A happy birthday for Z!’s vendors

Amsterdam’s street paper has successfully crowdfunded a present for their vendors to celebrate their 20th birthday.

Over the past month, Z! has been appealing to their supporters to help them fund a special edition of the magazine, which will showcase two decades of their photography and will be available for vendors to sell alongside the regular magazine.

Z!'s first edition (far left) and several recent covers

Z! editor-in-chief Hans Van Dalfsen says, “In the spirit of street papers, we wanted to give them something they could sell on the street.

“So we went through a list from calendars to umbrellas – but then we thought in the last 20 years, we have taken so many pictures. We have made all these papers with all these pictures, so why don’t we take a selection of pictures we’ve taken over the last 20 years and put them in a really nice glossy magazine.”

Hans hopes the resulting publication of their “city photography” will be a piece of social history, tracking how Amsterdam has changed since they first started publishing in 1995.

“We like to say our paper is a barometer for the city. The pressure of the city comes out in our paper,” he adds. “We have many pictures of the streets of Amsterdam… The pictures will be about Amsterdam people, just doing what they do.”

Z! raised €7,833 in 30 days with the crowdfunding campaign, which featured an innovative film (below, in Dutch) starring Hans and some animated co-stars.

The money will allow the Z! team to start designing the publication next week and they aim to have it available for sale at the end of October.

When the photographic magazine is ready, each vendor will get five free copies that they can sell, as their Z! birthday gift.

But before that, Z! is holding a big birthday celebration this Friday in a “glamorous” location in central Amsterdam, just before the Homeless World Cup kicks off there on Saturday.

Vendors, volunteers and staff will be joined by high profile supporters from the worlds of business and politics.

Though ­- with seven years at Z! under his belt – Hans still thinks of himself as a “newcomer”, he is looking forward to raising a glass to the achievements of his street paper over two decades.

“Journalism on paper has been a nightmare the last 10 years,” he says. “To still have an independent paper to make, that’s my joy.”

Some of Z!'s vendors