Nerd Nite Greatest Hits: Five Years of Talks and Beers!


Behold it’s Nerd Nite Amsterdam’s birthday! We’ve been nerding it up in Amsterdam for five years now so we decided to celebrate big! How? By doing what we do best: an entire evening filled with nerds taking the stage. Over the years we’ve had more than 50 nerds to impress, inspire and surprise us; so we thought we’d bring back six of our all-time favourites for a blast-from-the-past greatest-hits edition of Nerd Nite.

There will be parallel sessions, quizzes, drinks, surprise elements, groovy tunes and, well, more fellow nerds than you can shake a stick at. Please pledge your support and buy a ticket now! Be there and be square!

Friday April 15th
Doors open: 20:00
First talks: 20:30
Felix Meritis Zuilenzaal & Shaffyzaal
Tickets: €15,- (includes 1 drink)

It is rocket science, from Scud to Unha-3 by Ralph Savelsberg
Mathematics of musical harmony – Why does a piano have twelve keys? by Tom Hijmans
Writing history in stone on an Arctic volcanic island by Erik Verheul
Please don’t touch? A history of controversial monuments by Eveline van Rijswijk
The truth is out there… It’s called math by Michiel Renger
The amazing and crazy inventions of Nikola Tesla – Including a demo of artificial lightning by Kjeld Eikema

Check out the talk descriptions and buy tickets on the Felix Meritis website!

And don’t forget to click ‘Going’ and invite your friends on the Facebook event page!

Nerd Nite XXVI: Digital artistry

Nerd Nite Amsterdam event poster March

Let’s get digital at Nerd Nite on Friday March 11th! What do King Lear and Fifty Shades of Grey have in common? Both can be crunched by a computer and analyzed for literary qualities (and that’s probably about where their similarities end)! Speaker Corina Koolen will demonstrate the results of letting computer algorithms tackle creative fiction, and why Eat, Pray, Love isn’t so bad from an analytical perspective. After that, Jason Hessels takes to the stage to show us the nerdy side of electric guitars, complete with live demo! We’ll learn how signal processing makes rock concerts possible, and how electric guitars relate to astronomy. Sandwiched between the talks is our once-a-year Pictionerdy pubquiz. Be there and be square!

Also don’t forget to sign up for Nerd Nite Speed Dating, on March 11 from 18:30-20:00. It’s like in-person Tinder for nerds!


Friday 11 March
Doors at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page

Crunching Fiction: What happens when you let your computer read Fifty Shades of Grey
by Corina Koolen

Corina Koolen
What can we say about best-sellers when we feed them to a computer? Why use computers on fiction in the first place? In this talk, Corina Koolen will show you the wonders of computer­-based analyses of creative text. You’ll find out which Dutch prize­-winning literary author writes like Sophie Kinsella, why there is no reason to dislike E​at, Pray, Love ​so much and how a computer can tell that E.L. James’s F​ifty Shades of Grey ​is less literary than Emma Donoghue’s R​oom.​

Bio: Corina Koolen is a PhD candidate in Digital Humanities at the University of Amsterdam. In practice this means she pulls recent Dutch novels through a computer and hits them with a virtual hammer. When she’s not working, she knits, reads, dances, or watches TV series, though not all at the same time.


The Physics of the Electric Guitar: For those about to signal process, we salute you
by Jason Hessels

Jason Hessels
Rock ‘n Roll is cool… at least it used to be when I was a kid. What’s the coolest part of Rock ‘n Roll? Well, obviously the electric guitar; no one wants to get stuck playing bass, after all. But what’s even cooler than the electric guitar? The answer: signal processing, waveforms, power spectra, Fourier decomposition. In this talk, I will give a flavor for how signal processing is an integral part of shaping the sound of the electric guitar and, by extension, has been pivotal in the history of Rock ‘n Roll. I’ll also make some (questionable) links to my own research on neutron stars (the bad boys of stellar astrophysics).

