The nightlife industry is volatile by nature. Given the often enormous production costs that often go into every successful party (not even counting rent, permit and liquor license expenses), it can be a struggle just to break even on any given night, let alone maintain a successful business for an extended period of time. Nightclubs rise and fall constantly; names and owners cycle out faster than music trends. Once you’ve spent enough nights out, you come to realize it’s hardly something to lose any sleep over.
But when Amsterdam’s Trouw announced it would be throwing its last party, it fell heavy on the hearts of anyone who spent a night on its legendary dance floor and witnessed the magic that took place for over half a decade inside.
Once a newspaper printing press, Trouw was the first establishment in the Netherlands to receive a 24-hour liquor license from the city’s mayor, who of course celebrated by DJing at the club (it’s Amsterdam, after all).
“That changed everything for us – and for the city,” DJ and company founder Olaf Boswijk told Mixmag. “It basically meant that you could go clubbing whenever you want, not just when you’re told to.” Boswijk credited the milestone for helping to place Amsterdam’s club scene in the same conversation as Berlin, London and Ibiza.
Couple that with the vision and quality of talent Boswijk and his partners strove to maintain every night, and you have the recipe for the kind of venue that makes dance music history.
The club itself was named after a resistance newspaper published during German occupation. Trouw means faithfulness and loyalty, and since it’s first party in 2009 it has remained faithful and loyal to Boswijk’s vision: making sure that everything about Trouw, from the music to the industrial look and strategic layout of the venue (decks positioned in the center of the crowd at eye-level), had real meaning behind it.
Resident DJ Melon, who ran the club’s notorious Ratio parties, said Trouw was a “movement.” He told Mixmag, “a lot of big names played their first Dutch set at my night, which I’m so proud of.” According to Melon, Trouw never tried to compete with other clubs that were booking the more popular artists at the time, and instead strove to find acts that were up and coming or exploring new and different directions with their music.
Seth Troxler called the club “home,” and attended Trouw’s final three nights. “There are very few clubs in the world that have such incredible care and love for the creation they’ve made: the music, the food, the total experience,” he told Mixmag. “It will go down in the history of our times as one of the most notable spaces, like a modern-day Paradise Garage.”
On January 3, masses filled Trouw for the final time to say goodbye. There was no allowance for sad thoughts, though; Boswijk maintained that he had been preparing for this day since the club opened its doors six years ago, and he knew there would be no way to end other than on a climax. “It’s gone from something quite basic to us all creating things that we really believe in, fulfilling our dreams in any way we see possible,” he said. “We’ve always done so with the end date in mind, so it gets more intense as you progress; more energy and emotion. It’s a beautiful thing.”
While the party may have ended, Trouw will continue to live on as one of the greatest dance floors in dance music history, and as a place that changed the lives of so many who called it home.
Check out Seth Troxler answering the Trouw phone during its final nights.