Barring grand events in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, there are four major subcultures rivaling for the spectator’s attention in Noord: the wrestling/kick boxing scene, the hardcore scene, the community workers scene and the bohemian ‘Berlin at the IJ’ scene, which includes house and techno parties and independent artists. On the side, the Dutch ‘levenslied’ (tearjerkers) music scene plays its part in the poster landscape. Five completely different worlds that have nothing in common, but each have their own set of rules, familiar places and leaders. Some are part of the old Noord, others of the new. Some are highbrow, others aren’t. It characterizes the split Noord is in.
Some good fights go down in Noord. Kick boxing, K1, Muay Tai or wrestling: Noord is an all-rounder when it comes to fighting culture. Several big names and world champions such as Peter Aerts and Badr Hari, were shaped up in the gyms of Noord, which are undoubtedly amongst the fictional top league of kickboxing. Gyms like Pancration, Mike’s Gym and Seban Gym, supply a constant chain of international kickboxing champions and K1 all-stars. Galas are organized in sports hall De Weeren and in Het Zonnehuis, where events like Fight4life and Noord Gestoord are held as well. The almost monthly recurring PWG Pro Wrestling galas are set in the squatted former oxide plant at the Distelweg 113.
Some real hardcore parties can be found in Noord, for Noord has a history of hard-hitting 200 bpm music. Club Latido (‘Amsterdam home of the hardcore’) is gone, but there’s still plenty of independent parties, such as the early hardcore and darkcore parties by the Zuipclub and the acid and hard techno parties by Fataal in De Valk at the IJ-plein. Additionally, more alternative parties can be found in squat Villa Friekens.
The tradition is kept alive; there’s still plenty of genuine Dutch music and brown pubs in Noord. Café Oud Noord in the Van der Pekstraat hosts live music nights every Friday, where local celebrities Jordy Heer, Roy van den Burg and Rob Zorn often come by. Singing along can be done at the Singer’s Karaoke Bar at the Papaverweg. Every second Sunday of the month, Café ‘t Eitje organizes an accordion afternoon.
The banks of the IJ are home to the new Noord. More specifically, the Van der Pek neighborhood is an experimental field of culture and creativity, focused on ‘community Noord’: aiming to unite the old and new Noord through activities. Venues include the Tolhuistuin, Van der Pekplein and Noorderparkkamer.
Berlin at the IJ
Noord has its own art scene, centered around the IJ. For years, the banks were dominated by welding, grinding and polishing artists on the NDSM shipyard. Nowadays, Rhizomatic at the Papaverweg and Nieuw Dakota at the NDSM shipyard have chosen a different path for autonomous art in Noord. Along with the techno parties, primarily organized at the shipyard as well, this conjures up a Berlin-like feel. There are annual events like Valtifest, and year-round parties in venues like ITW/Pick-Up Club, Helling 3, De Bunker en German party boat MS Stubnitz. Less famous are the techno parties De Afdeling: located in the Cleijntheater at the bottom of an fifteen-story student flat. De IJsbrand and the Kijkruimte are houses in the Van der Pekbuurt, transformed into a temporary souvenir shop and project space.