on Noord.


a subsidized idiot

7 Sep 2010,13:18


Dear Ganzeer, I agree totally my last remarks where off the mark. Not ment in a racist way, but I can understand how you could perceive that.

Please accept my apologies


7 Sep 2010,11:29

Re: Load of Crap

This angry inhabitant makes some very good points, I gotta say.

But then again, his non-racist claims are overpowered by his racist finale of accusing victims of dictatorships as deformed minds derived from pure evil. Now that's pretty racist.

6 Sep 2010,22:27

Load of Crap

I have never ever in my life heard so much crap about Amsterdam Noord. Who the hell do you people think you are? A Conflict in Noord? Pardon? Where in Noord exactly? The most unemployed and PVV-voters? What on earth is your totally deranged prejudiced scope on this little peace of earth? Why are exactly these things mentionable when it comes to analyzing a region?

How about you subsidized idiots realize Amsterdam Noord is just a place with a lot of green, a local communicty which has hardly been racialist? Where ethnic conflicts like in Oost or the Bijlmer are non-existent? Where crime rates are incredibly low to Amsterdam standards? Where people still great each other on the streets?

But no.... The introductory text about Noord needs to mention all the briljant clichés every subsidized "leftist" artist or subsidy-sponge can use to attain extra money from funds...

If you ever had taken the trouble to go to to any congress about Real Estate in Amsterdam would know that Noord, both culturally, socially a well as economically is seen as the best region to partake in investments that wield the best curves as seen in the Netherlands... How about using that as a frame of scope... but noooo...

And what about using people from Amsterdam Noord instead when it comes to explaining what Noord is about? I feel treated like someon from the Ghaza-strip who reads that Israeli artist went down and reported that Ghaza actually is a very secure and lovely place to live: absolutely a distorted and non existant reality right?

Next time you have people around from other parts of the world please don't fill them with prejudice crap before letting them go loose with their lovely minds (which, might I say, most probabably are deformed themselves, being derivative from the purest and most evil dictatorships since the second world war?)...

Thanks so much. Not.

A very angry inhabitant from Noord.

Load of Crap
6 Sep 2010,14:23
Comments (18)