We’re all mad here

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A blog by Virgin Burner Mariska


I’m having dinner with my dear friends Robin and Thijs. While making his famous salmon dish, Robin keeps an eye on his computer. ‘The ticket sale for Where the Sheep Sleep started today’, he tells me. I know a bit about his passion for Burning Man and his involvement with the Dutch version.

With sparkles in his eyes he talks about the upcoming event at the Veluwe and I’m getting enthusiastic too. ‘I never thought it was something for you though’, he says with his familiar raised eyebrow. I shrug. Then dinner is ready and the tales of Burning Man have to make way for a lovely meal and other gossip.

A few days later I’m in London for a short getaway with a friend. After a day of sightseeing I get to the hotel and tumble in my bed, tired as hell.

It’s an app from Robin.  ‘I’ve got you a ticket for Where The Sheep Sleep.’ I sit up straight again. Wait, what? I’m not sure if I have to be excited, happy, scared, or surprised. So I type: ‘Really?! Wow! That’s… oh wow, yay!’

‘I’m going to the Dutch version of Burning Man’, I tell my friend at breakfast. She looks at me for a moment, puzzled, before bursting into laughter. ‘You? Really? But you never visited a festival in your life! You hate big crowds, don’t like trance, house or any loud EDM for that matter, you don’t drink, smoke and you’re even reluctant to take an aspirin, let alone taking something else to enhance fun’.

Well, thank you for that summary. Damn.

‘So? Maybe it’s time to get out of my comfort zone.’
My friend doesn’t look convinced. ‘Okay, I get that. But why don’t you start with something less complicated, like Lowlands or something?’

I don’t like to be underestimated.

When I’m back in Amsterdam I meet up with Robin and ask him everything about Burning Man and Where The Sheep Sleep. He tells me about the ten principles, the guidelines for all burners, about gifting, decommodification and the spectacular theme camp he and Thijs are setting up. His passion is irresistible. I tell him about my insecurity if this is really something for me, as he pointed out in our first conversation. He smiles and says; ‘You’ll just have to figure that out yourself.’

He’s right. I may be a virgin burner, but I promise myself to give this an honest chance. Despite the voice inside my head that keeps getting louder: ‘Are you really sure about this?’ Oh, shut up you boring comfort zone. This is my year of YES, of trying new things, about creativity, pushing boundaries and getting to know this eclectic, exciting community of remarkable people.

I read all the blogs, news items and long articles I can find about Burning Man. I spell out the ten principles, watch videos and browse through beautiful and breath taking pictures. I’m in awe.

It seems to me that Burning Man and Where The Sheep Sleep, are events where you can show the real you, where you can release your soul in its pure form without prejudice. You’ll meet kindred spirits, a community who is willing to give love, appreciation, inspiration, creativity or just simple fun, without expecting anything in return.

It’s a bit overwhelming. No. It’s terrifying.

Like my friend in London pointed out so eloquently: I’m not the festival type (Oh, let’s face it. I’m not the party type in general; I don’t even celebrate my own birthday). I’m your typical observant. That’s why I write. That’s why I take photographs, rather than be in front of a camera. This part of my being will get me in trouble with one of the principles. Deeply personal participation is something that scares the shit out of me. That, and the possible absence of showers.

By now the voice in my head has reached foghorn volume. ‘Are you really sure about this?

I call Robin, again. He listens to my panic attack and tells me this: what you see of Burning Man and WTSS is the photogenic, the loud, the extravert, the people who love to run around in pink tutus with led-lights. But there are so many others, who just lean back, watch it unfold, as they participate in something smaller, less visible. And that’s okay too! You decide what Burning Man is, for you. It’s not a contest. There is no way to do this right or wrong. WTSS is a place where there’s an audience for everyone and everything: whether you gift free expression in a tutu, or in a personal quiet conversation, or in a storytelling session. Everybody’s presence has the same impact and valued contribution.

So, there I go. Like Alice in Wonderland, I’ll just have to say that I knew who I was a before I said YES to this. But I’ve changed a few times since then.

I’ll make it my burn.


Call for participation and ideas Art Jump (Notes Burning Pub 12-1 2017)

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As presented on the Burning Pub January 12, the first Dutch Art Jump Gathering & Fundraiser will be held on April 1. during The Equinox, at Blijburg aan Zee (Amsterdam).

The Burning Man NL Arts program supports the community in a broader perspective regarding Arts, but for this first Art Jump we focus on the Exchange of Burning Man inspired Art with other EU Burn-inspired events and orgs.
More about the event: https://burningman.nl/art-jump/

The evening

The evening is a fundraiser and a gathering that consists of wining and dining, Art & Performances, and a silent online auction to enable international artists and bidders to join. Items can be donated for the auction, think of art pieces or other interesting items.  And (if possible) showcase it at the gathering as well, or join virtually.

All the funding we raise with this auction and gathering, will go to art grants. For now we focus on existing Art projects, that will get the chance to travel to 3 other Burn-inspired events in the EU. In the future we will fund new art projects as well.

The biggest part of the community that was present at the Pub, agreed on the idea of having an Art Jump. Some even immediately promised to donate art of participate in another way, which is great!

