How and where to soak up Amsterdam’s street soccer culture

How and where to soak up Amsterdam’s street soccer culture

Dutch street soccer is world renowned and you can see the influence of street soccer back in various Amsterdam neighbourhoods. Squares with lofty names like Nikeplein (Nike Square), Balboaplein, the Iepenplein and the Louis de Visser are meant to be important football-innovation hotspots. 
As a tourist you can experience this scene first hand. That is because the street football story of Amsterdam is not just a feel-good fairy tale that comes to live only during the World Cup, but living proof of its vibrant existence.

The new tricks that street soccer players come up with, frequently through an innocuous boredom mixed with makeshift ingenuity, find their way to the professional level and can be ultimately taken on board. Witness to this are star players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Christian Ronaldo. After a football star attaches their name to a move, they will have entered, as it goes, immortality. Dutch soccer has spawned, not just a few, but many legends, many of whom fly around the globe to transfer their soccer skills to others. Think of Edward van Gils, Calvin Blankendal and Bouchra Ait L’hou. 

A few of these gentlemen also feature in the popular game FIFA Street, where they are seen playing on the streets, with Lionel Messi. 
All this makes for a tremendously interesting exhibition about street football. That’s what the people at the exhibition centre ImageIC thought too. In 2008, they began actively gathering material documenting the evolution of Amsterdam street soccer and found particular inspiration in Ricardo Wijngaarde and Wasi Malik. 

Soon after pencilling in a date for an exhibition, the organisation’s youth editorial team casually organised a first street football event. It was such a success that soon these events happened frequently. Amsterdam already boasts an organic street soccer culture and turns, come international football events, e-n-t-i-r-e-l-y  orange, the colour of the national team. 

Needless to say that the people at ImageIC have a dearth of material by now. They have organised an exhibition called Panna’s en Akka’s which runs until March 2014. For the uninitiated; a panna is a Surinam term which originates in a functional way from the streets of Amsterdam and refers to a move by which you kick the ball through the legs of your opponent. Akkas are something of the kind too; a player gets their dominant foot behind the ball, touches it with the outside of their foot as if they are heading in that direction, lifting the ball slightly, whereupon they get their foot around the ball and snap back inside. Nifty or what!The akka is considered the signature trick of Ronaldinho.  

The ImageIC exposition is entitled ‘Panna’s en Akka’s – Op de Vloer’ (Pannas and Akkas – On the Floor). The photos document street football looks and outfits in great detail. Get yourself to the exhibition if you are a football fanatic of any kind. Photos by photographer Guus Dubbelman will be exhibited, as well as audiovisual montages by Circus Family. 

ImageIC is conveniently close to the Ajax stadium, which is called the ArenA. Amsterdam Apartments has a few rentals in this area but it is more likely that your Amsterdam Apartments accommodation is centrally located. To get to ImageIC from the centre, take the  54 metro in the direction of Gein and get off at ArenA. Takes about 15 minutes. After that it’s a few minutes to the museum; look for Hoogoorddreef, and follow this street until you see Foppingadreef on your left. Take this street and continue on it until you see Bijlmerdreef on your right. Follow this street and soon you will see Frankemaheerd. It's number 2.