At the moment, club culture and dance music seems like its on a racetrack; an endless competition to see who can create the biggest stage, blast the most lasers, invite the most famous artists and wrangle in the largest crowds. In the ever-expanding multiverse of club culture and nightlife, its difficult to not look towards the future; The money, the technology, the new experiences, the unknown is the forbidden fruit. As this trajectory becomes more and more of a reality, our understanding of why we created these spaces in the first place slowly decimates. Even after all the temptations to adapt to an ever-changing culture, one of Amsterdam’s most iconic spaces continues to hold nightlife’s core values.

Of the 200 venues included in Amsterdam Dance Event’s program, De School is one of the few that seems to be living in the present. It’s the only place you could go this past week where you wouldn’t find a camera in your face. Lying a few kilometers west of the city center, the compound better known as De School hosted a refreshing escape to the madness of ADE.

Every blue moon, De School presents its infamous het weekend, a 62+ hour marathon starting Friday night and ending early Monday morning. While the rest of the city boasts hundreds of nightly events events of international talent across the city, De School made a statement of its own, including a nearly Dutch-only lineup in this year’s het weekend. Some highlights include Miss Jay, Identified Patient, Carista, Interstellar Funk, to name a few.

While the music may draw the crowds from far and wide, its the seemingly endless rotation of art exhibitions that keep attendee’s on their toes. This year’s edition of Het Weekend included Dutch artist Philip Vermeulen who hosted multiple installations in various rooms throughout the complex. You can read more about his work here.

The only visible difference inside De School is the no photos policy, but its not just about that, its about the mentality. It’s about the ‘come as you are’ mentality, the approachable staff and security that deal with any situation no-questions-asked mentality, its the celebration of queer, trans, and marginalized artists mentality (T4T LUV NRG < 3 showcase, for example). Nightlife, dance music, and clubbing originated as an escape from the real world. Have we lost track of this?

In a culture that seems to be racing to the finish-line. De School is constantly engaging in queer discourse, pushing the boundaries of art, and exploring cutting edge design. This is not to say that De School is the solution to our problems. It is important, however, to acknowledge the spaces that give us those subtle reminders as to why dance music is so important in the first place.

For more information on De School, visit their website.