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Club OQ News The events organised in our lively nightclub have not gone unnoticed. Various media have spontaneously reported on the entertaining activities. Below you can find an overview of the entertaining events that have recently taken place.

Our nightclub OQ is a popular film location. The Rotterdam rap group The Licks recently took the video Yes I mean that on. Dutch movies and TV series like Flikken Rotterdam use our club to the 's-Gravendijkwal like as a backdrop.

Naaldhakken en glijmiddel in OQ. In the period between the shortest and longest night of the year visits Karin Koolen dwellers who earn a living in the night hours. Because while you sleep, people are working hard in Rotterdam. In episode four: the wonderful world of sex clubs OQ
. Karin Koolen (1983) was born and raised in Rotterdam. Journalist and cultural anthropologist. Karin writes about people and events, near and far. Large stories gain for its significance on the basis of the small. Real stories about real people so. Read the whole story on her blog: Naaldhakken en glijmiddel in OQ.

In Backstage looks reporter Marlies Harting this week over the shoulder of Rien van der Elst, director OQ. The erotic nightclub's been nearly forty years to the programs Gravendijkwal in Rotterdam.
Rien has been working for twenty years in the OQ. "A wonderful job," he says. "We are here with the ladies, dancers, porters and bar staff a big family."

Opera in Club OQ Nightclub OQ opened its doors to the ‘Lovesongs’ opera during the recent Operadagen Rotterdam (Rotterdam Opera Days). The festival frequently programmes events in exceptional locations to introduce the style of music to a wider audience. The director of ‘Lovesongs’, Timothy Nelson, is treated to a wonderful sight during the evening at Club OQ. "The ‘Lovesongs’ opera fits here perfectly since it is different and exciting, just like this location.” Seven singers moved through the audience singing about love in all its guises in a made-up language. Nelson: "Sometimes in child-like voices but that suits this adult playground.”

The erotic nightclub OQ is enthusiastic about the performance. “We are looking for a wider audience anyway and are more than happy to open our doors so that everyone can come and take a look around", says manager Rien van der Elst. OQ owner, Cor de Geus says that a ‘typical quirky Rotterdam production’ also fits perfectly in his club that has existed for more than twenty-five years. De Geus: "After the opera, we will be starting our own shows and we hope that people will hang around for longer.”

The Operadagen got the idea of the night club when BOOG, the 's Gravendijkwal residents association, contacted them about a jubilee.

The Rotterdam Magazine Gers published an article about Club OQ in its 5th edition “Sailors? Yes, indeed, they still come here”, says Rien van der Elst, manager of Club OQ on the ‘s-Gravendijkwal. “Not as many as there used to be and, nowadays, they are generally young men from Vietnam and the Philippines. When they come here it’s nothing but laughs. When a sturdy, lascivious Dutch girl approaches them they fall over laughing. They think it’s great! They don’t usually stay long. A quickie upstairs and off they go again.”

The Rotterdam sex business no longer relies on sailors for its main clientele. Sailors don’t stay on board as long as they used to and, with faster loading and unloading, they spend less time ashore; or none at all. They no longer have to satisfy themselves with shared, soiled sex magazines but have tablets with internet and can Skype with the home front. Where ships used to throw out their anchor in centrally located harbours like Leuvehaven and Rijnhaven, they now moor at the Europoort, the Botlek or the Maasvlakte. Although some companies ferry their crews by bus to the centre, most of the sailors are far removed from the city’s entertainment.”

Sailors’ bars and brothels The sexual needs of sailors have left their mark on Rotterdam society, states Ron Brand, curator of the Sex and The Sea exhibition at the Maritiem Museum. The first prostitution districts in Rotterdam arose in the 19th century, along with the growth of the harbour region. Until 1915, the Zandstraatbuurt (‘De Polder’) was the centre of prostitution. Even before the first foundations were laid for the new city hall, the red-light area moved to the Schiedamse Dijk. After the bombing in 1940, the ladies of pleasure moved en masse to Katendrecht. In its heyday ‘de Kaap’ had ninety bars and four hundred prostitutes. The good times ended in the seventies. The fun-loving Kaap of yesteryear was increasingly plagued by criminality, fear-mongering pimps and drugs. The last sex house was boarded up in 1981 and the prostitutes dispersed over the city. There was still a street prostitution zone on the G.J. de Jongweg and later the Keileweg, until these were also closed down in 2005.
Today in 2014 Rotterdam has about forty sex establishments and twenty escort businesses in the legal prostitution sector, explains a spokesperson of the Municipality of Rotterdam. These include private houses, so-called hourly hotels, home workers and massage salons. And also (paid) sex shops, saunas, sex cinemas and clubs like Club OQ.

Topless Girls Nightclub Club OQ has been a household name in Rotterdam since 1976. ‘Topless Girls Nightclub’ adorns the facade in large neon letters. It’s a Monday morning. Wendy, the good humoured wife of owner Cor de Geus, leads me to the office. There is a bright red Ferrari on a platform in the middle of the club. The stools around the strip-catwalk are covered in a panther fabric and a LED sign points the way to the sauna. A stainless steel drinks carousel hangs behind the bar. Disco balls sparkle from the ceiling and photographs of seductive strippers hang on the walls. The TVs are turned off at the moment but they show sex films in the evenings.

Three drinks are included in the twenty-five euro admission price. The clientele is diverse says manager Van der Elst: “From garbage collectors, business men and students to tourists and small- time pimps. They all drink side-by-side”. He believes that’s where the strength of this club lies. “Everyone is welcome. We are increasingly seeing groups of women coming in for a fun night out. We also host bachelor and hen parties nowadays.” So there’s a feel-good factor? “There is no pressure to order champagne or go upstairs with a girl: it’s fine just coming by for a glass of beer!”

“Sex is secondary” Wendy says: “It isn’t like it used to be. We see about two or three hundred girls pass through each year, of which the majority stay a few weeks and certainly no more than a few months. It does mean you miss some of the social aspect, we used to exchange Xmas presents but that’s no longer the case.” Since the brothel ban was lifted in 2000 prostitutes are required to have work permits and are subject to tax. Van der Elst: “Before that we had about sixty girls in the club, all of a sudden that turned into five. We lost the girls from outside the EU, for example from Brazil.” Since then they have been replaced by women from Eastern Europe, but it’s not as busy as it was. The girls work using the opting-in-system; for the most part they remain self-employed but pay taxes to the club. A text that you often see on clubs’ websites and private houses is: ‘We have no control of the schedules and presence of the self-employed ladies.’ It can be awkward for an operator. Van der Elst: “For example, it’s a shame if two groups come in for a stag party at the same time and you only have two girls working. So we ask the girls: ‘If you want to work, please be in before 11 at night.’ Otherwise it can cause friction between the girls that are already working.”
In the meantime, the lock on the front door is being repaired and De Geus is replacing some of the light bulbs above the bar. The books are also waiting to be done. Van der Elst: “We are just running a business here; sometimes you forget that people also have sex here. Sex is actually secondary!” laughs Wendy.

Text: Karin Koolen


's-Gravendijkwal 115 - 3021 EJ Rotterdam - +31(0)10 - 4760979.
Open Wednesday to Saturday from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM.