Amsterdam, a city famed for its nightlife extravaganza, has introduced a nachtburgemeester (“night mayor”) in a bid to keep a lid on evening shenanigans. The nighttime economy is big business these days and Toulouse, Zurich, and Paris have all followed suit meanwhile London and Berlin have their eyes set on one too.
Mirik Milan is Amsterdam’s first night mayor. Once a club promoter, he was voted-in online. He and his team patrol the Rembrandtplein party square during the early hours of the morning keeping things in check urging partygoers to “Stay classy, think neighbours, drink inside, use a loo.”
However, the promise of nighttime economic prosperity may be at odds with locals. Residents aren’t too happy with a booming nightlife on their front door. In London, 35 percent of the city’s “grassroots” venues have been shut down in the past decade due, in part, to noise complaints.
Rising rents and licensing can also threaten venues for music and drinking. For instance, there are growing fears from the UK’s music industry that London is losing all its “grassroots” music venues. Amsterdam too is home to the Dutch Dance industry (specifically electronic dance music clubbing events), estimated to be worth $670 million, something surely worth safeguarding.
Night Mayor Milan has endorsed a solution that removes partygoers from the city center: 24-hour licensing for suburban venues that would free to decide whenever they open or close. This would halt the mass exodus of clubbers who usually spill onto city streets when venues close around four in the morning. Instead, people will gradually filter out of a club at different times.
Speaking to the Guardian Milan said, “Late-night people are typically young, educated, creative, entrepreneurial – people you want in your city, and who work in the creative industries and startups you also want. If places like Berlin have flourished, it’s not just because of low rents. It’s because they’re nightlife capitals.”
Amsterdam’s mayor by day, Eberhard van der Laan also spoke highly of the scheme and his nighttime counterparts role. “Cities increasingly want to be 24-hour. In some respects many already are, though few really cater for it,” he said.”But cities also have to stay nice places for the people who work, live and sleep in them. It’s not always an easy balance to strike. The night mayor helps us understand the issues better, from all sides, and come up with innovative solutions—like 24-hour licenses. Everyone benefits. It makes a real difference in Amsterdam.”