When I moved to Amsterdam to study, it didn’t take long to hear about Mezrab, which is no surprise considering the number of friends I have with a half-this-half-that-but-not-really nationality. The beautifully appealing thing about this place is that while there is a tangible Iranian influence from the family that set it up, it is not exclusive in its internationality. It is a place to feel at home for anyone – whether you and your father’s fathers and your mother’s mothers grew up in Amsterdam, Volendam or Timbuktu.
Mezrab has managed to bring focus on and take advantage of what this cocktail of people can share and connect with: music and stories and food and art. And what a fitting city to do this – in our beloved mesh of culture that is Mokum.
Mezrab was set up by Sahand Sahebdivani – a vibrant storyteller who began hosting nights of storytelling, music and everything in between in his parents’ living room. People shared their experiences of these soul-warming nights of eclectic performances, fuelled by tea and Persian food cooked by Sahand’s parents. Promptly, more and more people joined and so he rented a location in the Jordaan to accommodate them. Unsurprisingly, the clan continued to grow, and so Mezrab moved once again to its current spot as a full blown cultural center on the Veemkade.
Slightly hidden away between Pakhuis Wilhelmina and Wilhelmina Winkel, Mezrab is well worth the hunt. As you can see on the agenda on their website there is always a reason to visit: storytellings on Friday nights, both in Dutch and in English; belly dancing courses; nude painting on Monday nights; musical extravaganzas and the list goes on. Don’t miss out on the warmth – especially on the (dare I say it?) upcoming wintery nights.