Justin Linds

An interview with Ahmed Kamel

"I think the center has become more settled, and Noord is changing faster than ever before."

August 2010. Ahmed tells us about the tranquility of Noord, and why it is special to him.


Ahmed Kamel, Noord Hq. - Ahmed Kamel in Amsterdam. July 2010. Picture by Lars Wannop. Lars Wannop


What is the most striking difference between Cairo, where you're from, and Amsterdam-Noord?

Calmness... Noord is different from Amsterdam's center because it's meditative. When such a big place is so calm, it creates a very positive atmosphere. It relaxes me. Amsterdam-Noord perfectly combines tranquility and chaos - the city center, after all, is only a short ferry ride away.

Do you think Noord is changing though, with all the development?

I think it will change. I've been knocking on the doors of Noord residents for my project, and have run into some young Dutch couples. To me this represents what might be a transformation. The area is becoming more attractive. I think the center has become more settled, and Noord is changing faster than ever before.

What would you recommend tourists visiting Noord?

Definitely the green: the parks, and especially the countryside further north. It's so relaxing. In my opinion Amsterdam-Noord is not the place for nightlife.

Have you made any interesting observations in Noord?

One interesting observation has come from the window of my neighbors across the street. They're an Egyptian family, and often watch an Egyptian television series. The values propagated in this show are completely different from the values present in The Netherlands or Europe. I wonder what kind of impact this will have on the kids, and how it might contribute to the forming of their identity. Will it be a brilliant mixture, or just cause confusion?

Do you think Noord is a unique place?

There are many places that have similar features to Noord, but unique to me is that I'm experiencing it right here, right now. I am working on a family portrait project, which allows me to meet and talk with people in Noord, and visit their homes.