Visit our other shop, Dare 2 Wear

we are MOVING in January 2019 🙂

after 10 years in the alley, we will move to the front row!

you can find us at ROKIN 60

come & visit us, we cant be more excited!


Upcoming guests:

Kaya Tomahawk (Italy) December 2-6 / Dec 29 – Jan 2 / Feb 1 – March 3

our darling Nancy Tattoeer will be back for a visit on (NL/Spain) Jan 17 – Jan 31 (or longer :))

Contact us to book your appointment

Welcome to our website

History | Tattooing | Designs | Aftercare | Prices


A tattoo is a mark made by inserting pigment into the skin for decorative or other reasons. Tattoos on humans are a type of decorative body modification, while tattoos on animals are most commonly used for identification or branding.

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide. The Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, wore facial tattoos, as do some Maori of New Zealand to this day. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples, and among certain tribal groups in the Philippines, Borneo, Mentawai Islands, Africa, North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, Japan, Cambodia, New Zealand and China. Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the art continues to be popular all over the world.

Maori Chief

A Maori Chief with tattoos (moko) seen by Cook and his crew.

The word “tattoo” is a borrowing of the Samoan word tatau, meaning to mark or strike twice (the latter referring to traditional methods of applying the designs). The first syllable “ta”, meaning “hand”, is repeated twice as an onomatopoeic reference to the repetitive nature of the action, and the final syllable “U” translates to “color”. The instrument used to pierce the skin in Polynesian tattooing is called a hahau, the syllable “ha” meaning to “strike or pierce”.

The OED gives the etymology of tattoo as “In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian (Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, etc.) tatau. In Marquesan, tatu.” The first closest known usage of the word in English was recorded in the diary of Captain James Cook in 1769 during his voyage to the Marquesas Islands. The text reads, “…they print signs on people’s body and call this tattaw”, referring to the Polynesian customs. Sailors on the voyage later introduced both the word and reintroduced the concept of tattooing to Europe.

In Japanese the most common word used for traditional designs or those that are applied using traditional methods is irezumi (“insertion of ink”), while “tattoo” is used for non-Japanese designs.

Tattoo enthusiasts may refer to tattoos as “tats,” “ink,” “art,” or “work,” and to tattooists as “artists.” The latter usage is gaining greater support, with mainstream art galleries holding exhibitions of both traditional and custom tattoo designs. Copyrighted tattoo designs that are mass-produced and sold to tattoo artists are known as flash, a notable instance of industrial design. Flash sheets are prominently displayed in many tattoo parlors for the purpose of providing both inspiration and ready-made tattoo images to customers.

Scythian Chieftain

A tattoo on the right arm of a Scythian chieftain, whose mummy was discovered at Pazyryk, Russia.

Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times. Ötzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BCE, was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BCE have been discovered at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau. Tattooing in Japan is thought to go back to the Paleolithic era, some ten thousand years ago. Various other cultures have had their own tattoo traditions, ranging from rubbing cuts and other wounds with ashes, to hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes.


Indigenous Tattooing Traditions

Tattooing is a tradition amongst indigenous peoples around the world.

Decorative and spiritual uses

Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures, sometimes with unintended consequences.

Today, people choose to be tattooed for cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, and magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs (see criminal tattoos) but also a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture. Some Māori still choose to wear intricate moko on their faces. In Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, the yantra tattoo is used for protection against evil and increase luck.


People have also been forcibly tattooed for various reasons. The best known example is the ka-tzetnik identification system for Jews in part of the concentration camps during the Holocaust. However tattoos can be linked with identification in more positive ways. For example, in the period of early contact between Māori and Europeans, Māori chiefs sometimes drew their moko (facial tattoo) on documents in place of a signature. Even today, tattoos are sometimes used by forensic pathologists to help them identify burned, putrefied, or mutilated bodies. Tattoo pigment is buried deep enough in the skin that even severe burns will often not destroy a tattoo. Because of this, many members of today’s military will have their identification tags tattooed onto their ribs; these are known as “meat tags”.

