Mezrab, the House of Storytelling of Amsterdam

Culture bar where anyone who’s able to tell a story can get on stage and do it, events take place all year round from Tuesday to Sunday in a bar that can be certainly defined as one of the most prominent places of culture in Europe.

Mezrab, the House of Storytelling of Amsterdam

The Mezrab embodies the very concept of Storytelling, it is difficult to describe because it is a place as there are very few in Europe, its name is synonymous with art and culture: located in Holland in the city of Amsterdam, it is the home for anyone who has a story to tell.

From Tuesday to Sunday are organized events where the art of knowing how to tell a story is all, free entry for most of the nights, it is enough to leave a small donation at personal discretion to enjoy the “House of Stories” of the Dutch capital (sadly known for other reasons by mass tourism).

Evenings usually start at 8:00 pm and end at 10:30 pm, everyone is invited: from talkative storytellers to witty comedians, poets, artists, any kind of improviser, anyone who has something to say is welcome into the House of Stories of Amsterdam.

The art nights are organized on a regular basis, there are different events for different days of the week: Tuesdays are dedicated to the Open Mic, every Wednesday is dedicated to the storytelling, Thursday is the day of live music and dancing, Fridays totally focus on storytelling again, on Saturdays there is space for stand-up comedy and on Sundays just every kind of event takes place.

We cannot forget to mention the Storytelling School, which represents the possibility of participating in a professional storytelling course (paying a certain amount of money) where you will get to know of the Meisner Technique, an acting method that will be taught in the course by the English actor Tom Radcliffe, trying to bring the students to express themselves emotionally, leaving any rational approach out of the performance.

Now is the time for a bit of history: it all began in the house of the Iranian Sahand Sahebdivani, where the father was delighted to tell heroic tales to his guests and his mother used to accompany them with sweet litanies. Their guests soon grew in numbers and Sahand had to rent a coffee shop, then another bigger place and finally the current Mezrab’s space.

It was not easy to collect the necessary sum of money, a big crowdfunding was needed, and it is only thanks to the generous donations of more than 400 supporters that the current Amsterdam House of Stories could see the light. This goal was achieved thanks to the great Charisma of Sahand Sahebdivani who firmly thought that in Amsterdam a place like this was needed.

In the current Mezrab can fit comfortably up to 300 people, it is managed by an international team of volunteers and it is probably the most active place in Europe regarding the art of the storytelling with 200 annual events. But there is also space for poetry, music, dance, comedy and almost any form of art you can think of.

While entering the Mezrab for the first time it is easy to feel overwhelmed by a curious fascination, since one enters a special place that had never even imagined existed, but fortunately it exists and it’s located in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam.

Written and Translated by Gerardo Iannacci.