Dutch Gabber – often copied, never equalled… [January 1996]

Whatever your take on Gabber – the 160bpm-plus electronic music scene that emerged out of Rotterdam in the early 1990s, there’s no doubt that it played a huge part in the evolution of European dance music over the course of that decade.

This article (in Dutch, but easily converted by Google Translate) from NRC Handelsblad in 1996, attempts to define the music it so eloquently describes as ‘the devil’s heartbeat’ for the everyday individual, and those that frequent ‘Gabber raves’.

“Gabbers have an almost biblical lifestyle. They listen to gabber, they wear gabber clothes, they go to gabber feasts and use gabber drugs. They are usually under the age of twenty, want to go out every weekend and are loyal to their friends.”

Sort of sweet, isn’t it?

Later, the article quotes Jaap de Vlieger, drug expert with the Rotterdam police, who illustrates just how mature the Dutch attitude to these new youth movements is.

“The established order does not accept the new music and associated entertainment culture,” he says. “Therefore, the gabbers are depicted negatively. Their parents also have no respect for the current youth culture. While at the festivals, the atmosphere is very comfortable and loyal.”

“Ga niet op het uiterlijk af”, as they say in that part of the world.

[Photo by Dennis Duijnhouwer, published on i-d.vice.com]

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