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Tuesday, 2 March, I listen to the Van Woustraat, from 20.30 to 22.30, just before and after curfew. That sounds very typical. I made some recordings, have a listen;

20.30 It is busy in the street. Everyone is trying to get inside before curfew. Cyclists, alone or in small groups, whizz through the streets in a hurry. There is a lot of chatter. Red traffic lights are ignored, at the risk of one’s life. On Van Woustraat, the speed limit for cars is 30, but nobody sticks to it. Loud music blares from many passing cars. There is an excited atmosphere, as if something is about to happen somewhere in the city that everyone wants to attend – a championship? A few joggers do their rounds. People with dogs walk home from Sarphatipark.

9.30 pm. The curfew has started. What a difference from three quarters of an hour ago in terms of noise. But it is not yet completely quiet. The food delivery people race their scooters and mopeds across the street, unhindered by other traffic. Every now and then, a single cyclist sneaks along as if he wants to remain unseen. The delivery man from the supermarket unloads the groceries and rolls them to the customers with a trolley. Two almost empty trams thunder past. They pass each other on the Tweede Jan Steenstraat. A boy and a girl do a ‘civil disobedience’ dance in the middle of Van Woustraat.

From afar the sound of tram line 3 on Ceintuurbaan can be heard. Further on, a single van is unloading. Two men shout something at each other, which sounds very different from usual, very hollow. Every now and then, a police car drives through the street. There are only a few meal deliverers left. Apart from that it is eerily quiet.

by Renate Zentschnig


met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West Het huis van Amsterdam Soundtrackcity