Ideas and questions that were raised during the Burning Pub:

  1. Do we collaborate with events that already have/offer Art Grants (like Nowhere in Spain)?
    > Yes, The european counterparts will be contacted to talk about the idea in general and invite them to join the iniative.
    > Possibly, Jurgen and/or Manon think about trying to connect during the upcoming ELS in Stockholm. Any contacts or ideas are welcome >: email them to artjump@burningman.nl
  2. Can artists choose to what events they would like to take their art to?
    > Yes, artists can choose themselves.
  3. What kind of art fits into this program?
    > It’s for Burn–inspired Art projects only, that comply to the Burning Man Ethos and the ten principles.
  4. Is NL the first country to do this?
    > Manon knows another project, called We are from Dust.
  5. Is the membership fee (10 euro per year) also used for Art?
    > That’s work in progress, it’s not settled yet.
  6. What’s the price for a ticket?
    > Around 100 euros per person. That sounds high, but know that all basic costs like hardware (lights, DJ booth, sound etc.) and manhours need to be paid by only around 80 people. There’s no more room for more people at Blijburg, so all costs need to be divided between those 80.Where costs can be saved, they will be and the additional budget can go towards the grants!
  7. Who can afford those tickets…? Maybe change it into a real Art Gala (fundraiser) aiming for the high end market (companies, rich & famous, etc.)?
    > The opinions were diverse, but in the end most of the people agreed that it is better to start this first year a bit more low profile, to see how it works out, test things out, be a bit careful. Also because of the limited time we have left until April 1. The aim for 2017 is to make it as accessible as possible. With an aim for a more high end target audience in 2018 and beyond.


There are different ways to support and participate in the Art Jump 2017:

  1. Who has or knows items and art to donate for the auction?
  2. Who wants to participate and make this event happen in any kind of way? Preparation , performances…. ?
  3. Who has ideas/contacts to cooperate with other Burn inspired events?
  4. Who has other ideas to raise funds and/or keeping the costs as low as possible so we hope to have ticketmoney left for the Art fund?
  5. Who knows companies that might want to support/join in make this fundraiser happen, and (financially) successful? In other words: who would want to buy tickets and bid at the auction, to support Burn inspired Art?
  6. …?

We reach out to you.

Please share your ideas, suggestions, participation, contacts in the comments below or email them to artjump@burningman.nl

Burning Pub Amsterdam- February 2016

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Lovely Burners & Virgin Burners, the 11th of Feb we have our Monthly Burning Pub again. And by then news around tickets sales will be know (we hope). …how exciting! For some it will be the first time to get ready for the playa and some dust. Curious about how to get things organized, questions about camps, the ten principles (what is gifting for example?) and all other things, wanting to meet the Dutch Burner community, hear their stories and feel some Burning vibe…..well then its time to come to our burning Pub!

More info:

Akhnaton- Burning Pub

Nieuwezijds Kolk 25
1012 PV Amsterdam
Thursday 11th February 19:00 hours
RSVP here

Dutch Decompression 2015

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This is an Official Burning Man – Dutch Decompression event – in Amsterdam.

)*( Dutch Decompression 2015 BM )*(

For movies, pictures and more check out https://www.facebook.com/dutchdecompression/

We start at 15.00!!! so be on time, we have a great program!!!!

The OFFICIAL Netherlands Burning Man Decompression Party will take place on November 21st at Radion / Broedplaats Acta in Amsterdam. Now is the time to show the world of Burners and other beautiful souls how decompression is done around here! Read more about the day time and night time programme below.

✩ Day time (free): 15.00 – 22.00
✩ Night time : 21.00 – 05.00
✩ Art: Come check it out 😉
✩ Music: Line up below
✩ Date: 21 November 2015
✩ Venue: Radion & Broedplaats ACTA (Louwesweg 1, Amsterdam)

Entrance to the day time event is free to everyone! It is divided between the “Concrete Playa” (outdoor) and Radion (indoor) and runs from 15.00 to 22.00. In accordance with true playa spirit BYO food and drinks are allowed outside until 22:00, whilst the bar and restaurant will still be open inside the club. Come have a look at many art installations, bands, DJs, workshops and a Dutch interpretation of the MAN that will populate the Concrete Playa! There will be tents and fire to keep you warm. The day time event is family friendly.

The night time event is inside Radion only, which has limited capacity and requires an entrance ticket (see link above). Local and regional DJ’s will host two awesome musical areas. In addition there will be a Center Camp-like space featuring crazy art installations, acoustic music, workshops and education activities. Radion is an exciting newly opened venue with an industrial vibe.

Dutch Decompression is created 100% by volunteers. Keep in mind that the ticket sale is intended to cover all expenses on art and other activities during the day time AND night time of the event. Any potential surplus ticket sales will be used for a future summer time event or to bring local art projects to Burning Man. Thanks very much in advance for your generosity which enables us to pull this event off :) !

☮ ☮ ☮ ☮ ☮ ☮ ☮


15:00 – 16:15 MARION
16:15 – 17:30 MATTI KADINSKI & BAS K
17:30 – 18:30 2 MAN 1 PAARDENKOP
19:30 – 20:00 QUALIA
20:00 – 21:00 DIALOQUE (LIVE)

15:00 – 16:15 DJ BART & JASPER
16:15 – 17:45 FISCHER
17:45 – 19:00 MANCOW
19:00 – 20:00 ROBERT FERDINAND

21:00 – 22:30 CARLIJN
22:30 – 00:00 UNDERS
00:00 – 01:00 ALEXANDER KONING
02:00 – 03:30 PATRICE BAUMEL
03:30 – 05:00 SHINEDOE

All night with us SAXAPPEAL
22:00 – 23:30 DJSLEAZE
23:30 – 00:30 ALEX SIMON
00:30 – 02:00 BJÖRN HERBST
03:30 – 05:00 SVEN THOMAS