I have a soft spot for buildings that have a story to tell. It may have to do with the fact that I grew up in a city that dates back to the 1300s. I live in a boys’ infirmary from 1914, with a spooky cellar and ancient garden trees that more than compensate for the fact that there’s dust everywhere and our plumbing could do with a make-over. Buildings full of secrets are wonderful, especially if those secrets are visible even through any second or third layer of paint.
My love for ruin porn and Berlin’s use of old buildings is why Amsterdam’s recent repurposing hype delights me so. Places like Roest, Rijsel, Volkshotel, Cafe Modern and Tolhuistuin are ace even without their history but the fact that this generation is partying, eating, creating and sleeping under rooftops that used to cover buzzing factories, busy schools and industrial warehouses adds the one thing novelty cannot buy: experience.
Restaurant and cultural hub Old School, housed in a rather unattractive former school building in the far South of town, is the new old kid on the block. Their food is great – straightforward and pure – and their programming – offbeat club nights, summer patio gatherings – focuses on quality and originality. It’s not hard to imagine kids darting through Old School’s hallways, and that invites a bit of extra free spirit in its visitors too. Consider this my new playground.