While the whole city of Amsterdam depends on it’s mayor during the day, the nightlife has a leader of their own: the night mayor. Ramon de Lima (29) took on the position to be a spokesperson for nightlife at the foundation Night Mayor of Amsterdam (N8BM). But what is it about the night that intrigues him?
“Advocating for night culture”, Ramon calls it. He builds bridges between the nightlife in Amsterdam and the municipality of Amsterdam, but also between the other players in the city. He is the spokesperson for everyone who contributes to the nightlife or is interested in the night. When Ramon was twenty-one, he found out what night culture meant. “Night culture is more than drugs and alcohol, it’s a community,” Ramon says. He started writing about the night culture in different magazines, like DJBroadcast. “The nightlife pushes you to be independent and inventive: you do big things with little input,” he continues. He wanted to be a part of that community, that’s when the foundation crossed his path. He has been working for the foundation for six years now. First as a volunteer and now as the night mayor, which he has been for two years. “The nightlife has to be accessible for everyone: to visit or to be part of the community,” Ramon explains. He wants to build a better nightlife, but Covid dictates the agenda for the nightlife and his function.
Foundation Night Mayor Amsterdam
The independent foundation consists of five people and gives the municipality advice. That means that they are not a part of the government, but serve as an independent advice organization. Every month they have a meeting with the municipality to discuss what has been noticed during the nightlife and to discuss the recent developments within the last month. Where to direct more attention from the municipality, but also from the foundation.
The foundation initiates their own projects. Their mission is to create an inclusive, diverse and lively nightlife in Amsterdam. That means they keep an eye on new trends, what happens during the night and what the needs of the community are. And to direct more attention to social projects, such as the safety on the dancefloor.
The foundation was established in 2003, when the nightlife in Amsterdam was
non-existent. In Amsterdam you had some clubs, but they were boring. “The municipality thought the nightlife didn’t mean anything and they came up with ridiculous rules: even a dance pole in a club was forbidden and that was the ultimate setback,” says Ramon. This was one of the reasons for someone to stand up for the night. They wanted to prove that the night is not only about drugs and alcohol. It is also a stage for talent development, art, culture and a social meeting point. There was a big need for a night mayor. City councilor Marco de Goede stated that there had to be a night mayor in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the first city who professionalized the night mayorship, which resulted in other big cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney to follow. Ramon gives advice on how to implement the night mayorship in other countries.
One of the most important projects Ramon is working on is called Club Ethics, which has been initiated to enhance social safety standards on the dance floor. The project was started in 2017. “From research and sources we found out that women and minority groups have to deal with cross-border behaviour and discrimination. The responsibility is that of the clubs,” Ramon explains. The clubs think that it’s very important to do something about the safety on the dancefloor, but they don’t know how and where to begin. “Together with my team, we wrote a plan so clubs can connect. By means of workshops and trainingships, clubs have some guidelines to stick to,” he says.
Ramon hopes that the next night mayor can continue the projects like Club Ethics and he wishes that his successor will be just as committed as he is. “After seven years at the foundation, I think this will be my last year. I want to give other people opportunities and I’m almost 30. But I’ll always be part of the night community,” Ramon says. The next election will be in Spring 2022.