Saturday, January 14, 2006

That was Friday 13th

Last night I was in Amsterdam Noord, the area North of Amsterdam centre across the river IJ. It has always been seen by the Amsterdam people as a sleep city from the thirties. It is the type of place, where you would not like to be caught alive or dead. Not exactly a place you go to, unless you have some business there. Well, I have been quite around the world but never been in Amsterdam Noord, but last night was as good an excuse to go there.

The party was planned in the IJ Kantine, a cafĂ© on the waterfront with a view on a submarine, a cargo liner and the Sirius of Greenpeace. The area is littered with derelict buildings of what was once shipyard (NDSM). Presently the buildings are being remodelled and business is coming back to the place. MTV has its studio’s in one of the buildings and event producer ID&T has its offices over there. Also internet companies are moving there. It looks like the Amsterdam digital creative industry moves from the centre to this area.

Whenever it is Friday the 13th, the New Heroes meet. It is a group of people who have worked with each other in the past and are summoned for the party a week ahead of Friday 13th. The name of the group has been borrowed from one of the companies set up by Arko van Brakel, named New Heroes (Nieuwe Helden in Dutch). He was one of the founders of the ISP Euronet*Internet, one of the early internetproviders from 1994. The company has been acquired by Wanadoo in the meantime. Arko van Brakel is now an informal investor and doing things he likes.

It was an interesting crowd of people. I had a talk with a guy who is in the infocasting business and working on proprietary RSS feeds within companies, but also public RSS feeds. I told him the story about the portable electronic newspaper with mobile link-up, which the Belgian financial De Tijd will trial in March. There was also a CEO of pre-pay telecom company. His company COMFOUR has developed a box which can be plugged into the modem of an ADSL provider and provides mobile telephony around the house of the office. Nothing spectacular, but it saves a lot wiring and you do not have a subscription with the incumbent telco.

After the party I stepped on the ferry, which took me to Central Station in the centre of Amsterdam. It was freezing on the ferry, but for a first visit to Amsterdam Noord it was a nice ride.

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