Amsterdam in the 80s and 90s - OMG!

Reply

Feb 11th, 2018, 02:25 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 72,134
Amsterdam in the 80s and 90s - OMG!

Amsterdam has always had a reputation for tolerance - tolerance of many things, Like today its many coffeeshops selling cannabis over the counter and its notorous red-light district, but in the 1980s and 90s this tolerance was in many ways IME was way out of control - totally mind-boggling to this observor who made several trips annually to Amsterdam for decades for business and really got to know the city and its many excesses - excesses that gave it a world-wide reputation for being Amsterdamned, damn, damn, DAMN!

The Amsterdam of today is nothing like that Amsterdam of the 80s and 90s - unfortunately circumstances have reluctantly prevented me from going to Amsterdam now for five years. But from what I hear and read on Fodor's from locals, the city has really morphed into an ever more mobbed place with tourists and more and more upscale European city - a morphing that I saw steadily develop from the late 90s until 2013 the last time I was there. A few decades ago many visitors deemed Amsterdam 'seedy' and 'dirty', most of that is gone except in perhaps the red-light district (but even that area is way WAY WAY way less dicey than 20-30 years ago.

Anyway, this thread will be all about the OMG Amsterdam of the 80s and 90s - hopefully locals and others familiar with that Amsterdam of old and of today will feel free to chime in. And, I'm esecially intrigued by recent changes and developments too.

Donk u wel. Tot Ziens!
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 11th, 2018, 09:20 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,770
I really do not want to think about Amsterdam changing, Pal.

I knew it in the early 1970s when I spent time there. I LOVED the place! I lived on my sailboat in a marina across from Central Station for a few months while I was trying to sell her, and later spent a winter crashing in a friend's apartment on the Herengracht, after I got fired from my job in London, was desperately looking for a job, and really broke. I still loved the laid back vibe of the place and the friendly Dutch. To think of it as changed for the worse makes me truly sad, so I may not follow your thread.
nukesafe is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 11th, 2018, 10:23 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,767
I was camped out in Vondelpark for more than a week in 1971. Those were the days.
kerouac is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 11th, 2018, 11:05 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,554
This like this do not help the city. Turn on subtitles.

Some things do change for the better. No sound on this.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:06 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,225
Thanks Ribeirascra, interesting documentary on Airbnb in Amsterdam.
Tulips is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:44 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 11,879
Amsterdam in the late 70s and early 80s was the armpit of the world.
Now it is fast turning into a Disneyfied over touristed hell hole.
hetismij2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 02:14 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 44,128
As for Dutch "tolerance," you might want to read the book "Why The Dutch Are Different."
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 02:28 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,554
I found the AirBnB programme very interesting too.
The Dutch are different because they skate to work.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 06:11 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 72,134
nukesafe - ever drown your sorrows in the Flying Dutchman, a British ex-pat retreat near Centraal Station? It may 'local'!
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 07:02 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,225
Ribeirascra

I bet even Palenq doesn't know that skating is an important mode of transport in Amsterdam....
Tulips is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 07:46 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 72,134
Skating a mode of transport? I've been in winter several times and never seen canals freeze over. Are you serious? Don't canal boast go all year?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.d69c1a5280d3
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 08:47 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,770
I did visit Vondelpark a few times the first time I was in Amsterdam, Kerouac but I, luckily, had a place to sleep on my boat, so I didn't have to bed down with the great unwashed at the park or with the hoards clustered at Dam Square. The second time, during my "Winter of even greater poverty", my usual day consisted of going to the Rijksmuseum. Entry was free, and I would go to a single room with my Dutch/English dictionary and thoroughly explore it. Then I would go to a Brown Cafe and indulge in a kleintje pils(small beer) and nurse it while I read the newspapers provided by the bar, until it was time to trudge back to my friend's apartment where I would start dinner for her. I really liked that museum, and would love to go back and spend another winter exploring the modernized version. Now. I might even spring for a big beer!

