We step inside TrouwAmsterdam before it gets exported

The legendary Dutch club is bringing a bit of their magic to Village Underground. Dan Davies gives programmer and DJ, Olaf Boswijk a quick call to discuss their methods.


Is there a Trouw philosophy?

Well, Trouw means “loyal” or “faithful” we got the name because it was also one of the national newspapers and their printing press was in the building that we moved to. It still is a newspaper actually, it started in the Second World War as a resistance newspaper. We kind of liked that it stood for that counter-culture and also thought that original meaning was relevant to us.

We wanted to get the basics right, the sound and the lighting In particular, if we did that well we had a good starting place. Actually, the sound is great because it was a printing press the building was treated to absorb the noise. We always liked good food, so it was then quite natural to open a restaurant in the complex. Finally we had a basement space so we thought why not offer that out as an art space? So it kind of grew organically, the real philosophy and manifesto followed a few years afterwards.

Was the residency legal to begin with?

Oh yes, it was very legal. In fact the people that owned it (a real estate company) were really happy that we were using the space. For years it was really a sleeping giant in the centre of Amsterdam, everyone knew it, but it was ugly from the outside. They hadn’t been inside and seen the beauty of it and we built around that. It’s true that we follow our own tastes to make our dreams come true. Funnily, over the years the more we got closer to that idea of doing what we liked, the more successful we got.

The building is temporary, we have to leave in a year which will be sad. But the relationships we’ve built will mean that new projects will be born.


What do you look for in the music you programme – is it just the coolest thing?

It’s not the coolest thing because the coolest thing is always too much hype. I like to think that the musician and DJs we programme will still be relevant in ten years’ time.  It should be contemporary, it shouldn’t just look back to old heroes, there should also be a future element. People use the word quality too much but it needs to have that characteristic. People like Andrew Weatherall, Tom Trago have been strong for a long time and will still be relevant for a long time to come.

What art connections have you made?

We have a long term relationship with Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art) and with Eye, the Dutch Film Institute. We do video installations mostly and we have exhibits that are open at night, that expose young clubbers to high quality art. We’re approaching them in the place they like to go and their senses are open. We’ve also got a series of performances organised with the Concertgebouw, the classical music hall which will be really interesting collaborative music.


Tell me a bit more about your food policy?

It’s a vegetable restaurant, there’s veg growing all over the restaurant and the club actually because we think it’s beautiful. The food we cook is Mediterranean by which I mean Spain, Portugal all the way over to the Middle East. It’s Mediterranean also in the sense that you just get a table and have small plates that you all share with meat and fish as well. In a way we’re inspired by London and Ottolenghi home-style cooking too; we like lots of colour very fresh food. Good for the body and good for the soul – nothing too high cuisine. We cater for young people who want a quick snack before dancing in the club, through to a couple in their 50s who live around the corner.

How did you hear about Village Underground?

Jorge  approached us asking if we were interested with working with you – and we were. We really liked the building and we really liked the fact that art played a big part. We seem to have similar goals and philosophy. Hopefully, we’ll collaborate a few times really establish something in the long term.

-®Rene Passet

What can we expect on the night?

We like the idea of Trouw Takeover and we’re going to symbolise that with flags. We thought it would be cool to have our own flags and the DJs will have their own flags too. The artists we’re bringing over are Tom Trago who is a resident and runs the Voyage Direct label, which is part of Rush Hour. We’ve got San Proper – one of Amsterdam’s true Rock ‘n’ Roll house legends – he has a  studio in our building. Then we’ve got Job Jobse who’s the new youngster on the block and runs the Life and Death label – and I’ll be DJing too. Two of our visual light guys will be coming over. We like the world in between light and visuals. We love analogue slide projectors rather than LCD screens.

Trouw Takeover will be taking place on 30th November tickets available here.