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29th July 2016

Q&A: Anna Kinneir, Makerversity Amsterdam

- by Milly Burroughs 

We love it when our friends run off on adventures together without us, no really we do. Our talented friend, and occasional freelance Zetteler project manager, Anna Kinneir has jumped the London ship and landed in Amsterdam with creative community incubator Makerversity. 

Located in the Marineterrein that sits over the water from the Nemo Science Museum and Amsterdam Centre for Architecture, Makerversity’s new Amsterdam hub is its first expansion outside London. We spoke to Anna about what she and Makerversity are up to in one of Europe’s fastest developing creative cities. 

When did you arrive in Amsterdam and why are you there?
Since the beginning of June I’ve been talking the ear off of those around me about how amazingly innovative and creative all the current member businesses are at Makerversity Amsterdam. The greatest thing about it; their work really does the talking for me. Do you want to see pressed aluminium bicycle frames? Vertical urban growing solutions? Social Magnetics (literally)? So while I’m officially here to turn up the volume around Makerversity both locally and internationally with potential partners from educational and cultural institutions, companies, brands and agencies…I’m finding that those who share our vision and audience get it before I’ve stopped gushing. 

Why is Amsterdam the right place for Makerversity to set up camp? 
I can say with (recently acquired) Dutch assertiveness that this city really is at the heart of entrepreneurship for Europe, so naturally it is the perfect next home for a Makerversity community. The city already harbours a fantastic “make it yourself” culture driven by highly motivated individuals. So in our premises, just ten minutes from Centraal Station Amsterdam, we now have an accessible hub mirroring the massive central London HQ. Our facility allows practical businesses—doers—to flourish in a dynamic and connected environment. 

What are you and Makerversity looking to achieve in the next three months? 
Off the back of our recent selection by Nesta to be one of The Observer’s 50 New Radicals 2016 (which recognises radical thinking changing Britain for the better) we are driving towards the same success in Amsterdam. On-site we already have an exciting and diverse roster of The Netherlands’ most innovative maker businesses which we expect to grow to 200, while continuing to support our current community. With our September launch not far off, I am working on partnering with likeminded businesses whose services will improve the performance of our members. 

What does Makerversity have to offer the creative communities of Amsterdam? 
Makerversity is unique and it’s huge; under one 2000 sqm roof, and right by the city centre, we have airy co-working spaces, event spaces and a maker cafe alongside state-of-the-art wood/textile/digital prototyping workshops, and that’s just the start! The inter-connection and stimulus between businesses is so very beneficial. Learning from our London site we predict that a substantial number of our Amsterdam members will soon become fully mature businesses. Alongside servicing our members our Learning Platform’s mission is to up-skill the next generation of Amsterdam’s creative and practical minds to prepare young people for high-value jobs in cutting edge industries. Both subsidised rates and learning programmes through Makerversity DIY make this all the more possible. 

What's your favourite thing about Amsterdam so far? 
By far the Dutch themselves! The city is bustling with all manner of things to do (I saw a guy learning to kite surf on the grass beside a canal yesterday), is extremely beautiful with it’s wonky houses and is super easy to get around (if you like a bit of bicycle dodgems that is). But it is the people with their “just be yourself” attitude who have made it what it is today. 

What does Makerversity Amsterdam mean for Makerversity members in London? 
I believe both our Makerversity sites will really spur each other on with collaboration and competitive attitudes. Especially as members will have access to our working, making and learning facilities in the heart of two leading European cities. Having the two centres will mean we expect to be taken seriously. And people are already asking “What’s next?”. 

Name three things you want to do in Amsterdam? 
Ideally i’ll be on a boat during the Canal Parade for Amsterdam Gay Pride; a fiesta of colourful joy. Also I love the extremes of taking friends to Robin Food at De Nieuwe Anita, or at the other end of the scale going to De Kas (Michelin starred—here’s hoping!) or the beautiful and remote Vuurtoreneiland. And finally; spend a whole day going from the gym to the event space to the exhibition to the restaurant to the club at De School… maybe topping it off by diving in the Sloterplas lake round the corner. Who’s with me? 

Do be in touch with Makerversity Amsterdam (hallo@makerversity.org)  if you'd like to find out more about desk space and workshop memberships, or with Anna (anna@makerversity.org) to discuss partnership opportunities.


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