Tickets to the Burning Man Festival sold out in under an hour this year. So if you couldn’t get your tickets, couldn’t get the end-of-summer time off, or just couldn’t get yourself to travel half way across the world, here’s an alternative that might be of interest. It doesn’t require the huge commitment that Burning Man does, but it does tick all the right boxes for those in search of sand, sun and that distinct feeling that you’re summering on another planet.
Welcome to UrbanCampsite, an inhabitable open-air art exhibition. Every year this campsite appears on a different spot in or around Amsterdam, inviting the public to stay inside the otherworldly installations which double as “tents”, and experience a highly unique and otherworldly nomadic lifestyle (without the over-crowding).
The experimental urban initiative likes to find “underused” locations to set up camp, presenting the visitors with a different view of the city and the place itself. “Where nothing has been before, art and life suddenly bloom”.
But surely you’d have to travel further than Amsterdam to reach this surreal campsite?
Believe it or not, these unfamiliar sandy surroundings are very much inside the city of Amsterdam. Found in the east of the city, IJburg is an area of artificial islands which were raised from the IJ lake to create new neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.
When complete, the IJBurg was supposed to have a total of 18,000 homes for 45,000 residents, include employment for 12,000 people, as well as schools, shops, leisure centres, restaurants etc. Unfortunately, they only got about half way done before investment funds dried up. A sort of unborn district of an Amsterdam from the future, several of the ten artificial islands built remain uninhabited, and no further plans for the purpose of settlement have been made.
This left room of course for the ideas and experiments of UrbanCampsiteAmsterdam, who chose Centrumeiland, one of the empty stretches of sand which was supposed to be the connecting link between IJburg I and II, as their summer island campsite.
They’ve been set up here since June 1st and have just three weeks left of their residency to welcome anyone longing for a Burning Man alternative.
The tents are bookable through the familiar platform, AirBnB from €85 per night, sleeping 2-3 people on average. Sleep in a “survival capsule” from outer space or relive your childhood hood sleeping under a trampoline in the “Trampotent”.
Workshops, campfire dinners and discussions and performances are all part of the stay.
So if you’re dreading the annual Burning Man frenzy that seem to have become a fixture on social media come the end of summer, why not do something about it, something last-minute and spontaneous, something dare I say, a little less mainstream?!
Discover UrbanCampsiteAmsterdam, until the 31st August.