Tattoos are also placed on animals, though very rarely for decorative reasons. Pets, show animals, thoroughbred horses and livestock are sometimes tattooed with identification and other marks. Pet dogs and cats are often tattooed with a serial number (usually in the ear, or on the inner thigh) via which their owners can be identified. Also, animals are occasionally tattooed to prevent sunburn (on the nose, for example). Such tattoos are often performed by a veterinarian and in most cases the animals are anesthetized during the process. Branding is used for similar reasons and is often performed without anesthesia, but is different from tattooing as no ink or dye is inserted during the process.


When used as a form of cosmetics, tattooing includes permanent makeup, and hiding or neutralizing skin discolorations. Permanent makeup are tattoos that enhance eyebrows, lips (liner and/or lipstick), eyes (liner), and even moles, usually with natural colors as the designs are intended to resemble makeup.

Nowadays Tattoos have experienced a resurgence in popularity in many parts of the world, particularly in North America, Japan, and Europe. The growth in tattoo culture has seen an influx of new artists into the industry, many of whom have technical and fine art training. Coupled with advancements in tattoo pigments and the on going refinement of the equipment used for tattooing, this has led to an improvement in the quality of tattoos being produced.
During the 2000s, the presence of tattoos became evident within pop culture, inspiring television shows such as Miami Ink & LA Ink

In many traditional cultures tattooing has also enjoyed a resurgence, partially in deference to cultural heritage. Historically, a decline in traditional tribal tattooing in Europe occurred with the spread of Christianity. A decline often occurred in other cultures following European efforts to convert aboriginal and indigenous people to Western religious and cultural practices that held tattooing to be a “pagan” or “heathen” activity. Within some traditional indigenous cultures, tattooing takes place within the context of a rite of passage between adolescence and adulthood.


Tattooing involves the placement of pigment into the skin’s dermis, the layer of connective tissue underlying the epidermis. After initial injection, pigment is dispersed throughout a homogenized damaged layer down through the epidermis and upper dermis, in both of which the presence of foreign material activates the immune system’s phagocytes to engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis flakes away (eliminating surface pigment) while deeper in the skin granulation tissue forms, which is later converted to connective tissue by collagen growth. This mends the upper dermis, where pigment remains trapped within fibroblasts, ultimately concentrating in a layer just below the dermis/epidermis boundary. Its presence there is very stable, but in the long term (decades) the pigment tends to migrate deeper into the dermis, accounting for the degraded detail of old tattoos.

The modern electric tattoo machine is far removed from the machine invented by Samuel O’Reilly in 1891. O’Reilly’s machine was based on the rotary technology of the electric engraving device invented by Thomas Edison. Modern tattoo machines use electromagnetic coils. The first coil machine was patented by Thomas Riley in London, 1891 using a single coil. The first twin coil machine, the predecessor of the modern configuration, was invented by another Englishman, Alfred Charles South of London, in 1899.

Tattoo removal

While tattoos are considered permanent, it is possible to remove them. Complete removal, however, may not be possible (although many doctors and laser practitioners make the claim that upwards of 95% removal is possible with the newest lasers, especially with black and darker colored inks), and the expense and pain of removing them typically will be greater than the expense and pain of applying them. Some jurisdictions will pay for the voluntary removal of gang tattoos. Pre-laser tattoo removal methods include dermabrasion, salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with salt), cryosurgery, and excision which is sometimes still used along with skin grafts for larger tattoos.

Tattoo removal is most commonly performed using lasers that react with the ink in the tattoo, and break it down. The broken-down ink is then absorbed by the body, mimicking the natural fading that time or sun exposure would create. This technique often requires many repeated visits to remove even a small tattoo, and may result in permanent scarring. The newer Q-switched lasers are said by the National Institute of Health to result in scarring only rarely, however, and are usually used only after a topical anesthetic has been applied. The NIH recognizes five types of tattoo; amateur, professional, cosmetic, medical, and traumatic (or natural). Amateur tattoos are easier and quicker to remove, usually, than professional tattoos. Areas with thin skin will be more likely to scar than thicker-skinned areas. There are several types of Q-switched lasers, and each is effective at removing a different range of the color spectrum. This laser effectively removes black, blue, purple and red tattoo pigment. New lasers like the Versapulse & Medlite laser treat these colors & yellow and green ink pigment, typically the hardest colors to remove. Black is the easiest color to remove.

