A Day to Remember

Heard at the Heineken Experience, Amsterdam, on 16 September 2016:


Friday, 16 September 2016, it was Enjoy Responsible Day at Heineken Brewery, Stadhouderskade in Amsterdam. Four teams of four young professionals, recruited from the staff of the Amsterdam based global brewery were asked to develop a campaign for moderate drinking in only 8 hours time. Theme: ‘A night to remember’. Amsterdam’s night mayor Mirik Milan (picture) was hosting the day. In a film he showed people around in Amsterdam during the night, proofing that nightlife is just great when you move around with your friends while moderate your drinking. I was invited as one of the experts. There was also a lecture of John Weich, editor, advertiser and writer of ‘Storytelling on Steroids’ (2014), on new trends in city making. Weich spoke about cities that are ‘stretching’, ‘urban ecosystems of innovation’, ‘new agoras’ in cities, ‘emotional landscapes’ on the ‘other side of the railway tracks’, ‘active public space’ in ‘odd areas’, ‘spontaneous congregation’ of young people in ‘multipurpose venues’, new digital tools of wayfinding and navigation, take-out food and the fast growth of delivery services. He showed us great examples in Oslo, Copenhagen, New York. Then the teams went to work. At the end of the day they would come up with three or four cool ideas.

Some teams developed proposals for apps. They still think technology is bewitching us. One team, on the other hand, wanted us to ‘disconnect in order to connect’. And then there was a team ending its presentation with a self-evident, intelligible idea based on the notion that cities are for people meeting other people. In fact, it was what Mirik Milan had demonstrated with his short film: locals showing visitors around, offering them ‘a night to remember’. So when locals do that, you as a visitor will never misbehave, not wanting to miss the end of your guided tour, so you moderate your drinking. If Heineken would promote this kind of city trips, locals would meet strangers, some even might make friends, new agoras in our cities will develop, take-out food will serve us even in the most barren spots, spontaneous congregation will blossom, public space will get activated, city life will be more vibrant. An app will be needed, one that is connecting local guides with visitors from abroad. An app that is called ‘A Night to Remember’. Sponsored by Heineken. Great day.






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