Vers Beton on the Queer scene and the change of nightlife in Rotterdam

Wed 17 Jun '20

Vers Beton’s recent article researches how Rotterdam’s queer community has grown in recent years. We are very humbled to be part of the journey of the community and able to facilitate amazing events such as the Gender Bender Party, KLAUW, Playgrounds organised by Kiki House of Angels and Queer Zine Club with Queer Rotterdam!


Here you can read the full article written by journalist Steff Geelen and for the English readers, you can see the summary below.

Illustration by Daan Timmer.

For podcast lovers, there is a new podcast called SPECTRUM about Queer Night Life! Click here! The first episode features Maerano Kalpoe speaking about KLAUW and Queer Night Life?

We can’t wait to be able to welcome you at WORM again!


English summary: “How the queer scene in Rotterdam began and changed the city nightlife”

The queer community has planted some seeds for new initiatives and now they harvest a countless amount of queer initiatives. They are supported by the people of Rotterdam and other surrounding places. It’s just recently that the blooming queer scene is started in Rotterdam by the Queers Unite Meeting, organised by the Gender Bending Queer Party and Non van Driel in 2018. It created a fundamental environment for following initiatives to grow. 

Following on from the first actions in 2018, queer events were popping out of the ground. Next to the club nights at WORM there were the vogue parties of Kiki House of Angels, Queer Performance Art Evenings, Queer Poetry Nights in Tender Center, support groups, game clubs, the demonstration, ‘Resist their Rainbows’ during the Rotterdam Pride and there was an exhibition about the queer history in Museum Rotterdam. 

Another idea that came out of the Queers Unite Meeting is the queer party in WORM: KLAUW. It is a collective that organizes a club night for the queer community four times a year at WORM, for black people and people of colour. Next to that, Queer Rotterdam was born; an organization that supports new initiatives on- and offline. 

The developments of the queer awareness were not only happening in the nightlife of Rotterdam. The political climate has also changed around the discourse of queer. And this supported the queer scene, says Iso from Queer Rotterdam. Iso says: “…there is more awareness about queer in general like the NS is now saying ‘dear travellers’ instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen’.”

It is important that the queer community feels safe. Because Pride does not represent everyone in the queer community they got critics from inside the queer community. To connect the community by several organized activities like KLAUW or Queer Poetry Night, it gives a more diverse platform for everyone to feel supported in a different way. 

The feeling of safety includes a safe door policy as well. The organizers of KLAUW are asked by club owners to arrange workshops for the clubs to create a safer space; although it is hard to create a completely safe environment. Some queer activities are held under the name ‘safer space’ to create a stage for queer artists, poets and spoken word artists. 

Rotterdam is a good place to develop your identity in a not-normative gender way. Next to the protests against institutions, you have to have fun. Altogether the queer initiatives hope to make the clubs in Rotterdam be more aware about the safety of the queer community. To continue with talking, thinking and reflecting. It would be a good thing if the organizers of the Rotterdam nightlife can take more action in the future to create a more inclusive policy and focus on everyone’s safety.