Grand Opening


Dear Tattoo Friend wherever thou are,

Here in the European lowlands, in Holland, there's a saying “the bullet went through the church”. Meaning as much as it is reveiled in the open. News was made, history, and not without a big fucking bang, a blast, an explosion when the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum, the as we call the ATM, opened its doors to the public after our private party - guests only in all its spaces and ancient Inca ceremony.

It opened to the public at 7 pm of the 5th of November in the year 119 after Reilly tattoo time - in Cristianity they count from their most important date: the day Jesus Christ was born. But our world is a world in which tattooed members come from all over the world, of all colors, of all religion, all with their own counting: Buddhist Muslim, Jewish, Maori, African, Indian. All that we have in common are our markings, our tattoos. So for all of us we created a new counting system for the years and our important date is the date the electric machine came to earth On 8th December 1891, the day Samuel O'Reilly patented the first electric machine, we closed the old tattoo testament en started our genesis, the year 0. So here we go, we live in the 119 After o'Reilly. On the 8th of December electric day we'll celebrate this birthday and on New Years Eve this year we will welcome the year 120 A.R.

So at November 5th 7 pm tattoo time in the year 199 A.R., the doors of our Tatican opened to the world or to dedicated followers and those who want to satisfy their curiosity and open their mind for our world. Outside in the dark a thick line of about 4000 to 5000 people slowly moved into the holy grounds of tattooing. This patient waiting in line to get in went on till 1 am at night. Like in a fucking parking garage we let only one in as soon as one left. With the help of three rented gorillas we had to keep things smooth. Those who did not get a ticket were soliciting like homeless with cardboard signs 'please, help, need ticket', 'will work for who sells his ticket' or 'do anything to get in'. Deep in the night we killed the music and lights to end this madhouse.

All the conceivable media were present and there was live streaming on the internet: thousands of dedicated worldwide followers watched us worldwide and who knows beyond. All TV stations in Holland and abroad, radio, news, talkshows, facebook and twitter, morning and evening papers, magazines, documentary makers, a big time theatre movie production on Black & Grey tattooing from Hollywood interviewed and shot film in our museum. The presentation of our first publication of our publishing house: the photo album put together by the Dean of London, the legend Rich Mingins. Dan Dringenberg bounced like a rubber ball through the building, his mind in full speed working on the future, his seminars, his special limited edition museum machine soon available. The enormous donation by Juan Puente who hooked us up with a huge collection of first class quality prints of Horiyoshi III, who himself donated a wonderful rare 19th century scroll with the faces of the world. Talking to Horiyoshi on the phone, a shiver went down my spine, tears jumped in my eyes, thank you old friend, domo arigato in a big way.

Thanks everybody for the countless amounts of special drawn flash, thanks for the special sheet inked by the gate. The family of the European father of modern tattooing Felix Leu, invaded the not yet finished museum the night before. The embracement with Loretta hit me like a ton of fucking brics, hugging, kissing and a rare emotional feeling took over. Tears streamed down my old pumpkin to be absorbed by my beard. Lorettas wonderful eyes inspected and reported straight to Felix' spirit: “He would have loved it”, was the greatest compliment for me. Him being there was unreal but true. Thanks for being there, thanks for helping us out on the last night, thanks for helping us hang the beautiful paintings from Filip's wife Titine on loan by our museum. They are the highlight of our collection. Talofa to the oldest brother of the legendary Samoan tattoo family Sulu'ape, Petelo, who represented this proud and ancient tradition and his island. He celebrated his brother, the late and great Paolo, whose tools and notes are among our proud collection. May the God of Tattooing bless you with his love, my friend, the King is dead, long live the King.
Eiland Hogan from Sacramento, not only here as a guest but also to represent our late brother Eric Hogan. Jimmie Skuse was here: 3rd generation tattoo artist offspring of the great Skuse Family, founders of the Bristol Tattoo Club. Machines, flash, books, paintings, small and big donations of money. This financial help we will use to built our library: the H.I. Frank Memorial Library. Named after my old mentor in collecting, taxman Harry Frank, who passed away too fucking soon like so many but not forgotten. Large amount of cash modesty wrapped in a piece of blessed Thai temple textile to be presented to the monks so the receiver is not embarrassed with its contains and he can thank the giver straight from the heart.

More than 150 guest tattooists put a small pilgrim tattoo on their body. They filled a little empty space but in general on their hands or fingers. Jack Rudy and his wife got one and placed one in our guest shop on Good Time Charlie, Kate Hillebrandt, Rob Admiraal, Molly, Chris Danley, Danny Boy and his lovely ball and chain, Tiziana the magnificent who actually designed this coptic looking pilgrim tattoo. These are the inner circle. Supporters of the first hour, our ambassadors. Thank you all! Horishige and his lovely wife in traditional Japanese costume occupied the tatami floor of our Japanese tattoo shop designed by Soe Sezuki, a proud and extremely talented female tattoo artist and lifetime family friend. The soon to be opened memorial garden will remember all of us who passed on into another dimension. Their name or their ashes, their urns will be kept in this monument for the death. Felix Leu, Mike Malone, Sailor Moses, Smilin Paul, Ace Lee Crow, Danny Denzil, Cliff Raven, Tom Slick, Dutchy Cornelissen, Les Bowen, Des Conelly, Pinky Yan, Mike Coney Island, Paul Rogers, Miami Lou, Tattoo Peter, Wim, Bart, Richie, Jeff Baker, Susan Fauser, Jack Armstrong, Capt. Don Leslie, Peter, Bob Shaw, Elisabeth Winzel, Terry Wrigley, Stan Davis, Ronny Ackers, Danny Skuse, Herbert Hoffman, Ole Hansen, Bimbo, Albert Cornelisse, Paulo Sulu'ape and Mike Brown all were there and will be here. Here in the garden at the Rock of Ages, the End of the Trail. Send us the details of your loved ones and we will put it up in our memorial garden. Their ashes, or just a small item. Thanks to Capt. Don's son, Bill Loika and Dave Singleton, and ofcourse Permanent Mark for donating Capt. Don photos, paintings and banners. Thanks all of you for spending in our specialized bookstore, antiques for sale on our action side T-bay.

Admiration, congratulations, kisses and hugs, proud as a monkey with seven dicks I came home into my emptied house. All is on show ans all what is left for me is my illustrated wife, who also proud and confused, put me to bed. Confused of what happened not because the seven dicks, confused but ready to take the future, the unreal thing we created, what have we started like in an ambush, never regret. The way out is forwards, no fear forwards my friends. We created this lovely beast, we will treasure it and you have to feed it. Together we give our unique art the monumental place its deserves. The Tatican is open, those about to bleed we salute.

Thank you all with all our love, from the Tatican, november 18th 119 A.R. and just before I was gonna put down this pen, thank you Catfish Carl, what a delicate and beautiful bronze machine like Colonel Todds famous Jim Dandy. I like to call this beauty “the sweetheart”, a tattoo treasure, thanks!

From the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum, I sign with great love and respect,


click on the picture for more pictures. we are stil busy with uploading more!