Clubs and Nightlife in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's nightlife takes place around Dam Square, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein where numerous Bruin cafés, discos, pubs and clubs can be found.
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Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular nightlife capitals. A trendy city always on the lookout for the latest in entertainment, the Dutch capital offers plenty of opportunities for those who want to stay up late or simply have a good time.

Here, there is a wide choice of clubs that manage to keep the many young people who visit the city every year awake until the morning light. Most clubs open in the morning and stay open until one in the morning or, on weekends, even until three o’clock.

Nightlife areas and recommended venues

A concert in the Sala Paradiso

Most clubs are located in the area around Dam Square, De Pijp and Leidseplein.

Among the most popular venues are the Winston, one of the most fashionable and popular with students, the Panama, a disco that organises themed parties and the Bitterzoet (‘bittersweet’), an informal venue that includes a bar, disco, concert hall and theatre.

The main area where the nightlife takes place is undoubtedly Leidsplein, just outside the city centre. This is where the best-known nightclubs are located, which are the Sugar Factory, a famous venue offering live music, the Paradiso and the Melkweg, best known for its concerts and live music shows. The music on offer ranges from hip-hop to rock, from house to dance music.
Leidesplein is also populated by casinos, cinemas and theatres, including the Stadsschouwburg and the Lido. A popular and busy street is Nes, a parallel to the Rokin boulevard, full of cafés that attract a more intellectual clientele.

The Jordaan and Rempbrendtplein are home to famous clubs such as Club More, with performers from international artists, The Mazzo, the oldest disco in the city, Soul andEscape, the largest club in Amsterdam. Rembrandtplein is a very lively area at night, surrounded by cafés and nightclubs that are popular with locals and tourists alike, but who often only crowd the area around Dam Square. The Jordaan, on the other hand, also boasts a myriad of cafés, restaurants and clubs frequented by young professionals and students.

These areas are not only frequented by clubbers, but also by those who prefer to spend the evening drinking beer in a pub, where it is easy to meet other tourists and have fun together. The ambience is very casual and you will easily feel at ease.

Remember that the minimum age to enter discos is 18; in some cases, some clubs only allow 21 year olds to enter.

Club entrance selection

Entry to clubs is subject to a selection policy on some evenings, so much so that it is also difficult to enter a club if you do not already have a previously purchased ticket, as the evenings often feature internationally renowned singers and DJs. Discos such as Escape and Jimmy Woo often have a selection at the entrance.

Bruin Café

A historic Bruin Café

Among the typical venues are undoubtedly the Bruin Cafés, where the brown (bruin) comes from the colour the walls have taken on due to cigarette smoke. Bruin Cafés are an integral part of Dutch culture and stay open until one or two in the morning. Each Bruin Café has its own charm and character. They are the Dutch version of the British pub and one of the best is Cafe De Koningshut. Some, like Café Hoppe and Café Chris, date back to the 1600s.

Coffeeshops

The Bulldog No 90

Many tourists in Amsterdam will certainly try to liven up their evenings by stopping off at one of the many coffee shops throughout the city as a first stop.

The coffeeshops, where the sale of soft drugs such as marijuana and hashish is permitted, offer a lot of fun: among the best known are the Green House Centrum, Barney’s, Dampkring, Bulldog Lounge and Bulldog Rockshop.

Buying and smoking in coffeeshops is legal, but buying marijuana on the street is not; illegal behaviour is severely punished by the local police.

Red light district

Finally, how could we not mention Amsterdam’s red light district, which always attracts crowds of tourists. Here you will see not only window-shopping patrons but also many curious onlookers, often whole families, who want to have a look at this eccentric district and the famous shop-window girls.

The area, however, is not just about sex but is populated with excellent bars, clubs and craft breweries and is also home to some theatres offering interesting cabaret and variety shows.

Closing times

During the week, bars and cafés in the centre of Amsterdam can stay open until 01:00, a time that shifts to 03:00 at weekends. In general, nightclubs are open until 03:00 during the week and until 04:00 at weekends.

In Amsterdam, you will also find a special category of bars called ‘nachtcafés‘ (night bars), which are allowed to stay open until 04:00 during the week and until 05:00 at weekends.

Insights

Best Amsterdam Coffee Shops

Best Amsterdam Coffee Shops

Soft drugs are tolerated in the Netherlands and on every corner of Amsterdam you will encounter Coffeeshops, where locals and tourists consume cannabis.
De Wallen, the Red Light District in Amsterdam

De Wallen, the Red Light District in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's Red Light District is not just illuminated shop windows and sex shops but rather a picturesque area criss-crossed by a maze of narrow streets and canals.
Bruin Cafés

Bruin Cafés

Bruin Cafés are traditional places where you can breathe in the authentic Amsterdam atmosphere. The name comes from the dark wood interior and blackened walls.
The Bulldog, Amsterdam’s most famous coffee shops

The Bulldog, Amsterdam’s most famous coffee shops

The hound with the studded collar is the symbol of The Bulldog, Amsterdam's most famous Coffeshop chain. There are five locations, but the best is 90.
Foodhallen Amsterdam

Foodhallen Amsterdam

Rembrandtplein

Rembrandtplein

Leidseplein

Leidseplein

Amsterdam Icebar

Amsterdam Icebar

Concert and performance venues

Johan Cruijff Arena

Johan Cruijff Arena

The Amsterdam ArenA is the home of Ajax and the setting for numerous events. The venue is famous for its movable roof that turns it into an enclosed stadium.
Ziggo Dome

Ziggo Dome

The Ziggo Dome is Amsterdam's most important concert arena. Opened in 2012, it has seen performances by both local and internationally renowned artists.
AFAS Live, former Heineken Music Hall

AFAS Live, former Heineken Music Hall

AFAS Live, formerly called Heineken Music Hall, is a concert hall in Amsterdam that constantly sees internationally renowned artists perform on its stage.
Melkweg

Melkweg

The Melkweg is one of the busiest clubs in Amsterdam, and at the same time a cultural centre offering photography and film evenings.
Paradiso

Paradiso

Paradiso is located in a former 19th-century church, not far from Leidsplein, and is one of the most popular alternative music venues in Amsterdam.
Royal Theatre Carré

Royal Theatre Carré

The Carrè Theatre, founded in 1887, was supposed to permanently house the circus, but soon became used for a large number of shows.

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Amsterdam: City Card with Free Entrance & Public Transport
Amsterdam: City Card with Free Entrance & Public Transport
Discover Amsterdam with the official I amsterdam City Card. Visit world-class museums and attractions for free, get unlimited access to Amsterdam's public transport, and enjoy a free canal cruise.
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