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So you’ve come to Amsterdam and brought your rollerblades. Congratu-fucking-lations. But exactly how are you gonna get you and your sorry crew out of the coffee shops and into them boots? Conventional wisdom says you need a spot guide. But conventional wisdom talks out its ass. Spot guides are useless because spot guides will only tell you where you could go. Which isn’t nearly the same as knowing where you should go. So, to help you prevent wasting precious sober-time on second- or third-rate spots, we proudly present: Play your cards right! – The definitive Amsterdam spot guide.
Written by Gijs Peetsold
Photography by Remy Cadier, Bojd Vredevoogd, Dominic Swagemakers, Roel Verhoeven, Liedjevoordegek, Maarten de Ru, Rick the Dick from Ho Land & Maarten Vos
Here’s what we’ve done. We’ve taken 52 of Amsterdam’s best spots and valued them like playing cards. The system is simple enough even for you to understand. Spots that suck rank low. Spots that rock rank high. In general Clover is parks and everything remotely park-ey. Hearts are spots with a lot of history. Spades are spots that you get kicked out of or look like you get kicked out of. Diamonds are reserved for hard, scary or gnarly spots with one notable exception: the Ace of Spades is – obviously – the hardest, ballsiest spot of them all.
Deuce of Spades: Sloten Banks
Here’s one card you don’t hope to see when you are playing the big blind on a short stack by the end of the evening. But you might, and the Sloten Banks might show you the equally unwanted sight of a broken hand, broken wrist or even leg. Somehow this sort-of-okay, innocent-looking spot has claimed more victims than auto-erotic asphyxiation. Go there if you are really into that sort of thing but otherwise, steer clear.
Deuce of Clover: Kadoelenpool
Deuce of Hearts: Apollo house
Deuce of Diamonds: Lijnden rail
Three of Hearts: Amsterdam Arena
Yes, I can already hear the Dutch skate community shout its collective what the fuck?! as if it just lost its all-in bet to a Royal Straight completed on the river. But this famous spot, once a fixture of the Truth Real Street Comp isn’t what it used to be. The easy-enough double rails in front of the Arena are gone. So you have nothing to warm up on before you move to the big-ass triple kink or the scary steep rails, which decreases the odds of you skating these from near-zero to actual-zero.
Three of Clover: Rai Curbs
Three of Spades: Atlas curbs
Three of Diamonds: White Drop ledge
Four of Clover: Bijlmer Roll-in
Why is this spot Clover? Cuz it’s a naturally occurring park obstacle. Why is it a four? Because Remy Cadier is part of the UH44 and for reasons now lost to history, this is really his spot. And why do you get the feeling there is no system here and I’m just making shit up as I go along? Because the weed is making you paranoid. Again.
Four of Spades: Mercatorplein
Four of Hearts: Marnix Gap
Four of Diamonds: Noord Blue Rail
Five of Diamonds: A J Ernststraat Blues
It’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Betting on a five is generally considered stupid. That is, unless all of your bitch-ass friends limp in on your big blind and the turn produces two more fives. That’s kinda what AJ Ernststraat is like: it’s scary, sort of steep and square, with a drop on the left and a kink on the right but if you have the balls to skate it that day you might just come out feeling like a winner.
Five of Clover: Noord Dirk rails
Five of Spades: Amstelveen kink
Five of Hearts: Blauwe rail Amstelveen
Six of Spades: Marcanti
The Dutch for Spades is "Schoppen" which happens to be synonymous with kicking. Maracnti looks like someone’s backyard and even after half an hour you’ll still feel as if someone will come and kick you out at any moment. That never happens though. We made it the six because if you don’t have enough jumping power, the tall metal ledge in the middle might as well be six feet high
Six of Clover: ABN Bankjes
Six of Hearts: Jan van Galen rails
Six of Diamonds: Bijlmerledge
Seven of Hearts: Binnenhof
There are three types of losing. Two will be familiar: losing because you played and losing because you didn’t play. The third kind is familiar to those who skated Binnehof in its heyday: losing the ability to play altogether. Skaters, skateboarders and goddamn BMX-pegs ultimately messed up the once-perfect edges beyond salvation. But even if the seven fat years are over, it remains skateable and the big-ass black handrails around the corner stand as monuments to this once great spot.
