Last Saturday (24/02/2018) the people of Amsterdam elected their new night mayor for the next two years. Shamiro van der Geld will replace Mirik Milan, who held office for the past six years. Hence it is time to look to the past, present, and future of Amsterdam’s nightlife ambassador - an honourable duty.
In 2002 the city chose its first night mayor. The idea behind this was to assign a representative for the the city's thriving night-culture, to deal with problems as well as the positive site of life in the after-hours. Although Rotterdam was the first city in the Netherlands to have a night mayor - poet Jules Deelder - Amsterdam formally institutionalised the job. Each night mayor ever-since had a specific interest, for example DJ Isis (2010-2012) strived for more flexibility in the city by way of 24-hour permits for clubs. Mirik Milan (2012-2018) successfully continued this process, working together closely with former "daytime" mayor Eberhard van der Laan.
The responsibility of the night mayor is two-sided: on the one hand nightlife typically causes nuisance for daytime workers, who find their streets left like a war zone at dusk and have to sleep through the sound pollution. On the other hand, nightlife for many offers an escape from day-to-day drags and it is the time where one can expect the unexpected. To balance these two sides and make the city liveable yet fun, the night mayor makes concessions on behalf of both parties, and turns problems into opportunities in order to let cultural life blossom.
Practical examples of Milan's actions are the instalment of more female-friendly public toilets, the dimming of massive screens in the streets to lower light pollution, and the rendering of 24-hour permits to clubs outside of the city centre to decrease the pressure on downtown and surrounding neighbourhood shortly after closing time.
Currently there are over a dozen night mayors in the Netherlands, and even abroad the they are being installed. Mayor metropoles like London and New York have recently inaugurated a night mayor according to the example set by Amsterdam. In England's capital she mostly deals with countering monopolisation and homogenisation of bars, venues, and clubs. As for the Big Apple, this city is in a cultural struggle under federal right-winged policies.
The next two years in Amsterdam the nocturnal chief in command will be Shamiro van der Geld. During his campaign he plead for more multiculturality in the EDM scene, and special attention for local centres and communal venues. The stakes are high for a city with nightlife as thriving as Amsterdam, but either way it is good to know we, the ravers, have someone on our side - a rebel in a suit.
[ More info: https://nachtburgemeester.amsterdam/english/ ]
[ In 2020 Dr. Music will opt for the position of night mayor ]