About the Night Mayor of Amsterdam

The Night Mayor is an important sounding board and active partner in discussion for all participants in the night; this includes the City Council, entrepreneurs and local residents. The Night Mayor is a thorn in the side of the City Council, but is also someone who can strike the right tone in order to accomplish set goals. By creating a mutual understanding, the Night Mayor changes the game.

Who is the Night Mayor of Amsterdam?

Freek Wallagh is the current Night Mayor of Amsterdam. As a (performing) poet, event organiser and political scientist, he has been advocating for nightlife communities for years. A true Amsterdammer, he has been working in local nightlife since the age of 15, starting his career as an interviewer and writer in the Red Light District. 

Night Mayor Freek Wallagh Photo by Eva Plevier

In Amsterdam the function of Night Mayor is connected to the Stichting N8BM A’DAM is an independent non-profit foundation that is dedicated to a lively, diverse and inclusive nightlife. We commit ourselves to this goal by connecting people and organisations. As well as this, we keep a close eye on emerging social trends within night culture, and if necessary we take the lead on these developments.

The foundation’s main goals are to put nightlife on the agenda of our politicians and society at large, stimulate subculture and contribute to a diverse, social and ethnically inclusive night for all the people of Amsterdam to enjoy.

The foundation’s work is important for the night, and because of that, important for the city of Amsterdam. The social, cultural and economic features of the night lead to a city that is innovative, lively and accommodating.

Both on request and on its own initiative, Stichting N8BM A’DAM advises the Mayor, City Council and the creative sector of the night. We have been a sounding board during the development of the new policies concerning festivals and an important party in the creation of the pilot for the Rembrandtplein Gastvrij (Hospitable Rembrandt Square) project, as well as meeting with the mayor of Amsterdam several times a year.

Because of its pioneering character, the foundation is requested on a regular basis to share its expertise. Following Amsterdam’s example, London, Paris, Zurich, New York and Tokyo are among the cities in various stages of appointing their own Night Mayor.

Vision on the night

  • The night should be culturally diverse and socially and ethnically inclusive
  • The night should be stimulating, and push boundaries; this way it distinguishes itself from the functions and value(s) of the day.
  • The facts and a sense of vision should determine the policies of the City Council concerning nightlife, not the emotions of a singular group.
  • Quality and substance should be the principles leading those who shape nightlife, not haughty furniture or expensive champagne.
  • Be bold: innovation can only take place in an environment were people aren’t caught up in a fear of failure.
  • Connections between the bottom up and top down structures are vital; without them, change becomes impossible.
  • A healthy cooperation and dialogue between the City Council and Amsterdam’s nightlife. Stichting N8BM A’DAM offers the City Council new perspectives and ideas concerning nightlife. It is up to politicians to take these contributions and integrate them into comprehensive policy.
  • Visibility and recognition form the basis of change.
  • If we’re afraid to call things by their name and acknowledge existing problems, we will lack the kind of insight that forms the basis of our ability to change or influence behaviour.