Bio: Jason Hessels is an Associate Professor (Universitair Hoofddocent) at the University of Amsterdam’s Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy and ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. Jason is a radio astronomer and uses the world’s largest radio telescopes to study pulsars – i.e. neutron stars that produce regular flashes of radio light. Using pulsar signals, he aims to test theories of gravity, dense matter physics, and astrophysical accretion.

Nerd Nite Speed Dating

Nerd Nite Amsterdam speed dating

Are you looking for a nerd that shares your passions? Come to Nerd Nite Amsterdam’s 4th edition of nerd speed dating, back by popular demand! Sign up by filling out this form.

Note: Straight nerds are at capacity but there’s still space for more gay and lesbian nerds to sign up!

Date: March 11th
Time: 18:30-20:00 (preceding Nerd Nite)
Location: CREA (Nieuwe Achtergracht 170)

Nerd Nite Amsterdam Speed Dating

Save the Date: Nerd Nite Lustrum!

As we said at Friday’s Nerd Nite, this our 5th year as your nerdy nightlife providers in Amsterdam, so to celebrate we’re having a lustrum! This nerdy extravaganza will feature the best of Nerd Nite Amsterdam. Ever.

In order for the lustrum to be a success, we need your support. Tickets and crowdfunding will be available soon, and we’ll need some volunteers to help the night run smoothly. Until then, mark your calendars and get excited!

Friday April 15th
7pm – midnight
Felix Meritis
Tickets coming soon

Nerd Nite XXV

Nerd Nite Amsterdam January 2016 event poster easter island statues sleeping

Come out of your winter hibernation for Nerd Nite on Friday January 8th! Do you know how to lower stress and lose weight? Get some sleep! It’s not as scam, we promise — our first speaker, Els van der Helm, will help us navigate dreamland as we see what happens during the 1/3 of our lives we spend asleep. Next, speaker Eveline van Rijswijk will share her nerdy fascination with something overlooked-until-it-isn’t: controversial historical monuments. Uncover what’s happened to some questionable monuments and where Stalin’s bronze shoes went. Between the talks will be our classic “brilletje op, brilletje af” pubquiz. Be there and be square!


Friday 8 January
Doors at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Facebook event page


The Science of Sleep
by Els van der Helm

Els van der Helm
Many of us live by the slogan of “work hard, play hard” in our hyper-connected 24/7 world, where our demanding lives keep us glued to digital screens. This Nerd Nite talk will convince you that it should be changed to “work hard, play hard, sleep hard”! Work-related and social distractions on our gadgets have led us to de-prioritize sleep and we’ve let these distractions take over, literally letting them into our bedroom. Whilst we spend a third of our lives asleep, most of us have no idea what happens in our brain while we’re unconscious. In this talk we’ll learn what sleep does for you and why you need it to be back on top of your priority list. All for the sake of living a full, fun, healthy and happy life where you can watch Star Wars marathons/build stuff/memorize obscure trivia even better!

Bio: Els works as a management consultant where she preaches the gospel of sleep, it’s importance, and how to improve it. She has a couple fancy degrees and many fancy publications backing up her credentials as a sleep scientist. When she’s not working (and not sleeping), Els loves dark chocolate, Californian wines, Bikram yoga, rocking out to Elvis, and of course, napping. The only legit reason to wake her up is if the roof is actually on fire.


Please Don’t Touch? A History of Controversial Monuments
by Eveline van Rijswijk

Eveline van Rijswijk
While biking through the city, do you ever pay attention to the countless statues and monuments around you? Probably not — many of them are just being peed on by dogs. But then there is a small category of statues that trigger huge debates and are even vandalized. As a historian, Eveline van Rijswijk is fascinated by what happens when history makes up its mind and a statue becomes a “monumental mistake”. Come and listen to the story of what happened to Stalin’s boots after a revolutionary crowd sawed his 8-meter-tall bronze statue at its knees and get to know where you can still take a selfie with a statue of Lenin.

Bio: Walk down a street with Eveline, and you’ll soon find out she is a historian. When she’s not telling you everything about an obscure monument or old building you just encountered, she’s probably already looking for the next one. During daytime she trains professors to give cool lectures about science. Now it’s her turn!

