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Brian boswijk / vuurtoren eiland

“Just trust in your own idea."

A creative wanderer with an audacious character and relentless drive that find expression in adventurous restaurants, Brian Boswijk and his creations continue to enrich Amsterdam. After wowing diners with Mamouche, Amsterdam Plage, Interdit, ‘11’, restaurant As and Trouw, he outdid himself with his current venture: Vuurtoreneiland, a close-to-nature culinary experience on an island just outside Amsterdam. Few peaks escape a crash, though. Not only did Boswijk lose Vuurtoreneiland in a fire, he also discovered he needed to re-examine his very being. “I’m like a boxer who always rises at the count of 9. It’s in my nature, and constitutes the ultimate battle with myself,” he says.

You’re considered something of an adventurer. Were you one as a kid, too? Yes. My most treasured memories from my youth have to do with adventure: strolling through forests and along rocky shores with the nervous anticipation of what you might discover, hoping it might be something like a wooden castle. When we lived in England, my dad lived in the former livery stable of a country house, on a huge estate with its own woods. That was a big adventure.

You lived in England? I’ve lived in lots of places. I was born in Rotterdam, where we lived on a farm with sheep and horses along the Maas river — it was idyllic. We also lived in Amsterdam for a bit, but I moved to England with my brother and my mum when I was seven and my parents got divorced. That’s where she was born and she wanted to live closer to her family. In retrospect, my parents never really worked as a couple. I think they had a period of being in love, but in the six years we had as a family I mostly recall quarrels and stress. My mum was physically exhausted by the time they split up. My dad got his act together and came after us, but they couldn’t patch things up.

How did that affect you? It was a lot to take. I had to keep up a brave front and be Olaf’s big brother. We couldn’t have a cathartic cry — there just wasn’t room for it. Experiences like these contribute to your resilience later in life, but the flipside of this capacity is that you tend to bottle things up instead of asking for help.


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This is lovely and what a great way to build a community. I wish I could participate. I am in the USA. Good luck to all of you.
— Spaces Around Me

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