The brightly colored houseboats floating in the canals, the artistic heritage, the many cyclists briskly biking across cobblestones, the antique lamps holding glowing red bulbs...Amsterdam has much to offer in the way of inspiration. It’s one of the most visited cities in the world, on average bringing 30 million people across its harbors. And those numbers are continually growing. Perhaps it’s the fact that all of the worlds vices have finally found a home to live, for the most part, rather harmoniously, but even if you’re not here to partake of the famed mary jane coffee shops, the glittering casinos, or the lovely legs of the legal sex workers, we assume you must be looking to get an incredible tattoo to remember your time here.
The Amsterdam tattoo scene has exploded here, and there are hundreds of shops lining the quaint streets. But, of course, quantity does not necessarily mean quality, and we’re here to give you a personal look into four of the best Amsterdam based tattoo studios. The talent here is extraordinary, which each tattoo artist displaying a unique and specialized style we know you’ll deeply appreciate.
WHITE WHALE AMSTERDAM
Most artists have a real concrete philosophy behind their work, and the tattoo artists here in Amsterdam are passionate about that. For Alba, it’s about really connecting with others. “Tattooing gives me the opportunity to show my art, but also to have this contact with people. To hear their stories, their histories...to know people, to travel without traveling. To give...to give someone a part of you because you give your energy and you ideas, but it’s always a two way relationship.”
I was finally able to meet Nicobone in person, who is an insanely skilled tattoo artist that focuses on mind bending cerebral studies in linework and blackwork. His tattoos are like graphic arts meets ancient esoteric sigils, which is no surprise since he actually went to school for, and worked as a graphic designer before becoming the talented tattooist he is today. Nicobone is completely in love with his craft and takes the transformative aspect of it pretty seriously. “Using the human body as a living canvas is extremely fascinating and intense. People fully trust you on letting you tattoo them and they will carry your artworks through the world for the rest of their lives. More than grateful for that and everybody I meet on my path. Besides that I’m interested in people and their stories, so it's a blessing to meet and work with them. Tattoos are beautiful markings on human skin and memory of times. You connect a time in your life with a tattoo. So it's an important moment between two people!”
MOTORINK FINEST TATTOOING
Dedicated to high quality tattoo arts, Motorink has tattoo artists that give their clients superb pieces that will last a lifetime. While Celio and Junior have a graffiti infused Japanese style with hints of dark Neo Traditional, Israel and Gery focus primarily on illustrative aesthetics with a heavy hand. Bojana, who hails from Serbia, does exquisite linework and dotwork that looks like it could have been pulled from fairy tale story books. Recently, Ann Sally also joined the Motorink fam, and her work is certainly based on Traditional iconography and aesthetics but fused with a tropical vivid fluorescence.
Many of Kimihito’s tattoos have foundations within his homeland culture, and although he can certainly give you a classic Japanese dragon or Foo dog, he’s also embraced a unique calligraphic style that covers his clients skin in large swaths of graceful brushstrokes resulting in images that seem to dance around the body. “I did Japanese calligraphy, with the brush, and also Japanese sumi painting with ink and water, and sometimes the calligraphy, to me, looked like dragons, so that’s why I started. I also like to do Traditional Irezumi, but I want to make more powerful work...but not too Neo Japanese. And I like how the calligraphy style looks on the body, it fits the body and has a lot of impact.” Kimihito’s work is intentional, and it’s very clear that he takes his craft seriously.
GOOD STUFF TO KNOW
Obviously, in cases like this, only time will tell what the overall repercussions of these new laws and bans will be. Moving the sex workers to other parts of town would, in my humble opinion, damage the historical standing of the city, while also seriously displacing the people who work there. But ...I digress. My main point is that if you visit Amsterdam and it’s one of your bucket list bits to bang, just remember that sex workers are people who deserve your respect, so show some classy behavior. Respect is key to any healthy human relationship, and that doesn’t change just because outdated stigmas still exist.
COOL STUFF TO DO
I also paid a visit to Tropenmuseum, which had a Japanese exhibit complete with the most beautiful chrome statue by Hajime Sorayama, hentai dakimakura pillows, tentacle porn, Lolita fashion displays, and, of course, a cute talking robot. Literally, if you know me, you realize this is my version of heaven. Of course, since this is a museum all about the world's cultures, there was more than freaky deaky kinky stuff. There was also a fascinating exhibit about child slaves in chocolate plantations and one about the millions of people who make the pilgrimage to Mecca every year.
My last bits of must-do’s are as follows: a night time visit to Vondelpark which, especially if you’re traveling with your honey bun (and staying in cheap, but crowded, hostels), will be really fun because public sex here is legal as long as you “take your trash with you when you leave, and stay away from playgrounds.” Noted.