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Sonic Spaces | De Nada - Amsterdam Rivierenbuurt

On a sunny fall day, the Steppin' team made its way to one of Amsterdam's quieter neighborhoods: Rivierenbuurt. We met Rutger the co-owner of De Nada, "casual wine and music bar in the former iconic Riverside bar".

After entering, we were immediately drawn to some shelves in the corner with records, a myriad of wine bottles, and a carefully placed print edition of 'JazzKissa', a magazine focusing on Japanese listening bars.

Tijmen de Nooy Photography

Timo: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your connection to this place & music? What was your inspiration to start this place?

Rutger: I'm Rutger, 32 years old and I'm passionate about music. I used to organize parties here in Amsterdam called 'Aspirations' from 2011 until 2017, but stopped doing that when I went traveling before the pandemic.

I did a working holiday in Australia and New Zealand before going to Japan. Camping in the wild and lots of long hikes got me thinking. I lived in Ibiza as well, doing seasonal work. I even took my records with me on these travels!

Tijmen de Nooy Photography

When I listen back to the music I listened to whilst traveling, it triggers certain memories. It's funny how that happens. Records have a lot of value as well, there's artwork, liner notes plus it's a physical thing with a size, shape, and color. You'll remember better when and where you got the record or the story behind it. Almost like a tiny piece of history!

Japanese listening bars are a big inspiration. The quality of Australian bars and restaurants as well. There are some bars in Paris. I love that Amsterdam has all these listening bars popping up now!

Why here? What’s your relationship to the neighborhood?

Rutger: My business partner Laurent and me started scouting for locations late 2020 and found the place in April. Must've been a Corona thing for the old owners. Or maybe they were done with the place, I don't know. We signed the contract about 5 months ago and have been renovating ever since.

Our relationship with the neighborhood is very important. It's a lively neighborhood with people from all walks of life. Before we took over the place, it used to be a bit of a restless corner. I think the neighborhood is happy with something new. But we don't wanna be a super slick winebar! It's nice to keep some of the old charms. Some of the old regulars still come here for drinks, which is nice. We even have some relics from the old place, Andre Hazes records:

Tijmen de Nooy Photography

We have a night license 'til 3 am (weekdays) and 4 am (weekend) so when things get back to the good old days we can do some fun stuff here.

Tell us about the sound system, please!

Rutger: It's an old beast of an amplifier from 1978, an English brand called Quad. Normally when you get something like this new, you spend a lot of money but we found it in Enschede through Marktplaats for a fraction of what you would normally pay!

Same goes for the speakers, found them in Germany. We scored them before we had the place. The mixer is a 4 channel rotary Omnitronic TRM-402

When we do events, we put a DJ setup in the corner but normally, we like the charm of a vinyl record. It's cool when there's a bit of silence in between tracks or when you have to flip the record or grab a new one.

What music can we expect here?

Rutger: It depends on the season and time of day, we find diversity very important. Now that summer is over, it will be less tropical, more music suited for candlelight like soft rock, and more jazzy music as well. From time to time we present theme nights under the name Viva Vivant; celebrating rhythms and flavors from different corners of the world. Shining light on specific regions and cultures combining music, wine, and food from each highlighted region.

Special records from Rutger's collection (Tijmen de Nooy Photography)

One of our favorites which we usually play at the end of the night is 'Vamonos' by Elkin & Nelson:

What’s in the name?

Rutger: A shared love for warm-blooded culture; shared dining, festive music, and overall passion for things that matter in life. Last but not least we like the wordplay when translating De Nada.

What about the team?

Rutger: My business partner Laurent has an everlasting passion for wine, working in this field for a good amount of time. He ran his own wine shop and used to manage Glou Glou, Amsterdam’s first natural wine bar for the last 4 years. Un momento dado we met via a common friend over a bottle of Fou du Roi, Le temps des Cerises by Axel Prüfer from our trusted supplier Vinatura. A special moment for both of us, we found out that both of us shared the same love for bringing people together over well-produced wine and good music. A few months later we decided to take the plunge, join forces and build De Nada as it is today.

Some of the wines on the menu (Tijmen de Nooy Photography)

What’s on the menu?

Rutger: Food-wise, we have a small selection of "bar food". 5-7 items on the menu, think good sourdough bread with some tasty sardines or some nicely aged cheese. From December, we'll have someone in the kitchen and change it up a bit.

Anything special about the place we should know about?

Rutger: We've been having a lot of fun with the lighting! We got Philips Hue lights for the whole place so I can play around with setting different scenes of lighting for different moods. It's fun to play with when we're here after a long day of work.

Tijmen de Nooy Photography

For the website artwork, we used the cover of an Italian New Age record from 1979 that's always been special to me. I often play it when I have trouble sleeping.

How much work went into the place?

We've been at it for 5 months but now we're open, it's just in the off days that we're working. There's still some work to be done. We got wood from Stadshout but still need to make the high tables and DJ booth from this wood. I'm also getting a little guilty pleasure for myself: a smoke machine!

Francois Wieringa (Google maps, 2017)

After our first meeting, we decided to come back to experience the place when truly alight, we met Rutger's business partner Laurent, got to spin some records, eat, and most certainly drank some lovely natural wines and ciders.

Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk
Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk
Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk
Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk
Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk
Photographed by Kay Tee Vlk

De Nada is located in Rivierenbuurt on the corner of Uiterwaardenstraat and Rijnstraat and is open from Thursday 'til Sunday between 16:00 and 00:00.


James Brown
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