A new club called Shelter will open during this year's Amsterdam Dance Event.
Shelter, located below street level on the IJ riverbank, has already secured a 24-hour license. It's a collaboration between Merijn van den Heuvel, Kolja Verhage and Milan van Ooijen, three Amsterdam house and techno veterans who have experience working in clubs and organisations such as AIR, Trouw, LET and Deep House Amsterdam. With space for 700 people and a Funktion-One soundsystem, Shelter will primarily host house and techno, but will provide room in the programming for more leftfield sounds.
October's launch weekend, taking place during ADE, gives an idea about what to expect at Shelter. There will be sets from Jackmaster, Moodymann and Tom Trago (Thursday the 20th), Serge, DJ Stingray, Legowelt and I-F (who represent Clone on Friday the 21st), Voices From The Lake, Peter Van Hoesen, Marco Shuttle and Svreca (playing for a Semantica night on Saturday the 22nd) and Joris Voorn (who plays an all-night set on Sunday the 23rd).
We caught up with Shelter booker and creative director Kolja Verhage to find out more about the new venture.
How did the team behind Shelter come together?
The ways in which the team came together are pretty funny. Seth Troxler is the one constant in this story. Firstly, Merijn, the club's general manager, was looking for someone to handle the creative side of Shelter early this year. He had a couple of people in mind and I was one of them. However, we had never actually met, which was pretty surprising for two people who had been going to the same parties for more than a decade in a scene that is relatively small.
One night I was at De School for Seth Troxler's first all-nighter there. I think it was in February. At one point while the party was at full steam I went to the toilet area where I was stopped by Merijn, who introduced himself. We started talking and before we knew it we were having this super long and wide-ranging conversation about pretty much anything to do with dance music, culture and clubbing. From that talk I knew that I had met this like-minded kind of spirit that you only come across every so often.
With our history in clubbing, Merijn at AIR and me at Trouw, we had the exact same ideas about what the Amsterdam scene was waiting for, or those important differences that make some clubs good and others legendary. It was here that Merijn told me that he was in the early stages of setting up a new club and was looking for a partner.
In the following months I got to know Merijn better and better and became more confident that this was the path I was going to take. In early May we officially started with project Shelter. Since then it's been one amazing rollercoaster.
I also got introduced to Milan, the third member in the team, through Seth. In September we met for the first time in Ibiza where we both were for a short holiday and Seth's birthday. We got to know each other while partying at the Pikes Hotel, where Seth had his bash. After that we kept in touch in Amsterdam.
Fast forward to this summer, and Milan had shown interest in joining Merijn and myself in our adventure as the communications manager. With Milan's extensive background in publishing and as editor-in-chief of a major news outlet, we knew he had the experience. We quickly learned he was also the right man to set the tone of voice of our club. That's kind of how it all came together.
What does applying for a 24-hour license involve?
Any business can apply for a 24-hour license, but clubs need to add something unique to the nightlife in our city. Once all the different municipal bodies are in agreement that giving your club a 24-hour license won't upset neighbours (too much) and is a positive development for the nightlife culture in Amsterdam, they will award you with the permit.
Having our 24-hour license doesn't mean we'll start doing 24-hour-plus parties immediately. Amsterdam doesn't have a strong 24-hour culture yet, but together with our lovely Night Mayor and clubs like De School and Radion, who also have a 24-hour license, we're trying to organically build this culture. But there's still a long way to go. For example, it's almost impossible to get proper food in Amsterdam after 1 AM.
Tell us about the soundsystem.
We'll start out with a Funktion-One system for the first three months, after which we'll begin a rigorous process of testing with other systems to make a decision on what the final soundsystem is going to be. Among the systems we'll be testing are Martin Audio, d&b, Sonic Labs Audio, Pioneer, plus several others.Tickets to these events are available here on RA.