From a Botanical Specimen to a Powdered Delight
The arrival of tobacco in Europe has been traced back to the late 15 th century, when the Botanist Francisco Hernández de Toledo brought the first seeds to Spain as part of the colonial mission. The...
Smoke, Snuff, and the Cosmos
Tobacco in Amerindian Rituals
Before tobacco entered the European markets as a luxury good, particularly among the elites of the 16 th century, it already had a thousand-year long history among the Amerindian communities, which...
The Amsterdam Koffiehuis
What does gentrification smell like?
Amsterdam is undergoing a continual process of gentrification. Opinions towards gentrification are far from homogenous and have been extensively reported on, but one question rarely asked of this...
Research Mediamatic Biotoop
Private Dream & Public Nightmares: The Scent…27Nov 20191Dec 2019
'Private Dreams & Public Nightmares' is an ongoing, immersive research on fear in its different aspects by German artists, Jonas Klinkenberg and Jan Jedenas. From 27th November to 1st...
Presentation: Mediamatic Biotoop
Little Red Riding Hood23Jan 2020
“What great big nose you have, grandma?” “All the better to smell you with, my dear.” This evening we will discover the world of fairytales, and their olfactory aspects. Why do we frighten our...
Oosterdok Irene de Craen
We Have Never Smelled Modern
‘Smell reveals the artificiality of modernity; it shows following Latour that we have never been really modern (1993). The modern project to create a pure, rational order of things is undermined by...
Of Urine, Pickled Leather, and Tanneries
A Case of Scent Zoning in 17th-century Amsterdam
Once a small port-city, Amsterdam began to resemble the bustling city we know today by the early modern era. In fact, during Amsterdam’s “Golden Age”—between 1585 and 1663—the city population grew...
History and the revival
Ever thought about what you'll wear when you're dead? In the past it was customary in our country to make your own death shroud and keep it in your linen closet because you never know.
"Eau d'îles de l'Est"
Odour of the industries
This is the second part of a three-part series written by Iris van den Linden and Amber Striekwold. In this series, Iris and Amber fashions a conceptual perfume of Oosterdok. Like every perfume
"Eau d'îles de l'Est"
Smells of the water
This is the first part of a three-part series written by Iris van den Linden and Amber Striekwold. In this series, Iris and Amber fashion a conceptual perfume of Oosterdok. Like every perfume, their...
Lemon & scurvy
An ironic antidote
Imagine a state whereby every sensory experience you came to offended your senses. Trees smelling of fecal matter. The taste of poultry almost poisons you. Greenery from vegetation is so disagreeably...
Jellyfish, one of the oldest living organism in the world, has existed in the world for at least 500 million years. However, we still know so little about them! This blog is a compilation of the...
"Great and ghastly stench"
Dutch whaling industry in the 17th century
“Lying in the bay were five large whale carcases which still had not been flensed through lack of manpower. There was a "great and ghastly stench" and, after a few fine days, the sun had...
Supplying the Dutch Diet Pt. 2
Life near the Port of Amsterdam was not only scented by colonial activities. Afterall, a huge portion of businesses ran by the docks were also to sustain a whole city of people. Having said that, the...
A Deterrence of Sight and Smell
The gallows field of Amsterdam
The small headland on the north side of the IJ, opposite the Oosterdok, used to be the location of the gallows field of Amsterdam. Criminals sentenced to death were executed on Dam Square, and as an...
Supplying the Dutch Diet Pt. 1
Along the lines of the previous topic : The Amsterdam port did not only shelter ships coming from abroad. Some of the vessels coming into the docks were also ships related to local industry. During...
Clean Lab team lives the Balanoculture
“Balanophagy” comes from ancient Greek and stands for the practice of eating acorns. The Clean Lab Team is working on bringing the forgotten practice back to the table.
A warehouse ablaze
Fire of 1791
It is true that many of the scents that infected the Amsterdam air was by way of the VOC/WIC ships coming to and from the harbour. In a way, a major import – albeit unintentional- from these...
Pelts and skin
Smelly goods from New Amsterdam
“If it was the search for a short route to Asia that brought the Dutch to North America, it was the beaver that made them stay” ( NNI, 2019 ). Like most trade network, the North American fur trade...
Of mothballs and grandma
Camphor's history with the Dutch
Cinnamomum Camphora , the fragrant camphor tree. A possibly large evergreen tree, with pale bark and dots of white flowers which will eventually bloom into small purple berries. While sight of the...
Aboard a passenger-liner-turned-hospital-ship
Smelly business did not remain in the pre-modern era. It is very much a modern phenomenon just as well. One point of interest for us scent-hunters is the MS Oranje. A 20,166-ton ship, in its hay-day...
A Mélange of Foul Odours
The Smell of Discovery
One of the main purposes of the Oosterdok was the building of ships. For a short while in history, before the English took that questionable title, the Dutch were the largest colonial power in the...
Those Who Bled for Nutmeg
The Narrative Contextualized within Banda Island's Larger History
“The island can be smelled before it can be seen. From more than ten miles out to sea a fragrance hangs in the air and long before the bowler-hat mountain hoves into view you are nearing land.”...