The best cities aren’t simply places where we live and work. They have a soul; a unique feel, smell, and character. Sometimes describing a city is almost like describing a friend who you both treasure and might occasionally argue with – but who always feels like home.
But we can’t claim to understand the nuances of each and every one of our key cities. That’s where our series of stories, guides, and artworks, ‘Conversations with the City’ comes in.
Introducing: Conversations with the City
We know that no one’s more tapped into their buzzing city life than local culture makers. So, in dialogue with those who know their cities best, ‘Conversations with the City’ is a series curated by local creatives across the world. First up, we talked to the Amsterdam-based creative duo and sisters, Sisters Janssen, who curated an exhibition in conversation with their hometown to mark the in-store launch of our latest e-bikes, the VanMoof S5 & A5.
Sisters Janssen’s ‘Conversation with Amsterdam’ exhibition – made up of a number of artworks, from collage to print media and sculpture – champions women who are shaping the new wave of creativity.
In conversation with Sisters Janssen
All three pieces in your collection have a running theme. What is the conversation you wanted to have with Amsterdam through your work?
We wanted to give light to those that are making a change by just sharing their stories with a lot of love and passion. For those that create space by just doing what they love.
What intrigued you about our Conversation with the City concept?
It was nice to stand still and think about what it is that inspires us so much about this city. Amsterdam is a city that we call home and that feeling is usually most strong when riding on your bike on a sunny day with a light breeze through your hair… or when you meet up with your friends or family at your favorite local hotspot.
When you think of Amsterdam, what do you think of first?
The people; the creativity; the drive; the stories; the authenticity; the passion; the WOMEN. Individuals who use new ways to express themselves and create, and have their own stories to tell. For this project we refer to them as “the new wave’’.
What does the future of Amsterdam look like to you? What would you change, if anything?
Ooh, the future of Amsterdam… we think people will stand up more and more for what they believe in and give meaning to that. People are more and more supportive of each other and seem to increasingly realize that we are all in this together.
Let’s make space for all kinds of people to just be, and make space for people to be able to create these new ways that inspire others and lift each other up.
In Conversation with Amsterdam: Sisters Janssen’s exhibition in their own words
“We created several artworks for this project in conversation with what the city means for us and in conversation with the people who shape this city. For us, those people are a new wave of creative individuals, collectives, communities, and bars that use new ways to help shape our society. By using their voice to tell their stories and spread their message, they create space for more people to do the same.
Our artwork ‘Walk of Art’ is an interpretation of the New Wave of creative women in Amsterdam who inspire us. These women are bold, expressive, talented, daring, and aren’t afraid to chase their dreams. We would even describe them as walking works of art themselves.
The piece ‘Local Passion’, celebrates the local hotspots that shape Amsterdam for all of us. Each is owned by people who pour their heart and soul into what they do, and every person has a different story to tell and message to spread. What almost all of these hotspots have in common is that they create space for communities to express who they are.
Finally, our ‘New Ways Bench’ installation is an eye-popping bench that represents these new ways of expressing and creating.”