Amsterdam’s Bijlmerbajes prison converts into club and culture hub

Amsterdam’s Bijlmerbajes prison converts into club and culture hub

2 minutes to read

Closed in 2016, the abandoned prison of Bijlmerbajes is currently home to thousands of refugees in Amsterdam and is set to undergo transformations into a cultural center and neighbourhood complex. A dedicated space in one of the prison towers has been converted into a pop-up club — by Dutch music promoter Audio Obscura — and is scheduled to open late 2018.

Amsterdam's Bijlmerbajes prison is now home to BIG art. The 7,5 hectare site is currently undergoing major transformations and demolition to convert into a pedestrian and environmentally friendly cultural and living complex. Between the 11 and 14 of October 2018, 5000m2 of space is dedicated to art and hosts 80 extra large artworks from acclaimed names to emerging artists. This major temporary art exhibition lays out the ground work and vision the city has for its new innovative, green and cultural neighbourhood in Bijlmer.

© Photography by Coebergh Communicatie via Instagram.

Located East of Amsterdam, close to Amsterdam Amstel station, the cultural hub includes space for start-ups, a language school and a coffee shop. "Dutch prisons are so empty they're being turned into homes for refugees" shared The World Economic Forum on a humorous note. Since 2017, the prison hosts not only art shows but is also home to a thousand of refugees who have come to seek asylum in The Netherlands.

Last year, Dutch music promoters Audio Obscura announced three upcoming gigs to be hosted at Bijlmerbajes prison during Amsterdam Dance Event, Europe’s largest electronic music convention. The promoter is known for its selected headliners and massive techno parties in unconventional locations - such as Amsterdam Central station - across The Netherlands. Their announcement of a prison rave and new club didn’t go unnoticed; big titles in the press, sold out tickets and ADE’s most anticipated new venue opening. A lot of excitement with a twist, as the promoter announced the cancellation of their Bijlmer prison events during Amsterdam Dance Event a week before its happening. “We are discussing to promote new Bijlmer prison events for later this year or early 2019 when the current conditions that made us stop do not apply anymore” shared Audio Obscura in a facebook statement. The highly anticipated prison venue will thus convert into a pop-up club between late 2018 to early 2019 before the demolishing of the towers.

© Photo credit by Andrew Black via Flickr.

The upcoming cultural center of Bijlmer prison will include a school, a cinema, green gardens, luxury apartments and areas for fitness and recreation. With Amsterdam's increasing population and demand for housing and cultural spaces, every inch of the city is carefully planned and mapped out. The prison's location in upcoming hipster neighbourhood of Amsterdam Oost - where modern and traditional mix to new highs - is especially exciting. Neighbouring projects include the Tropen museum, Café Roest and many other trendy restaurants and bars. it is certain that Bijlmerbajes's new culture hub will attract exciting projects and hopefully continue experimental culture and events, like the once famous Cruquiusguilde.

For now, Rave On'.

Read further on my clubbing guide to Amsterdam Oost.

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The author

Isabel Elwood

Isabel Elwood

I am Isabel, Yoga Lover and Techno Schmetterling. I am passionate by everything that touches art and the soul ... as well as electronic music, which I write about.

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