Seven of Clover: Bijlmer Pool
Seven of Spades: De Waaijer
Seven of Diamonds: Bijlmer Gemeentehuis ledge
Eight of Clover: IJ-oever bankjes
First thing: "bankjes" means benches and that has nothing to do with banks. So why the Clover? Well, my perceptive reader, in a word: coping. That’s why. These bankjes have been adorned with a half-inch-diameter iron bar making them that much more pleasant to skate. The waterside view, proximity to Central Station and the perfect asphalt all help to turn this girl-next–door-spot into… well, into something you’ll want to grind.
Eight of Spades: Business School
Eight of Hearts: Vrije Universiteit (VU)
Eight of Diamonds: Henk Sneevlietweg rails
Nine of Diamonds: CS Rail
We are, of course, defined not by our achievements but by our shortcomings. So what’s wrong with CS rail? Well, nothing! And that’s exactly it. Run up: perfect. Rail: perfect. Landing: perfect. It’s not a bust, it’s not crowded, there isn’t even a residential muttering hobo to jizz in your juice. Which means that if you go there, you’ll have no excuse. You’ll have to skate it. But ask yourself beforehand: will you?
Nine of Clover: HEMA
Nine of Spades: Gelderlandplein
Nine of Hearts: Hoogoord double set
Ten of hearts: Spinoza Ledge
Somehow a ten always seems like a good card to play. But in poker it’s really not that impressive. Spinoza ledge has that quality too. You’ll do something on it and get all excited but then you’ll see the footage and realize you’re just grinding any ole ledge. I recently figured out why tens are exciting. They’re so good in Blackjack that the feeling leaks into poker. Spinoza would have called this type of realization a transfer from passive to active emotion. He argued this is way to truth. I still always play a ten. I usually lose the hand.
Ten of Clover: Museum Square miniramp
Ten of Spades: La Place ledges
Ten of Diamonds: NEMO
Jack of Clover: Olympia Skatepark
A Jack is called a Boer in Amsterdam, the same word used for out-of-towners. Locals usually display a low opinion about the Boeren and they certainly display low opinions about Olympiaplein skatepark. Yet much as the city would be helpless without the Boeren and their fat, farm-rearing wallets, the Amsterdam scene would be helpless without the park. So ignore the inevitable puffs and sighs of your jaded local acquaintances and head here for a nice warm-up session.
Jack of Spades: Bruggetje handicap-rails
Jack of Hearts: Osdorp curbs
Jack of Diamonds: Onderuit flatrail
Queen of Clover: SMART banks
Go for the quirky girl. The smart one, the fun one, the one with the sense of humor and the ability make you smile. Forget about high heels and makeup and skimpy dresses and attitudes and all the other contraptions you have been tricked into thinking of as attractive only to make women spend money on bullshit. Go to the SMART banks for as long as the building remains empty. Or stick with the shallow bitch bleeding you for drinks and wake up to regret it.
Queen of Spades: Max Euweplein
Queen of Hearts: Sloterdijk
Queen of Diamonds: IJburg rail
King of Hearts: Amstel Area
We are Amstel, king of Amstel, Sovereign of the Kink Enormous, Keeper of the Double set, Earl of Rail to Rail, Purveyor of the Red Metal, Duke of the Waverail and the Legend of IMYTA. We are the Knight Maker and we are, when you really think about it, a pretty impressive bunch of spots situated improbably close together and next to a railway station to boot!
King of Clover: Marnix pool
King of Spades: World Fashion Center
King of Diamonds: Weesperplein planters
Ace of Spades: KPMG
The biggest meanest thing in town has only just been opened up and by no small names. Pascal Tan has a backroyale on the long ledge, Edwin Wieringh a topsoul on the steep ledge. And that’s about it! Considering that these guys would 360 topsoul your mom, that is surprisingly little, so far. And that may all be well and good I hear you say, but where’s the Motorhead reference? You know what, I’m not gonna do it. I ain't. It makes no difference what you say.
Ace of Clover: Kikker
Ace of Hearts: Zuid WTC
Ace of Diamonds: IJburg ledge
Check out more articles from the Be-Mag Amsterdam Week here.
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