Welcome to The CITIZN project…
Posted in guest quarters March 8th, 2011 by guest blogger

all text and photography in this guest post by rani nugraha…

“I keep thinking about the day we went cycling around dropping off invitations to your book launch  – I saw so much more in the city than ever and was so inspired – it was like I just breathed in your 3 years of Amsterdam experience in one day trip!”

The idea for The CITIZN Project had been brewing in my head for months. When it was launched online earlier this week, I wrote the above in an email to Pia, just to tell her it had finally happened, and was reflecting on one particular memory of a day we spent together last year.

Two summers ago, Victoria Hannan kindly introduced Pia and I, just before Pia’s book Amsterdam: Made by Hand was due to launch. A fellow Australian, I had spent some time travelling in London, Helsinki and Copenhagen, finally arriving in Amsterdam without much of a plan or without knowing a lot about the city. Over lunch one rainy summer afternoon, Pia and I bonded over tea and travel tales, and quickly became friends.

I spent those early summer days learning my way around town through guide books, tourist maps and just sheer hopelessness – there’s something to be said about finding your way out of a maze of canals and streets christened with names which you can neither spell nor pronounce.

I was also starting to discover well known hot-spots and must-go places but still felt that I wasn’t really connecting with the city, wondering what I was lacking. I had a home, a bicycle, friends and a job but still felt that I was just floating around a foreign place.

Fast forward to May 2010, when Pia and I were cycling through the tiny lanes of the Jordaan, along the canals of the Nine Streets district and through the city centre, dropping off invitations to her Amsterdam: Made by Hand book launch. Over the course of that day, I became acquainted with the side of Amsterdam that fascinated and inspired Pia as an artist and an author and at the same time, I felt like I was really starting my own dialogue with the city. When we spoke to some store owners, artists, craftsmen, and designers who featured in Amsterdam: Made by Hand, they opened up to us with stories of their crafts, their passions, their stores, their neighbourhoods, and their city. One thing was also clear: They were all enamoured with Amsterdam.

The population here is as diverse as it is charismatic, with it being such a melting pot of creativity, commerce, politics, and culture. I was sure the city was filled with intriguing people, just like Pia and the people featured in her book.

The CITIZN Project was created for residents to share a little about what they love about the city they live in, but equally, I wanted to know more about the people that call this amazing city home. After all, one person’s muse is another’s amusement park: everybody has a different perspective on this bustling global village because of the huge diversity in interests, neighborhoods, nationalities, occupations, and inspirations. A lust for life can be fuelled by sight, sound, taste, or scent, and in my opinion, these things shouldn’t be coveted, they should be shared.

Each person featured in The CITIZN Project shares a little about who they are and the places, events and sounds of the city that shape their scenery.  Ultimately, it’s the people that hold the essence to Amsterdam’s character and The CITIZN Project is just the platform where their stories get told. Over the course of the next few weeks, I wanted to share with you here in Pia’s (blog)house some of my favourite spaces in Amsterdam and shed some light into why I love to live here. With a passion for simple and honest food, live music, impulse vintage purchases and the creative industries, I hope you’ll enjoy my perspective on the place I call home.

x rani

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  1. meenal@maison marigold says

    this is a beautiful post, rani( your name means queen in hindi)…the images are gorgeous..the citizn project sounds incredible.what a great way to document the diversity and the essence of a city…kudos to you and pia!! xx meenal

    March 8th, 2011 | #

  2. LatteLisa says

    Hello Rani, I so enjoyed reading that. I’m definitely going to follow the project. Actually, I was in Amsterdam last weekend but didn’t have time to go into the city but I’m going back in 2 weeks or so with Pia’s book in my bag.

    Greetings from Antwerp

    March 8th, 2011 | #

  3. Catherine says

    Yay Rani!! Can’t wait to check it out. Cath : )

    March 8th, 2011 | #

  4. Audrey says

    I just visit the Citizn project this is great !!, it´s a bit of schoolartvets.com, a german speaking platform about design, streetculture and trends. Faces & Spaces is part of that and it’s about creative people, their work and how they live. Now whe have “our own”in Holland, thanks !! we need something like this. Maybe nextime more images from the interiors ?


    March 8th, 2011 | #

  5. Tuulikki Titine says

    Hi Rani, great project you started and nice to see little nooks and hidden places, locals and local visitors in Amsterdam. I have an interesting colourful local for you to interview: Jop Verhulst who just launched a very funky unique leather bag line ‘Koi-Amsterdam’. Good luck!

    March 8th, 2011 | #

  6. Tuulikki Titine says

    Oops…I thought I was still in the ‘guest quarters’.

    March 8th, 2011 | #

  7. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says

    Sounds like an awesome project! Best wishes!!!

    March 9th, 2011 | #

  8. vic says

    Rani, this is beautiful. I’m so glad I was able to introduce you to Pia. x

    March 10th, 2011 | #

  9. Trudy says

    hi there!
    I am also an Australian making the move to Holland. I am moving to Rotterdam in a few months and am so inspired by everything that is coming out of this amazing country. Can’t wait to see more!

    March 12th, 2011 | #

  10. Rani says

    Wow, thanks for your support everyone! Really hope I can capture just a little slice of how remarkable the people and places of Amsterdam really are for you.

    March 14th, 2011 | #

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