What we learnt at ‘Party People’

5 reasons to visit the Museum Rotterdam show.


Founded in 1905, Museum Rotterdam is a place that reflects the history and lives of the fabled gateway to Europe. Once the biggest port in the world, Rotterdam’s location, history of trade and working-class environment have nurtured and generated a distinctive night culture. A form of escapism that, despite its sound originating in the US, flourished and developed locally through the abundance of derelict and dilapidated buildings and warehouses dotted across the city.

Party People is an exhibition that highlights and exposes 30 years of electronic music, from house and hip-hop to hardcore, amongst Rotterdammers and sound-seeking sightseers. It celebrates great institutions and venues such as Corso, Club Eye, Perron, NOW&WOW, Annabel, Gay Palace, Imperium, Mono and many more. Glamcult was fortunate enough to be given a guided tour by show curator Sjouk Hoitsma, and here presents five reasons why you should skip the duvet and join the silent disco (yes, there are room-themed headsets).


As you approach the sliding doors of Museum Rotterdam, you’ll spot neon pink angels flocking and fleeting towards the entrance hall. Designed by Studio Vollaerszwart, also responsible for Breton-striping up the city for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at Kunsthal, these ‘PP’ butterflies are symbolic of Party People realm, drawing dawdling eyes to the main attraction.


Once paid and ticketed, you’ll be greeted by clubbing regalia past and present. Loitering around an Olaf Mooij DJ Mobile (it’s legal to drive and you can hire it), every mannequin is dressed by a local Rotterdammer in garments from their personal wardrobe, even high-end designer pieces such as Walter Van Beirendonck and Off-White are on display. Each mannequin carries a nightclub lanyard, acting as a birth certificate of a child with given names, music preferences and club recommendations.


Not to be mistaken with Justin Timberlake in the ‘Rock Your Body’ era circa 2002, any Dutch person can tell you what ‘gabber’ is. But just in case: gabbers—the genre personified—are easily identifiable by their shaven head, fluorescent shell suits (Australian-made preferably) and Nike Air-Max trainers. Generally high on uppers such as speed and MDMA, a gabber is naughty yet also a dear friend—who you’ll still today find worshipping DJ Paul Elstak or wandering the streets of Japan. Curious for more? Find out where hardcore is at today.


Innocent as the name sounds, bubbling as a dance form—most commonly known as grinding or, more self-explanatory, dry fucking—peaked in the Netherlands of the ’90s and hasn’t disappeared since. Allegedly, DJ Moortje introduced bubbling to the Dutch in 1988 at the Imperium in Westzeedijk (not the spoilt kids on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16). In case you want to relive the bubbling heyday, simply turn to Moortje’s PartyFlock or, well, Museum Rotterdam.


Overall the most touching and sentimental aspect of Party People is the original décor and ornaments from Rotterdam’s beloved clubs of all times. The iconic neon ‘NIGHTTOWN’ sign sits proudly at the start of the exhibition, lovingly restored for those who remember its closure back in 2006. A segment from the first sustainable dance floor from Club Watt is free to jump and slide on, and soiled blow-up smiley faces fill the sky. With Rotterdam’s nightlife currently in a much bleaker place, we hope the future is as bright as the past.

Opstaan voor de nacht

Opstaan voor de nacht ✊ Stand up for the night! Speakers: Shamiro Van Der Geld, Thys Boer & Hajo Doorn. DJ-Set by DAVID VUNK aka the Vunkenator aka Vunkos!!!

Geplaatst door Operator op Woensdag 20 februari 2019


Words by Lawrence Harrison

Exhibition photography: Naomi van Heck


Party People

Museum Rotterdam

12 January – 23 June, 2019



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