Amsterdam nightlife and clubs

When it comes to nightlife in Amsterdam, there are bars, venues, dance festivals and club nights to suit every taste. DJs keep the crowd going with everything from techno, dub step and trance to hip-hop, funk and deep house. Locations are all over the city. The majority is concentrated around two squares: Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein but even these two squares are in walking distance from each other so your nightlife or bar crawl can be done walking although a taxi is often the best way to find your hotel again since the canals all look the same after a few beers.

But the start up version of a Club Night usually is a bar.
The Dutch have their own version of country music with songs that are either about tears and heartache or having crazy fun. This music is mostly played in the traditional Dutch bars called brown cafes. They got this name because their ceilings coloured brown due to the patrons heavy smoking. Inside smoking did not last, but the music did.
These local watering-holes are a quintessential part of Amsterdam’s culture – and are the favoured haunts of some colourful local personalities.

Go to places like Cafe Nol, Jantjes verjaardag or Bolle Jan to get this vibe and dance with the Dutch. While you are here try a glass of Jenever. It is a Dutch distilled alcohol that served as the base for Gin. The best combination is called Kopstoot (head butt) and is a glass of Heineken with a shot of Jenever next to it.

Although they are not really bars but concert halls Melkweg and Paradiso have to be in this list. These two venues are Kings when it comes to live music. The best bands have performed here before, during and after their fame. Tupac, Snoop and LMFAO appreciate the vibe in Melkweg. Prince performed in Paradiso before he became royalty, The Rolling Stones once gave a mini concert here just to please their local fans.

They often have last minute tickets available so don’t be shy and give them a try.

Palladium, Escape and Jimmy Woo provide a more upscale atmosphere. The Jimmy Woo finished redecorating early 2019 but kept the trade mark ceiling with the thousands of lightbulbs that are computer controlled and do their own dance to the music.

The DJ Magazine top 10 of world’s best DJ’s is owned by Dutch DJ’s so it is no surprise the nightlife and bars are full of young DJ’s fighting to be the next up and coming star. The overall atmosphere in Amsterdam nightlife is relaxed and safe. There are no real black spots that you should avoid so you can make the most of your night out.

Festivals are all years round, but due to the weather you will find most of them late spring and summer. They take place in the city, in whare houses, stadiums, along the water and out in the fields. Although Amsterdam is known for the relaxed drug policy only weed and marihuana can be used freely. Anything else is illegal. The festivals often have free drug testing but the Jellinek organisation does it all year round in their offices downtown.