Nerd Nite XXIV: The birds and the beers

Nerd Nite Amsterdam NNAms event poster birds beersLet yourself be inspired at Nerd Nite Amsterdam XXIV on November 13th! Arjan Dwarshuis will come and share his passion for birds, highlighting his exciting plans for 2016: try to break the record of seeing 4341 bird species in just one year. Next, we’ll hear all about kiwi Kelly Milligan’s love of handsome ales (his words). Teaching courses in home-brewing, he’s the opposite of a lone drinker and will infect you with his frothy fever. Finally, it’s your time to shine during our annual Dry T-shirt Contest. Turn your luck around on Friday the 13th: wear your favorite nerdy T and admission will be free. Be there and be square!


Friday 13 November
Doors at 20:00
First talk at 20:30

at CREA Muziekzaal
Nieuwe Achtergracht 170
1018 WV Amsterdam

Admission: €1 (or, participate in our Dry T-shirt Contest — see below!)

Facebook event page

Spotting 5500 Bird Species — A Crazy Adventure
by Arjan Dwarshuis

Arjan DwarshuisThis time next year we may have a world-record holder among our Nerd Nite alums: speaker Arjan Dwarshuis will attempt to see over half of the bird species on Earth (about 5500) in a single year. This adventure takes him to 34 countries on 6 different continents; from the barren peaks of the Himalayas to the vast deserts of Southern Africa and the steaming jungles of Papua New Guinea. The motivation? To raise public awareness of the fast-vanishing ecosystems around the world and the endangered bird species that make these remaining havens their home. We have arrived at a critical point in history where we can either lose our natural heritage forever, or start building on global attitude change and commit to safeguarding our heritage for future generations. Come listen to this ultimate global birder share his plans for his “Biggest Year”.

Bio: Arjan is an archeologist by training and birdwatcher by passion. As long as he can remember he has been identifying birds. His mission is to spread the bird-watching virus, upgrading a walk around the park to an exciting new level, probably ending up in Cafe Wester where he works as a bartender.


Beer Brew Science
by Kelly Milligan

Kelly MilliganGet your Erlenmeyer flasks ready, because it’s time to cheers to beer nerds! Living in the “beer belt” of Europe, we have a special connection with beer, but how exactly is it made, and what gives it the range of taste? Kelly Milligan will tell us all about the wonderful mix of science, creativity, and magic that comes together to produce a truly inspirational beverage. He’ll run through some basic concepts of brewing beer: the ingredients, the processes, and the different styles that can be created through unique combinations. After this crash course you’ll see that brewing beer at home is a whole lot easier than you might think, and you’ll have extra appreciation for the work behind that malty drink. All you need is a little advice and you can start brewing your own!

Bio: Kelly, a proud Kiwi who’s been living in Amsterdam for about a year, thinks front end coding is the most badass job in the world. He has a particular preference for high top sneakers and in his free time he worships cool keyboards.


And don’t forget our annual Dry T-shirt Contest:

Wear your favourite nerdy T and admission will be free! Otherwise, admission is €1.
Dry T-shirt Contest Nerd Nite Amsterdam

November Nerd Nite: Dry T-shirt Contest


Next month at Nerd Nite Amsterdam on Friday November 13th, turn your luck around with our annual Dry T-shirt Contest. Wear your favorite nerdy T and admission will be free!

Nerd Nite XXIII: Exploring our past and future!

Nerd Nite Amsterdam event poster explorer

Get ready for some time travel at Nerd Nite Amsterdam XXIII on October 2nd! First, we’ll jump back in time to the 1600s on Jan Mayen, an Arctic volcanic island, where a band of Dutch sailors left a crumbling stone monument before perishing over an icy winter. We’ll learn about the weird history of the island and last year’s mission to renovate the memorial stone with speaker Erik Verheul on board. Next, we’ll fast-forward to see how our gadget-encrusted future could shape everything from personal health care to public municipal services. Speaker Marcel Schouwenaar gives us an energetic low-down on the Internet of Things with insight on how combining the digital and physical realms could change everything. Be there and be square!

