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Missing the Masses: responses to the lack of nightlife activities during the pandemic – the Rotterdam case.

February 18th, 2021

During the COVID-pandemic, the lack of nightclubbing, dancing and drinking has a huge impact on both the social and mental aspects of nightlife visitors. Research by POPLIVE member Martijn Mulder affirms this social and mental relevance of the nightlife economy. ‘Going out’ is not just fun, it’s a basic need in the lives of many. In an additional report (in Dutch) Martijn advises the municipality of Rotterdam to adopt new strategies that better justify the value of urban nightlife.

Fuelled by the fact that the city of Rotterdam will develop a new policy vision on the city’s hospitality and nightlife economy in 2021, and the increasingly manifest public discontent with the city’s pre-pandemic nightlife, a survey was conducted in November / December 2020 to gain better insights in the past, present and future of going out in Rotterdam. Based on a representative sample of the nightlife visitors, several conclusions could be drawn: first, although most participants predominantly have positive experiences in relation to going out in Rotterdam, the over-all appreciation of the city’s nightlife is mediocre. Also, people who live in the city are significantly more critical than visitors. Second, the lack of nightlife activities during the pandemic affects many. Over 90% of the participants misses going out to some extent; 60% ‘often’ or ‘extremely often’. The social aspect of meeting other/new people is mentioned most in this case. About two third of the participants experiences feelings of sadness, loneliness and dejectedness as a direct result of the lockdown of nightclubs and -bars.

Based on the ideas for a better future of the nightlife in Rotterdam, an advice was presented to the Rotterdam cultural policy office, including calls to create space for night culture and innovation, to support local entrepreneurs and creatives, to open up to each inhabitant of the city and to connect better to the city’s competitive identity as a super-divers, bold and (straight)forward city.

More information about this research can be found in this blogpost. This post was published as part of the SHIT! Corona Chronicles, a blog about arts and culture in times of COVID-19.

The full report (in Dutch) can be found here.