The Dappermarkt is a terrific outdoor market in Amsterdam Oost. It hosts a diverse range of products: fresh fish, underpants, fabric by the metre, flipflops, flowers, blood sausage, cheese, batteries, watches, fruit, freshly cut french fries, and all manner of clothing.
I started taking quick snaps of some of the clothes, because there are some true gems. The type of clothing you’ll find in the Dappermarkt isn’t high end but it’s definitely eye-catching and fun. I contemplated taking a vow to shop only in the Dappermarkt for a year (or OK, maybe a season) for everything: clothes, food, etc. One really could live off the Dappermarkt, it’s true. But somehow I haven’t worked up the guts to try that yet. The food is definitely fabulous, fresh, and cheap. Most sundries are available too. The fashion could work for me, if I could convince myself to adopt a more conspicuous style. Check out my photos and definitely swing by Amsterdam Oost to check out this market!
The tumbleweeds that blow through this blog… Shocking, innit?
Well instead of belaboring this point or dragging out the I’m-so-busy excuse, I will simply point out that it’s been about a year and a half that I have been settled here in the Netherlands. I love it. I delight in all the cultural discovery that there is for me here. I have fixated in particular on a child star, Danny de Munk, as one of my Dutch cultural investigations.
Danny de Munk was a child star in the 80s. He seems to have floated along, with one failed album in English, but otherwise reigning as the highest-paid Dutch singing star.
One tune from his youth, Mijn Stad (My City), stands out for me. The lyrics for this song are astounding. Here is just a small sample:
Hier heb je alles wat je hartje bekoort,
wat ruzie en inbraak, en soms ook een moord!
Je krijgt op je kanis, je fiets wordt gejat,
maar wat moest je doen, als je Mokum niet had
Want Amsterdam, is poep op de stoep,
en haat in de straat, je bent op je hoede,
vooral ‘s avonds laat,
en Dansen bij Jansen,
kapsones in zuid,
een steen door de ruit!
Which translates roughly as: Here you have everything your heart desires,
Fights, break-ins, sometimes even murder!
Your bike is stolen, but what would you do, if you didn’t have Mokum.
Amsterdam is poop on the sidewalk, and hate in the street
You’re on your guard
Especially late at night, dancing at Jansen,
strutting in the South,
a brick through the window!
I can’t help but love this child star and the culture from which he springs where a song called “My City” is so equally disparaging and loving. Poop on the sidewalk! An honest appraisal, delivered with that eerie whistle that I find escaping from my lips more than once as I idle here in fine fine Mokum.
Do yourself a favour and watch this great video from 1985 of Danny himself singing about Amsterdam’s crime rate and poop on the sidewalk problem:
Postscript: It’s perhaps worth mentioning where I found this song in the first place. In 2004 I was at the Dutch Electronic Art Festival in Rotterdam and heard a presentation by Merijn Oudenampsen, in which, as I recall, he scathingly took down the I AMsterdam campaign. Of course in 2004 I had no idea that I’d be living in Amsterdam in 2011. All those years later, I remembered the presentation, and found that it had been adapted into an article in Mute. In the article, I noticed the Danny de Munk song lyric, typed that into YouTube, and discovered the video above.
As part of the The Middle Kingdom of Weeds Festival (World Wide Festival of Psychogeography and Foraging 2011) I met up with a group of people to do a wander around Amsterdam Sloterdijk and forage for food. The walk also had a caloric analysis angle, wherein we’d weigh what we had foraged at the end and contrast that with the calories expended by foraging. The walk was hosted by Wilfried Hou Je Bek and Theun Karelse.
We used one of Wilfried’s .walk algorithms to direct our walking pattern. We each had a piece of paper with the algorithm on it, which was loosely based on the behaviour of the ghosts in Pac-Man. Embodying the spirit of Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde, we ventured off in search of things to eat in among the underpasses, roundabouts, highrises and industrial estates of this area of Amsterdam. I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical that we would find anything tasty.
But in the end, we did. We found numerous edible green things, including an abundance of wild rocket. Our teams also found a cousin of garlic, wild carrot, unripe sloeberries, and places where raspberry plants were thriving (but no berries today, unfortunately). We mapped some of these finds on the Boskoi Android app so other foragers can find these things.
We met back with the other team at the station and tallied up our goods. We determined that if we had to live off the day’s haul, we’d certainly starve. Key to better nutrition would be getting our hands on some nuts and berries, and adding a little hunting and fishing to the mix. I took some of the wild rocket home and was keen to eat it for lunch, and also compare it to the bag of rocket I had just purchased at Albert Heijn the day before.
Taste testing revealed that the store-bought rocket was considerably milder in flavour than the wild rocket, which had a wonderfully peppery bite. I sautéed the wild rocket with a bit of olive oil and some of the garlic-like stuff we had harvested. Very, very delicious. I think I might have to go back and forage some more.
Club Karlsson* is a private club and co-working space in Amsterdam. The Club is made up of individuals from the culture and technology communities. We are cultural hackers.
At this point in time in the Netherlands and the wider EU, culture is undervalued and is being dropped as a priority of government, in order to keep up appearances of fiscal restraint.
Our reaction to “culturele kaalslag”** is to make things happen now. Our mission is to produce a programme of activity that will include exhibitions, screenings, networking meetings, parties, workshops, and more. We do not seek public subsidy, our intention is for our activities to fund themselves.
Club Karlsson is Ine Poppe, Sam Nemeth, Mart Van Bree, Menno Grootveld, and myself. We are having our first event open to the public in our big, beautiful space on the top floor of Keizersgracht 264 during Museumnacht in Amsterdam on Saturday November 6, from about 10pm onwards. Subscribe to our Twitter feed and become our fan on Facebook to be in the loop about our programme. Hope to see you during Museumnacht, I’ll be there at the end, after midnight.
* — What, or who, is Karlsson? A mischievous character with a propeller on his back, as good a mascot as any!
** — “culturele kaalslag” is a term being used to describe the current climate for arts support in the Netherlands. “Kaalslag” literally translates as “deforestation” or “clearcutting”.