Writing history in stone on an Arctic volcanic island
by Erik Verheul

The enigmatic island of Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean, has a rich but nearly forgotten history. On the island, an old and heavily eroded memorial stone tells the story of 7 Dutchmen who died there in an attempt to winter over. In 2014 the Navy ship RNLN Zeeland set out for an expedition to Jan Mayen island, one of their goals being to preserve the cultural heritage there. On board were a large team of scientists, a small team of mountaineers, and a single stone carver. Erik Verheul, Nerd Nite Amsterdam speaker
Erik Verheul, the man behind the mission and our fearless leader for this Nerd Nite talk, will take us through remarkable story of the history behind and renovation of the memorial stone: old granite, modern ceramic materials, and granular structures.


Bio: Erik works from 9 to 5 as a civil servant for the government (something with telecommunications). He lives in an average house, has a wife and 2 kids, and drives a Volvo. He dreamed of crossing the Sahara desert, parachute jumping, climbing snow-capped volcanoes, scuba diving, and watching starry nights from a beach in Madagascar. And he did all that, but actually thinks his current job is more fun.


The Thing with Things: An opinionated introduction to the Internet of Things
by Marcel Schouwenaar

Flicking on the lights with an app, or showing off your energy savings on your smart thermostat, doesn’t even impress your grandparents anymore. Imagine a future where you don’t have to remember to take the trash out on a specific day, you just put your connected trash bin out and it calls for pick-up by itself. But on the other hand, what if that same bin analyses your trash for traces of recyclables and snitches on you to your local government? Or what if your health insurance only pays for fertility treatment if your wearable’s data shows that you ‘practice’ enough? The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) has some exciting developments in store for us, that potentially will disrupt the way we live.
Marcel Schouwenaar, Nerd Nite Amsterdam speaker In this presentation, designer Marcel Schouwenaar shares his vision on how intertwining the physical and the digital world will allow for amazing things to happen. But he will also address the less desirable aspects of IoT, like how IoT can potentially make unwanted connections between services and data sources.
Bio: Marcel is a designer and maker – a nerd and techno-optimist, but with a healthy dose of skepticism towards the new. Together with his partner in crime, he runs the design agency The Incredible Machine, where they figure out how our ‘connected’ future will look like. He thinks beyond gadgets, about how our world is changing and how this will change in the best interest of people. Besides designer, he initiated and co-wrote the IoT Design Manifesto and co-organises the upcoming ThingsCon conference in Amsterdam.


Facebook event here

Want to be a Nerd Nite speaker?


Have you found our website because you’d like to be a speaker? Awesome! The Nerd Nite alums are an esteemed group of which we’d love for you to join the ranks. Send us an email with which events you’re available for (see the right sidebar), a description on what you’d talk about (and why it’d make for a great Nerd Nite talk), and whether you have any experience with public speaking.

You don’t have to be from Amsterdam; we welcome all nerds from Utrecht, Leiden, Haarlem, Nijmegen & beyond! We’re the only official Nerd Nite in the Netherlands.

Keep in mind that we ask our speakers for a title, abstract, bio, and photo about 5 weeks before each event, and we do a practice session with each speaker about two weeks before. And FYI, this is an unpaid gig — we do it for the (nerdy) love of it!

Wanted: poster designer!

Found! Keep your eyes peeled come September 🙂

Nerd Nite Amsterdam hiring poster designer FOUND

Calling all nerds artists! We’re looking to hire a poster designer for the next season of Nerd Nite Amsterdam, September 2015 – May 2016! The posters will need to be completed one month before each event (5 in total), with the event info and talk titles and some catchy graphics to grab attention and draw an audience! Take a look through our event archives to see past posters; we like for there to be a theme to the posters of each season. The creative direction is yours and we’re excited to see what you make.

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If you're interested in giving a talk, please send us an email!

Upcoming Nerd Nites

June 9

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