SPIELRAUM to be One of De School’s ‘Collectives in Residence’

Amsterdam club scene, get ready! Two of the city’s most renowned and inclusive electronic music and culture shaping event spaces are joining forces for a long-term collaboration. De School, the night club that has contributed significantly in shaping the city’s vibrant club culture in the past already, has recently reopened its doors after a long hiatus and is now fully back starting a collaboration with no other than queer party collective SPIELRAUM. With its loyal support of devoted ravers, SPIELRAUM will bring its free and colorful energy to Amsterdam’s club jewel. We are here for the upcoming high quality lineups of underground and established talents from the electronic music scene as well as the inclusive and unique community that will dance to their captivating sounds and shape the wildest rave experiences.

During a collaboration over the next 15 months, SPIELRAUM will be one of several ‘collectives in residence’ at De School, sharing their platform with (upcoming) talents from the LGBTQIA+ community during regular events. SPIELRAUM will also be collaborating on side programmes next to the club nights, filled with art programmes and informative talks within various spaces in De School. “First and foremost we’ll keep creating queer club nights with really good fucking music in the most beautiful club space Amsterdam has ever known.” – SPIELRAUM’s Sven Bijma and Diego Meijers.

Since 2020, SPIELRAUM have been struggling to find a club space in Amsterdam that has felt really suitable for what they do and which is capable of growing along with their ambitions. In their own words: “We found it hard to find a club that was willing to truly listen and adapt to our needs, since creating a space for the LGBTQIA+ community is such a precious task, as well as a space that was versatile enough to also offer musical diversity and give us the opportunity to approach SPIELRAUM in a more substantive way.”

It is important to emphasise that this will be a sustainable and long-term collaboration that does not solely arise from the fact that SPIELRAUM has had difficulties finding a home. In both parties’ views, the core of the collaboration lies precisely in that word: ‘collaboration’. This is going to be a commitment in which both, SPIELRAUM and De School, will work to elevate and strengthen each other. “Spielraum have in the past years truly established themselves as a core part of the Amsterdam scene; they’ve worked tirelessly to get to where they, deservedly, are now. Considering what they’ve built, continually producing fantastic events, I felt responsible to give them a space. We can’t wait to work together.” – Creative Head, Sasha Ojeda Mendoza.

“The space that De School offers will allow for SPIELRAUM to grow. It will be the perfect place to let SPIELRAUM flourish. We can finally go to the depths we’ve wanted to go for so long, but which was greatly hampered by distractions like not having a suitable location. It is also important for De School that the queer community we bring along will finally feel at home in the club and not just as guests. This way we can build a bridge and together create a place where many Amsterdammers can come together,” says SPIELRAUM.

The first collaborative event will be Thursday 20th of October, as part of De School’s ADE programme, which will be accompanied by a substantive/artistic side programme. More information on this and other collaborations to follow.

Numéro Netherlands in Conversation with SPIELRAUM and De School

We spoke to Sven and Diego from SPIELRAUM and Sasha, the creative head of De School about their relationship and what this collaboration is all about.

Have you ever had SPIELRAUM parties at De School back in the days? 

Sven & Diego of SPIELRAUM: Nope, never had parties at DS as they never worked with external parties before. That’s the beauty of this collaboration: we’re the first ever external organisation that will throw club nights at De School. We’re so honoured about this and we feel it’s a vital step to show that the doors of De School are now open to local collectives.

Could you give me some more information on how SPIELRAUM evolved in Amsterdam over the years with its core values? And what brought it to the Amsterdam dance scene? 

Sven & Diego of SPIELRAUM: We started SPIELRAUM back in 2017 out of frustration about the lack of good queer parties in Amsterdam in general, but mostly because we felt Amsterdam didn’t have queer parties with proper music and solid lineups. Back then we just wanted to have a good party for our friends but we gradually got more popular and all of a sudden in 2018 tickets started to get sold out within 10-20 minutes. And as our popularity grew, so did our sense of responsibility towards the crowd we attracted. Throwing parties for the LGBTQIA+ community is a precious task so we focused on safety more and more. Putting together awareness teams, making people aware of consent, but also focusing on diverse lineups as we feel representation is so important. Looking back on the past five and a half years we think we played a vital role in how clubs and festivals approach safety in Amsterdam. More and more places publish statements about their values and awareness teams pop up even at bigger festivals like Dekmantel. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying we all started this or changed it all by ourselves, but we did show that it’s possible by just doing it and taking a clear stance. But we also think we have grown as an important platform for DJs who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and we’re planning to keep expanding and maintaining that platform in order to also share it with artists from various disciplines. De School offers the perfect frame for this ambition and we can’t wait to get started. 

Also, what is De School most excited about regarding that residency? And what would you say is needed to find that sustainable collaboration between De School and SPIELRAUM as a community?

Sasha, Creative Head, DS: Most important is that we can give this community a home. I have seen Spielraum move and adapt to all these locations, giving them so much, a new and devoted crowd, the coolness of the queer community, and not getting much in return. I’m pretty sure they can run their own club, at this point, and I’m happy and proud we can share the time we have left in this building to grow together.
I think De School is most excited about working together on programming day and night, giving room for more in depth artistic endeavours. Spielraum has always had artistic programming at their parties but it was never fully supported or possible in the locations before. We now can develop all those ideas fully, bringing night and day together. Which is one of the goals DS has for these 15 months. 

Interview by MAGDALENA ROE

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