Since the 1970s musicians from former Yugoslavia (which at the time was one country) have been making songs about Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands had gained almost mythical status in the pop culture of the region due to the opportunities for activities free from the clutches of the traditional Balkans morality.
Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav music industry has produced at least seven songs titled “Amstedam,” and at least a dozen more that mention the city in some way.
One of the first such songs was a Slađana Milošević hit from 1979, combining punk and heavy metal elements.
Probably the most famous and the most popular rock song devoted to Amsterdam is SFRY was released by the Serbian band Riblja Čorba, as part of their album Osmi nervni slom (trans. Eighth Nervous Breakdown). It featured Guyanese-British reggae musician Eddy Grant on vocals. At the 1986 MESAM Festival, the band was awarded with the Rock Band of the Year Award, Bora Đorđević was proclaimed Composer of the Year, and “Amsterdam” was proclaimed Hit of the Year.
Three years later, the Croatian pop punk band Psihomodo Pop released an album titled Live in Amsterdam, while the city is featured as a destination in the song “Ona odlazi” (transl. She is leaving) as part of their studio album Sexy Magazin (1990).
During the breakup of Yugoslav federation, Holland served as a place of refuge from the war for number of musicians, the most famous among them has been Branimir “Johnny” Štulić, the frontman of the Zagreb rock band Azra.
More than a decade later, in 2002, Bosnian singer Amir Kazić, known by his stage name Leo, released a pop song about separation due to a trip to Amsterdam.
Croatian pop singer Luka Nižetić released his song titled “Amsterdam” in 2015, with a joyful rhythm and unpretentious witty lyrics.
In the direction of hip hop
During the last decade, several hip hop and funk artists also devoted songs to the most famous city in the Netherlands.
The producer and rapper from Mostar, Darko Majerski, known by his stage name Mayer, released the song “Amsterdam” on his 2011 album Raštiman Rastaman (trans. Rastaman Out of Tune)
In June 2018 female youtuber duo Andjela & Nadja released a summer hit video titled “Amsterdam,” with music leaning towards turbo-folk and lyrics which don’t actually deal with the city. The girls are sisters from Serbia, living in France.
The following November, Macedonian rapper Slatkaristika released a single about Amsterdam, with mysic by Jovan Jovanov, and lyrics including homage to the eponymous Riblja Čorba song.