Also worth considering is the fact that some of the pigments used (especially Yellow #7) are known to break down into toxic chemicals in the body when attacked by light. This is especially a concern if these tattoos are exposed to UV light or laser removal; the resulting degradation products end up migrating to the kidneys and liver. Laser removal of traumatic tattoos may similarly be complicated depending on the substance of the pigmenting material. In one reported instance, the use of a laser resulted in the ignition of embedded particles of firework debris.

Some wearers opt to cover an unwanted tattoo with a new tattoo. This is commonly known as a cover-up. An artfully done cover-up may render the old tattoo completely invisible, though this will depend largely on the size, style, colors and techniques used on the old tattoo. Some shops and artists use laser removal machines to break down and lighten undesired tattoos to make coverage with a new tattoo easier. Since tattoo ink is translucent, covering up a previous tattoo necessitates darker tones in the new tattoo to effectively hide the older, unwanted piece.

Allergic reactions to tattoo pigments are uncommon except for certain brands of red and green. People who are sensitive or allergic to certain metals may react to pigments in the skin with swelling and/or itching, and/or oozing of clear fluid called serum. Such reactions are quite rare, however.

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Getting your first tattoo
Getting your first tattoo is usually the biggest step in getting tattoos.
If you are really not sure if you are going to like the looks of it, buy a fake stick-on and leave it on for a few days. In this way you’ll know whether you like it and on which spot you prefer it. It’s not too difficult to imagine yourself with it, so it’s not so much an issue if you like the looks of it but the thought of needles poking your skin can be repulsive for people, depending on their own fantasy/ creative mind.. You can make yourself as scared or sick as you want, but you can also try to stay relaxed and realize it’s only for a little while. If you heal right and you like your body decorated with it, you’ll not be so hesitant to get another one.

Choosing the kind of tattoo

there are many different styles to get tattooed. Below a list of possible styles:


of course every tattoo will be drawn especially for every person. You can also bring your own design. Sometimes it need to be redrawn to fit as a tattoo

Sometimes a customer wants to get tattooed somewhere different and unusual. Spots like neck, face, hands (fingers as well!) are always visible and therefore critisized. So we think are not suitable to start with. Usually people who are fully covered by tattooed get these spots tattooed the last. Also because the skin of the hands and feet is so different and more difficult than the rest of the body to tattoo and to keep it look good.

Since pregnant ladies can react to anything in and on their body, it is possible she would get an allergic reaction to the tattoo-ink or aftercare. Furthermore since her body is already busy making a baby it should not have an extra thing (a wound) to heal. Also the skin will be more sensitive. Therefore we do not tattoo pregnant women.

Getting it and taking care of it

Getting tattooed is the best if you’re rested, nourished, healthy and relaxed.
Make sure you don’t drink alcohol or use drugs the night before, because then you might bleed alot and your skin is more sensitive.
Don’t get tattooed if you are not sure you really want it. Because then your mind will have to accept it first, before it starts healing. And if you don’t know whether you like it you can get too focused and troubled by it.
Don`t get tattooed until having consulted your doctor if you have the following complaints: diabetic, hemofilia, metalallergy, had (plastic) surgery on the desired spot and on spots where you see a swelling or any kind of deformation of the skin.

Your rights as a customer (service)

After getting tattooed, you can always come to the shop and show the tattoo you got. If you have any questions or if you just like somebody to have a look at it, go back to the person who tattooed you. Sometimes a tattoo is not healing totally right and needs a different way of cleaning for instance. you should be able to go back as a service. Sometimes the tattoo need a little touch-up. This should be done by preferrably the same tattooist who did it originally and this should be for free of charge.

