Campaign TV: Why nightlife is crucial to creativity

A vibrant nightlife is a key ingredient in fostering creativity in cities, says the night mayor of Amsterdam.

Speaking at the D&AD Festival in London yesterday, Mirik Milan called on cities to boost the creative industries by investing in better nightlife.

"Night is where a lot of creative people meet, and a lot of cross-fertilisation happens," he said. "Nightlife has the most proactive, diverse, open-minded and forward-thinking people." 

Calling himself a "rebel in a suit", Milan has served as the night mayor of Amsterdam since 2012. He said he is not a politician but rather helps ensure the Dutch capital has a dynamic nightlife through liaising with local government, residents and small businesses. 

London recently appointed its first night czar, the TV and radio personality Amy Lamé, and other cities including Paris, Berlin and Sydney also have night mayors.

In Amsterdam, Milan has helped introduce 24-hour licenses at venues in the city’s outskirts. He is also leading a pilot programme, launched in Rembrandtplein square, which aims to make public spaces more efficient, welcome and safe. Red-jacketed hosts tour the square giving advice to clubbers and tourists and reminding them of partying rules such as "stay classy" and "use a loo". 

Every city could benefit from a night mayor because it is important for cities to empower youth culture, underground scenes and creative collectives, Milan said. 

"Always keep space for the unexpected," he said.

He added that creative nightlife experiences could also make people more open to other cultures.

"Art and culture can be an answer to populism," he said. "So make sure there are these spaces for a mix of cultures." 

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