Media & Entertainment

Your nightlife review: De School, Amsterdam

From the graph paper used in all of their promotions to the tiled toilets and school-like backyard, the place has a truly particular vibe that weirdly fits perfectly with the techno parties held there. To me, De School has found perfect balance between cosy and industrial. However, the club has also been criticized for its strict door policy, its unfriendly staff and its crowd. So what is this all about?

What? A school?
Do not be fooled by the name, you won’t be studying there. De School, situated in Amsterdam West, is mainly known as a techno club, but is also home to a cafe, a restaurant, a concert hall and a gym (!). The name comes from the building: an old, industrial looking school building turned into a place of party and entertainment. I have to say, I love the oldskool vibe (pun intended) that the place gives off.

The Door Policy:
One thing that has struck me the most about De School is its very strict door policy which led to many angry reviews from rejected party-goers. I feel like there is such controversy over what’s happening at the door that it needs its own section..

Officially, the strictness of the bouncer is not a secret to anyone as the lengthy house rules section on their website warns you about all the situation in which you may be refused entry. A dressed shirt is indeed not seen as the kind of clothing fitting the vibe of the place – according to the rules – and can be a reason for refusal of entry. It seems that style in general, if the bouncer deems that the person does not fit the crowd, can be a reason to be refused entry.

What is my opinion on this? I am torn. On the one hand, should one be refused access to certain places based on the way they look? Shouldn’t a place that promote tolerance and respect amongst its crowd accept somebody who might be going to a techno party for the first time and may not look like the rest of the crowd but will nonetheless be respectful?

On the other hand, a door policy with strict by-the-book rules is a strong gatekeeper to filter any potential threat to other party-goers. As I have explained in another article, people go to parties to vent, and the overall experience can be quasi therapeutic. You do not want your freedom to express yourself through a weird outfit or the way you dance discredited by others. Furthermore, the door policy also acts as a tool to elevate people to their most thought-of outfit. Instead of settling for basic, knowing that the place appreciates and encourages you to dress in “characteristic clothing” might make you take that step to finally wear that outfit that you never dare to wear anywhere else.

So my advice is, if you are planning to go to De School, expect the doorman to be strict, even intimating. But as long as you are open-minded, you know what to expect inside and you have a generally good attitude, there shouldn’t be reasons for you to worry.

The Good:

  • The variety of events: not only parties but also concerts, art exhibitions, movie showings, all explained in their articles and newsletters.
  • The price: club nights tickets are between €10,- and €16,- no matter who the DJ is.
  • The location: Definitely one of my favorite aspect of the all experience is the space.
  • The soundsystem: six Funktion Ones + subs that provide a very clean sound experience and enough bass to make your all body tremble.
  • The people: they are here to dance their socks off, be themselves, show their alternative clothing style and have a good time.

The Bad:

  • The strict rules and door policy: even though it is easy to find the rules on the website and prepare accordingly, some people might be rejected on a too subjective basis. And being rejected from a club is a very degrading experience.
  • The crowd: especially for nights with a big artists, the club can rapidly feel way overpacked. But this is a hard truth for most clubs, unfortunately.

I think that, in essence, De School is an amazing techno club (if you manage to get in), where the regular-goers feel free to embrace their darkest, weirdest, most eccentric personna and where people going there for the first time either love that vibe and feel part of the family, or hate it but never plan to set foot in again.

Cover Illustration: Gabby Rialland / Final Editor: Ivo Martens

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Gabby Rialland
This French globe-trotter, with a disputable sense of humour, has found a true home in The Netherlands. After 4 years in Groningen, she indefinitely traded her French Baguette for a Broodje-kroket and moved to Amsterdam to pursue a Master in Communication Science. Gabby in one word: upbeat; as much in her personality as when she is behind the DJ decks. Some say it may be related to her caffeine addiction.

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