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Since there are too many different styles and possibilities nowadays we can not to go into each one separately.

Its always best if you have a good idea of what you want

And very helpful if you can bring some examples of this

That can be a print out or a drawing, a picture or a link to a certain page on the internet that represents what you like

We will always draw every tattoo especially for you, so there will be nobody with the same tattoo

Drawing is for free

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Congratulations with you new tattoo!

Things to do:

After getting a tattoo, leave the bandage/ foil on for 2-4 hours.
Then wash you hands wild a mild, non perfumed soap (PH neutral)
Remove the bandage carefully
Wash the tattoo with the same mild, non perfumed soap.
Make sure you rinse all the soap off again
Pat dry with a clean towel or soft paper towel. DON’T RUB IT
If your skin gets very dry you can put abit of an anti-scarring product on it. Use only new tubes and only for yourself (the less you use the better)
Wash your hands again.

For the next 10 days you will need to clean your tattoo this exact same way.
The first 4 days 2x a day, the last 6 days 1x a day will be sufficient.

After some days your tattoo might have some small scabs/flakes. Don’t rub them off.
Usually the tattoo will itch while healing. DON’T SCRATCH

Within 2-4 weeks your tattoo has healed

Things NOT to do:
Don’t touch your tattoo with dirty hands
Don’t wear tight clothing on it
And preferrably wear coton instead of synthetic and wool fabrics.
Don’t go into the sun or even shade with your tattoo
Avoid sunlight on your tattoo for at least 4 weeks
Don’t go swimming or bathing or in the sauna
Don’t put any band-aid on your tattoo

How to keep your tattoo looking good:
Always put a high protection suncream on your tattoo while sunbathing (to keep the colors bright)

You can always come back for a check-up!
If you have any questions or uncertainties about your tattoo, please let us know.
If you experience extreme redness, severe pain, swelling or pus you need to contact a doctor.

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The price for a tattoo will depend on the design, the detail, the size and the place.

Our miniumprice for a tattoo is 80 euros. This is because of the sterile use of products, the new needle and the time to set-up for a tattoo. when the drawing is ready we can give you an approximate price

For bigger pieces that cannot be done in 1 sitting we charge an hourly price starting from 150 euros p/hour. depending on the artist this can vary; some (guest)artists charge more.

Usually it will be difficult to give you an exact price quotation because there are many things that influence the time it takes to make the tattoo. For instance also how you are dealing with getting tattooed. If you make sure you are rested and have eaten before, you can sit still more easily. Which makes it easier for the tattooist to continue and finish your piece.

Drawing a design is for free when you get tattooed, as well as redrawing your design. we do charge 50-100 euros (or more for sleeves, backpieces etc) to make an appointment. this money will be cleared with the money you pay for the tattoo. just to be sure you are serious in getting a tattoo and that the tattooist doesnt waste its time by drawing for nothing or for waiting. if you decide not to get tattooed after all, there will be no refund. if you need to reschedule your appointment, you will sometimes have to pay extra, depending on the artist. also we dont reschedule more than 1x, to protect the artist and the shop for having nothing to do.

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Visit Us

Spaarpotsteeg 2
1012 KS, Amsterdam
tel: +31(020)-7539652

Monday/Sunday 12.00-19.00

Sometimes it can be busy at the shop and we'd like to take enough time for everybody. If you want to get pierced, try to arrive before 18:00 hrs, to avoid any disappointments.

Please take note of our adjusted piercing age policy
Age 6 – 16: only earlobes, a parent or legal guardian must be present
Age 16 – 18: all piercings except nipple/genitalia, a parent or legal guardian must be present
Age 18 and over: all piercings, no parent or legal guardian needed

We do not pierce children under six years of age.
We do not tattoo under 18 years of age.
Please make sure to always bring an ID (this also applies to the guardian).

© Classic Ink & Mods 2016