In her entry for the Avant/Garde Diaries, artist Germaine Kruip introduces the dedicated-to-the-arts duo, Krist Gruijthuijsen and Maxine Kopsa. Together they founded Amsterdam Kunstverein—the saffron of spices in the Amsterdam art stew and Germaine’s nominee for what avant-garde means today.

The Kunstverein was set up as a non-profit society devoted to presenting art on a commercial-free stage. Inspired by the coupling of independent thought with gusto action, Unlike decided to take a peek at institutions that are going it alone by creating thriving centers of forward-thinking and accessible-to-all art. From the “living it large” exhibitionists at Fat Form to the “try everything once” mentality of the Eddie The Eagle Museum, here’s our guide to the best independent breeding grounds for art in the Dutch capital.

Dutch artist Germaine Kruip focuses in her work on the interplay of light and shadow. Further her installations are famous for becoming part of their surroundings for example in buildings where they often complement with the architecture.

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Places in this guide

  • Dense Record Store Dense or dense?

    **This location is now closed.

    One of the best sorted record stores in F-Hain. Located on Petersburger Strasse. Their selection is impeccable, their staff friendly and they know their music.

    Dense reaches the international level of… read more

  • Program White Russian room

    Program is a non-profit project space that investigates the boundaries of art and architecture through multidisciplinary collaborations. Started in 2006 by Carson Chan and Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga, Program has invited artists, architects,… read more

  • Unagi Books Galerie

    Books, Street, Art …

  • Spacehall DJ's Delight

    This four floor record store stocks the latest records that crowds crave and dj’s play.

    Definitely tailored toward the electronic side of things- heavy house, dirty disco, electro and all that lies around those categories.

    Serious record… read more

  • Kickback Berlin Sneaking thru F´hain

    Kickback was founded in 2005 with the intent to fill a void in the retail market in Berlin-Friedrichshain. While Friedrichshain was rapidly developing some 15 years after the fall of the Wall, there was still no sneaker store in sight.… read more

  • Computer Games Museum Pong and Beyond

    An electric heaven for any child and enthusiast, this was the world’s first permanent exhibition solely dedicated to computer games and the digital interactive entertainment culture.

    With a stunning collection of gaming highlights… read more

  • Rotation Boutique Vinyl paradise

    A haven for local DJs and lovers of vinyl, Rotation Records has been the place to go for rare black gold finds and the friendliest service around town.

    Now, shifting the strategy towards a broader product range and providing a… read more

  • Corbusierhaus Salute to Modernism

    After WWII, the city of Berlin held a competition called InterBau, which invited renowned architects to propose new buildings for the rebuilding of the city. The competition asked the architects to focus on the Hansaviertel an area of… read more

  • Digalittledeeper Groove Attack!

    Owner, Dagmar Maziejewski, is one of the original founders of Groove Attack recordstore & distribution from Cologne. Started her own biz in Berlin a few years ago with this nice little diggers paradise. Handpicked stuff, wide… read more

  • Krematorium Treptow Architecture for the afterlife

    The fact that they burn bodies in the basement aside, the Krematorium at Treptow is without doubt one of the most interesting architectural projects to come to fruition in Berlin. After the original crematory—built in… read more

  • Temporary Showroom Fashion forum

    Temporary Showroom is a platform for European based and international fashion designers. As a fashion agency it showcases selected brands at fashion weeks around the world but it’s also a showroom plus a direct customer point… read more

  • Jewish Museum Berlin A welcome rebirth

    The Jewish Museum Berlin is dedicated to the narrative of Germany’s Jewish population: their early history, suffering and survival. The museum’s permanent collection contains a great fund of material, stories and knowledge… read more

  • Reichstag-Kuppel Incomparable view on Politics

    The current Reichstag dome is an iconic glass dome constructed on top of the rebuilt Reichstag building in Berlin. Its distinctive appearance has made it a prominent attraction in Berlin. Designed by architect Norman Foster, it was… read more

  • Paul's Boutique Brand new secondhand

    In quintessential Prenzlauer Berg fashion, this secondhand shop showcases its select items around a big boombox in the storefront window.

    Rummage through jeans, tees, hoodies and coveted sneakers that you may have owned when you were… read more

  • Lunettes Selection Addicted to glasses

    Located somewhere in the maze of baby carriages and organic supermarkets that has come to define Prenzlauer Berg—and just off a major arterial road on a quiet side street—lies Lunettes Selection, a small ’50s-inspired… read more

  • Fleamarket Arkonaplatz Good things, small package

    Proof that good things can come in small packages, this flea market is one of Berlin’s best. Populated (product wise) with ‘50s and ‘60s design pieces, vintage knick-knacks and retro fashion pieces, it’s the sort of place where… read more

  • Solebox Sole sisters

    Fact: Solebox is one of Berlin’s most competent sneaker stores. Fact: With a massive range of kicks from New Balance, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Vans, Reebok, Lacoste, etc., the shop also offers a nice choice of limited editions for the elite… read more

  • Hardwax Won't melt away

    Hardwax was, and still is, the quintessential model for all independent record shops in Berlin.

    The shop became a thriving business when Techno gained fame in the early 1990s. In this new century, Hardwax remains the bastion of independence.… read more

  • DZ Bank/Axica Biomorphing Building

    Rather unimpressive from the outside, the full impact of this Frank Gehry biomorphic masterpiece emerges only when setting foot inside.

    Architecture geeks will delight in the high-tech aspects and the dichotomy of smooth lines… read more

  • Neue Nationalgalerie Light and glass

    This temple of light and glass designed by Mies van der Rohe known as the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) houses an extensive collection of 20th century European painting and sculpture. Whether you come for the… read more

  • Einsteinturm Mendelsohn's observatory

    A landmark achievement by designer Erich Mendelsohn, the Einsteinturm’s construction ended in 1924 and is a building that art historians consider a primary example of the architectural expressionism movement of the era. The… read more

  • Weekend Up, up and away!

    Closed until summer 2014

    Attracting more bewildered tourists than the VIPs flashing black keys to gain unquestioned entry these days, this well-weathered club occupies the twelfth floor of an Alexanderplatz skyscraper. Its irresistible draw… read more

  • Kunstverein Support art and culture!

    A Kunstverein (English: art society) is a German initiative borne at the turn of the 18th century out of a desire to enjoy and preserve art. Supported solely by local benefactors, societies sprung up in every town and city across Germany,… read more

  • Eddie The Eagle Museum Unconventional

    With manic parties, unique installations, exciting art and a healthy does of insanity, The Eddie The Eagle Museum puts the mental in experimental.

    Operating outside of public funding means that this is an institution whose limits… read more

  • FATFORM The underground rooftop

    At first glance the troupe at FATFORM seem to be head over heels in love with life and everything it affords. Multi-lingual and multi-faceted, there’s not much they can’t already do and nothing they’re not willing to try,… read more

  • OT301 Independent sub-culture

    This former film academy was squatted in 1999 to prevent the local government from tearing it down to construct bike paths. Reinvented as a cultural venue by Eerste Hulp bij Kunst (“First Aid in Case of Art”), it was transformed into a ‘… read more

  • Melkweg/The Max Cultural powerhouse

    In 1970, when Amsterdam was one of the hippie capitals of the world and flower children flocked to the city’s free love and cheap ganja, a theatrical troupe decided to perform in an old abandoned milk plant just off the… read more

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