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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Torres Timbila

The Current Rise of Afrobeats in the Netherlands

Updated: Oct 9, 2023


Roodkopje event at Simplon (Groningen) © Liban

Afrobeats Netherlands celebrated their first-year anniversary this September in Groningen hosting one thousand people and showing that clubs in the city are getting more in touch with the African music.


In recent years, the world of music has changed, and new musical genres have entered the global scene. One of these is Afrobeats, a genre that has crossed boarders and united people through its universal musical language. From Lagos to the Netherlands, Afrobeats is making its way and seems to be sticking around.


In the Netherlands, the genre is becoming increasingly popular among younger audiences and within urban music scenes. One of the factors behind this phenomenon is cultural diversity: by 2021, 4.18% of the Dutch population was African descendent, according to Statistic Netherlands (CBS).


“I think the whole African diaspora in Europe is really big nowadays. A lot of people move to prominent cities like London or Amsterdam,” says Liban Yusuf Boss, who together with his brother Mohamed founded Roodkopje, an urban event in Groningen.


 

Afrobeats Background

  • Originated in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, in the early 2000s

  • Characterized by a fusion of traditional African rhythms with elements of funk, dancehall and hip-hop

  • Gained wider recognition in the 21st century

  • Social media platforms like Tiktok and Spotify have played an important role in this change

 

One big family


Beyond the social networks and the African diaspora, the popularity of Afrobeats has a lot to do with its feel-good nature.


As Liban tells The Groninger, he and his brother started Roodkopje in the hope that it would become a safe place where people could dance freely and just be themselves. “It gives me really like a good vibe. I feel sometimes a little bit at home when I heard the rhythms and the patterns in that music,” he adds.


But Afrobeats knows no boundaries. Khaled knows this very well. Although he comes from Germany and has an Arab background, he shares the passion for Afrobeats: “For me, it’s a lifestyle, a way of living and being on a good vibe and seeing the good in things.”


Khaled, founder of Afrobeats Netherlands © Jennifer Torres

Throughout the year, Groningen hosts several Afrobeats events where people from different countries come together to celebrate the African culture.


“Everyone is so inclusive and welcoming especially since it’s not my culture. It makes me feel at ease and I can enjoy the music freely,” says Sara, who is an Italian student.


Sharing the same perspective, Claudia, a 20-year-old student, has consistently had a passion for music from diverse cultures. These events have helped her discovery a new genre and be part of a community where everyone is welcome.


Although the future of Afrobeats is uncertain, it has proven in recent years that it can hold a great place in the music industry in the Netherlands. “I think it will really last for the future because they really set their position so strong now,” says Liban.

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