For those searching for a place to tell their stories in Amsterdam, Metro Reporter Niya-Ivana Ilcheva writes about Mezrab, a cultural hub with a unique community of its own.
Mezrab is a place that is hard to describe with just words. Its very name has the ability to ignite a feeling, according to those who frequent it. “A feeling that you will be accepted, that you will not be judged.” says one Mezrab storyteller.
Founded by Iranian immigrant Sahand Sahebdivani in his living room, Mezrab is a cultural center well-known for its role as a storytelling space in which anybody is welcome to share and listen to stories and feel inspired. It is host to a variety of events including storytelling events, music acts and spoken word performances. The owners describe the bar as a place for people who feel excluded to come together, a place “in which the visitor feels part of the community.”
Located at Veemkade 576, 1019 BL Amsterdam, Mezrab also sells beverages and traditional Iranian delicacies. In the spirit of Mezrab being a place open to everyone, visitors are not obliged to purchase food and beverages at the bar and are not charged an entrance fee. Instead, the space relies on the support of its visitors in the form of donations to continue to give people a place and opportunity to express themselves freely.
Mezrab has many regular visitors, and the organizers often see the same faces at most events. Newcomers are always encouraged to join in as the regulars love to meet different people and hear what they have to say.
There are events held at Mezrab every week including:
From Nov. 3 until Nov. 7, 2021, the owners of Mezrab also organized the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival. The festival featured professional storytellers, a change from the usual setup of visitors. The festival also included workshops, masterclasses, and free talks for anyone passionate about storytelling.
Even though the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival has ended, Mezrab continues to provide a magical place for cultivating the art of storytelling in the heart of Amsterdam. Anyone with a passion for listening to stories, or who is simply curious about Mezrab as a concept, can visit the regular events.
Unfortunately, due to the three-week lockdown currently in place in The Netherlands from Nov. 13, 2021, all the events organized by Mezrab have been postponed until Dec 4., 2021. Mezrab will resume hosting events once restrictions are lifted.