Amsterdam

Beyond the smoke and red-lighted windows, Amsterdam is a city teeming with music, dance, theater, and art, which has given it the epithet "nightlife capital of the world." Think outside the box—even outside the Grachtengordel—and you'll be amazed at what this city that (almost) never sleeps has to offer.

Many people know that The Night Watch is the name of Rembrandt’s most famous painting, but not everyone remembers that, back in the early 2000s, it was also the nickname of a bunch of "Night Mayors." This group of cultural leaders saw their role as fighters against the frumpiness that had cast a shadow over Amsterdam’s night scene since the city fathers cleared away the "squats"—the deserted buildings that were the settings for city’s wildest nighttime events and raves. Now, 15 years later, Amsterdam has happily reclaimed its reputation as a true nightlife capital. The city is a must-stop on the international DJ circuit, and new pop-up clubs and dance venues, plus a plethora of homegrown festivals, keep all walks of life shaking until the wee hours of the morning. The city is rich with inspired folk who are willing to organize a video-arts festival in a cruise-ship terminal, a gentle Bach recital on a canal, an arts festival in an abandoned factory, a house party in a football stadium, or some heart-stopping spectacle in a park. So get ready to savor Amsterdam’s giant cultural wallop through its numerous venues—from former churches and industrial monuments to the acoustical supremacy of the legendary hall of the Concertgebouw.

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  • 1. Air

    Rembrandtplein | Dance Clubs

    Although spacious, Air aims for an intimate vibe, with loads of dimly lighted nooks and multiple bars. If you're traveling with a crowd, know...Read More

  • 2. Bitterzoet

    Centrum | Dance Clubs

    An adventurous and diverse program of entertainment includes DJs, live bands, and even theater. When it comes to music, hip-hop, funk, rock...Read More

  • 3. Canvas

    Amsterdam-Oost | Dance Clubs

    Housed in a former newspaper building rechristened the Volkshotel, or People's Hotel, Canvas offers splendid views over the city from its seventh...Read More

  • 4. Club Church

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    Three floors of play-and-dance space offer changing theme nights six times a week. If you're looking to cruise, this is a good bet. ...Read More

  • 5. Club Up

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    An intimate little shoebox of a venue shares some of its amenities with members-only artists' society De Kring. As a result, arty house parties...Read More

  • 6. De Marktkantine

    Dance Clubs

    This former canteen for nearby market workers has been given back to the people as the city's newest creative breeding ground. Theater, club...Read More

  • 7. De Trut

    Oud-West | Bars/Pubs

    Every Sunday night, the basement of an old squat in an unmarked building opens its doors to the queer crowd. All staff are volunteers, and all...Read More

  • 8. Escape

    Rembrandtplein | Dance Clubs

    Thursday through Sunday, this megaclub opens its doors to some 2,500 people. It's a great Escape for those who take "dress to impress" literally...Read More

  • 9. Flirtation

    Oosterdok | Dance Clubs

    This highly successful women-only dance event for young lesbians and bi-curious girls occasionally takes over dance club Panama (and hosts summer...Read More

  • 10. Jimmy Woo's

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    Thursday through Sunday, this is probably the hottest club in town for the rich and famous and their wannabes. The urban grooves are funky,...Read More

  • 11. Lovelee

    Leidseplein | Dance Clubs

    Tucked away on a side street off of Leidseplein, this unique night club caters to an opened-minded, eclectic crowd that’s LGBTQ+ friendly. The...Read More

  • 12. Ma'dam

    Amsterdam-Noord | Dance Clubs

    Located in A'DAM, the landmark tower across the water from Centraal Station, this eatery in the clouds turns into a nightclub later in the evening...Read More

  • 13. Panama

    Oosterdok | Dance Clubs

    Colorful lights and thumping beats set the scene at Panama, a lively dance club where no two nights are the same. Their packed agenda features...Read More

  • 14. Shelter

    Dance Clubs

    As its name suggests, Shelter is a subterranean nightclub in the basement of the A'DAM Tower. The underground industrial warehouse vibe matches...Read More

  • 15. Studio 80

    Rembrandtplein | Dance Clubs

    With dim lighting and alternative programming, Studio 80 is unlikely to share its clientele with the neighboring mainstream clubs. On any given...Read More

  • 16. Closure

    Jordaan | Dance Clubs

    No pun intended, but this newcomer is helping to fill the gap left by the closure of the popular Trouw, with Saturday techno and Friday all...Read More

  • 17. Garbo

    Dance Clubs

    This women-only dance night for lesbians and bisexuals takes place every fourth Saturday of the month at different locations around the city. ...Read More

  • 18. Hotel Arena

    Amsterdam-Oost | Dance Clubs

    From tabernacles to turntables, yet another of Amsterdam's churches has been refurbished to accommodate the city's nightlife. Part of Hotel...Read More

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