Amsterdam has long been at the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusivity within the LGBT+ community. I recall back in 1991 when churches were shuttered, and gay clubs emerged in their stead, signalling a progressive and forward-thinking society. Now, Amsterdam has yet again set an example with the introduction of a queer skateboard park – the first of its kind. Dubbed “New Wave”, this trailblazing skate park not only boasts a cool design but also has a friendly team of administrators who oversee the space. It’s the first of its kind, a space that is a testament to Amsterdam’s unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and acceptance. The city’s reputation as a trailblazer in promoting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community has been cemented with the opening of this skate park. It serves as a beacon of hope for the marginalized and a reminder that progress is possible even in challenging times. With the “New Wave,” Amsterdam continues to lead the way in shaping a more inclusive and tolerant society.
An initiative by Women Skate the World, NEW WAVE, which began as a series of open skate nights in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is aimed at empowering women and queer people, from beginners to advanced levels. This groundbreaking initiative, which prioritizes the underrepresented and overlooked in skateboarding and LGBT+ micro-society, has now established a permanent home in Amsterdam-Zuidoost in the park called Paasheuvelweg 44.
The skate park, the first of its kind in the world, is dedicated to the queer community. “We were thrilled to see our community come together at the opening of the new skate park in Zuid-Oost; a colourful, inclusive space for all to skate, connect and have fun,” said Selma Hamouda, the initiator of the project. “Our mission is to make skateboarding inclusive and we do pay special attention to this group with new wave. We are also there for children and the Southeast district and allies that support our mission and want to be a part of the inclusive community.”
According to Hamouda, women and queer people find it difficult to participate in regular skate parks due to the intimidating and predominantly male environment. The aim of NEW WAVE is to lower the threshold for these marginalized groups, making everything a little softer and more social. With the help of the well-known Olympic skater Roos Zwetsloot, a former printing house has been converted into a skate park, complete with obstacles such as a disaster, quarter- and half-pipe and high and low rails. It looks cool and the people around are sweet and friendly.
Flip Zonne Zuijderland, the director of the film Selfmade Man, has been appointed as the park manager. NEW WAVE is not just about skateboarding but also seems to become a debate centre for the LGBT+ micro-society, as the initiators are cultural people who provide ample opportunity for discussion.
This place is not just for the best tricks, but for everyone to be themselves and have fun. Respect for each other is key, and the enjoyment of skateboarding is the ultimate goal. The cool and friendly atmosphere of the park has made it a popular destination for the LGBT+ community in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. NEW WAVE has set a new standard for inclusivity in skateboarding and beyond.
(For translating the YouTube material by AT5 click settings and captions, then English.)
An article by Dominik Böhler
Photography by Laurens Nieuwendijk
Dominik Böhler is the Editor-at-Large of GAY45. A 25 y.o., PhD candidate, passionate about the transcendence of science in the philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and agency of human beings. Works in Vienna and commutes to England at the University of Oxford where to continue the DPhil (doctoral) programme in Information, Communication, and the Social Sciences. Böhler does not like to have a social media presence.