iT Amsterdam

1989 to 2002

It was at the end of 1988 or the beginning of 1989, when Manfred Langer and his girlfriend and colleague Olga Vermeulen went out after work at Chez Manfred in the Amsterdam Halvemaansteeg, to the Bios Bar at the Leidseplein. There, they were addressed by hospitality tycoon Rini Huis in ’t Veld. He had a very nice small building on offer, he said. In the middle of the night they went to take a look at Amstelstraat 24. That particular night, the idea of the iT was born.

The iT became a gay spot of world fame. People would wait in a queue that stretched to the other side of the bridge to get in. It was a place for extravaganzas, fetishists, male strippers, drag queens; everything was allowed. Very soon, Dutch celebrities and even stars from abroad such as   Grace Jones and Boy George visited the iT. Tom Jones and his entourage frequently paid a visit as well, and nobody knew it was not the real Tom Jones. Top deejays such as DJ Jean made house music popular and created the right, licentious atmosphere. There were no less than five bars and more than 1200 people could be accommodated. Manfred loved theme parties, live performances, abundance and nuttiness, and his birthday party, Hollywood- and Swimming Pool parties were spectacular. 

Manfred died in 1994 at the age of 42 from AIDS-related causes. He was laid out in a pink, shiny, luxurious coffin. His funeral should be his last party, he thought, and that is what happened. On his grave at Zorgvlied cemetery stands a statue of Manfred with a beer in his hand. After his death, an attempt was made to continue the iT but after a first bankruptcy in 2002, the iT closed its doors permanently in 2004.

Text: Connie van Gils