Pillow talk: International pillow fight day in Amsterdam

Welcome to Amsterdam!

Sunny beautiful Dam Square in Amsterdam is a magical place. Where you can and will, more often than not, find all sorts of performers flaunting their talents for a couple of coins. But if the old buildings lining the square could talk I’m sure the stories they would tell of the human will to express their lot in life in public would be all the more fascinating. And the 4th of April was no exception, known unofficially as International Pillow Fight day; and was to be another example of people exercising their right to express themselves on a public space that I’m sure even those old buildings could appreciate as innovative.

It was this train of thought I was revelling in when suddenly and a tad bit violently a pillow cushion hit me square in the face. Preposterous I thought, that someone would have the gall to mosey on through the square single me out and then, with perfect abandon, smash me in the kisser with a pillow cushion.

In a daze I helplessly tried to grab for him, but lost him as he quickly disappeared into the wavering crowd. And on closer inspection quickly noticed many more people were brandishing the creamy whiteness of one too many a pillow cushion. It then occurred to me that there was more to this than my initial thoughts of rebellious pillow terrorists.

Enter the international pillow fight day event. Another arbitrary celebration commemorating your innermost child or so I thought but as I dug a little deeper, I realized it was not just another flash mob. But is in the greater scheme of things called the urban playground movement. Say what? Well it seems in today’s world of passive activities such as watching television or being glued to ones cell phone, there is a need to pull people out of the home and into local public spaces thereby turning it into our “urban living rooms” as quoted on their website. With the end result hopefully being one of people constantly organizing and attending this style of event all over the world on a daily basis.

In a sea of feathers

Because even though on face value it might seem rebellious by nature its quite the opposite. Allowing its participants to let loose and exercise their right to enjoy their public space in any fashion they see fit. Even if it means smashing pillow cushions into each other and a few innocent bystanders, who such as myself accidently walked into the melee of goose down cleavers. It also managed to showcase some of the participant’s creative spirit as they came donning goggles, helmets and some questionable attire for what I assumed was protection, but which only seemed to help intensify the beatings.

A few words of advice though, if you don’t want to get smashed in the face do not enter the fray. A lesson I learned the hard way while trying to take pictures on my phone, almost losing it along with the last shred of dignity I had.

After an hour or so of dodging the pillows, I could look up to those same old buildings lining the square and just imagine the shenanigans they have been privy to over the centuries. With pillow fight day being no exception to the rule as it successfully inducted itself into the hall of crazy things people will do to stir the pot of conformity. Or just to have some fun.

International pillow fight day took place on the 4th April 2015, and along with the city of Amsterdam was hosted in many other cities around the world.

I can only hope this train of thought extends to all continents and that the governments of countries who usually suppress public acts of expression and the right to use public spaces to do this are embraced and not suppressed.

Check out their website if you would like your city to be apart of it next year.

By Slippery Joe Lyzard © (Writer for Nomadic Existence)

Photography: Nomadic Bug © 

Nomadic Existence 2015 ©

 Explore. Conserve. Discover.


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