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