No, PalenQ, I did not hang out at the Flying Dutchman. With my limited means at the time I could only afford the Brown Cafes deeper in town. My social ploy when I was there for my first stay was to go to a cozy bar and order a beer. I had purchased a small Dutch/English dictionary, and would sit there studying it. When I spotted one of those spectacular Dutch ladies who looked approachable I would go over to her and say, "Hello", and ask if she spoke English. Almost always she would respond with, "A little." (That meant she usually spoke it better than me!) I would then show her my dictionary and explain that I was trying to learn Dutch, but was having trouble with he pronunciation of some words. The word I chose as an example was, "nieuwsgierig" (curious). That word, like a lot of Dutch, is pronounced as if one has a fish bone stuck in your throat. Anyway, that would get the conversation going, and I would soon be introduced around and would have instant friends, some of whom I still correspond with over 40 some years later.
nukesafe is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 12:54 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
Here is, in its entirety, the film that photographer Ed van der Elsken (my hero) shot about/in Amsterdam. It's a highly personal document (it's his daughter's graduation day, he runs into his ex-wife, his son plays a part). Also it's the quintessential film about what Amsterdam was like during the 1980s (and partly the 1990s). Famous Amsterdam personalities appear in it, but in an accidental way, not because Ed sought them out. His shooting is, as always, hyper personal. Van der Elsken lived in the Nieuwmarkt area in the 1950s, when it was very run down.

Amsterdam in 1982 was then just recovering from major street battles, all to do with squatting and housing, and it was still an open city with lots going on. Art, music, all because the centre was derelict and spaces could be had for next to nothing.

menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 12:57 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Skating a mode of transport? I've been in winter several times and never seen canals freeze over. Are you serious? Don't canal boast go all year?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.d69c1a5280d3
Yeah, everyone here had a good laugh about Katie, until today when we woke up to the news that our Foreign Minister has been lying about meeting Putin in 2006 (didn't meet him at all), so now that is trending on twitter.
menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:02 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
As for Dutch "tolerance," you might want to read the book "Why The Dutch Are Different."

Ah yes.. We're just having a big debate about one parliamentary party's racist views, with everyone nuancing, condoning, explaining away, and mainstreaming the whole thing. That's Dutch tolerance. We're the country where, in world war 2, the highest percentage of jews was deported, not because of a use of force, but because Dutch civil servants, police, train drivers, and ordinary citizens were all to happy to oblige, or didn't care. The level of active antisemitism just after the war is still unbelievably crass.
And now an ethno-nationalist party is the second largest in parliament, and already we're looking at an incoming party's more sophisticated version of the same.
menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:24 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 72,134
Anyway my first encounter with Amsterdam was at the height of the Viet Nam War - i had come as a college kid and even though we had near daily marches and a few riots most of it was peaceful.

But in Amsterdam in early 70s I saw how Dutch cops handle riots - not really nice - rather violent clashes - remember one near Dam Square where cops got out powerful water cannon and actually shot folks into canals. I had never seen such militant protestors nor police.

My regular long visits started in 1978 just as coffeeshops were timidly starting to open - rather illegally I think. The first one I knew of was the original Bulldog in the red-light district and bought a lot of hash (did not have cannabis then) there.

The Flying Dutchman was my favorite pub - we had heard that you could buy acid there and it was true. The pub was full of Brtis from Manchester area - when Man U played the place would be bommed around the few small tvs.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:32 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
Just to indulge myself, and because he can be seen, briefly, in Ed van der Elsken's film, here is what went on behind the fašades: from 1993 (and not subtitled, be warned) Rik Zaal visits Ischa Meijer. Ischa (son of historian Jaap Meijer) was a multi talented journalist, famous for his prowess in interviews, both written and on TV.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ischa_Meijer


menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:40 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
The Mid Nineties: in "The City Was Ours", director Joost Seelen looks back on the squatter riots of 1980/1981. Already then, the city has changed. Ironically, some of the issues have remained, or have got worse, like the housing shortage. And already, squatters have moved into AirBnB properties to protest

menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 01:51 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
But in Amsterdam in early 70s I saw how Dutch cops handle riots - not really nice - rather violent clashes - remember one near Dam Square where cops got out powerful water cannon and actually shot folks into canals. I had never seen such militant protestors nor police.
You have to remember, that the Amsterdam police, especially the commanding officers, were the product of Nazi training school "Schalkhaar". Many of them were actual nazis, but denazified, and still in the police force. The student riots during the late 1960s were a direct revolt against the "generation of Schalkhaar" and against the Dutch silence about the war years.

Louis van Gasteren made "Because my bike was there" in 1966 and the short documentary was immediately censored.
menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 12th, 2018, 02:20 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,031
A friend of mine did the pyrotechnics for Peter Giele's funeral, in 1999. Giele died suddenly and was then at the peak of his creativity as owner and inspirator of Club Roxy, the epitome of an Amsterdam where "everything goes". His death marked the end of an era. Club Roxy burned down on the day of his funeral.

menachem is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:41 AM.