From world-class sports teams to unbeatable nightlife, Amsterdam is one of the planet’s most youthful capitals.
Amsterdam easily ranks among the best cities in the world for young people and has plenty to offer anyone in their twenties. So whether you’re looking to party, eager to discover new experiences, or just want to chill out with some friends, Amsterdam has it all.
An obvious, yet fitting choice as a significant margin of 20-somethings head to Amsterdam to enjoy the city’s cannabis culture. Due to the large number of licensed coffeeshops spread throughout the city finding a decent place to smoke pot is usually pretty easy.
Chart your on course through Amsterdam’s historic canal belt by renting out a pedal boat. It is possible to hire these four-seated vessels from tour companies based in Amsterdam’s centre.
While a considerable number of bars in Amsterdam screen Ajax matches whenever the team is playing, nothing beats watching the club duke it out on their home turf in Johan Cruijff Arena. The stadium is located in Amsterdam’s Zuidoost district and seats over 50,000 supporters.
Aside from the kitschy tourist-orientated sex shops scattered throughout Amsterdam, there are many other more tasteful establishments that cater to a wide range of preferences, orientations and kinks. There’s even a condom specialist store in the Red Light District, called Condomerie, which also acts as an information centre for safe, fun sex and several businesses that focus specifically on female eroticism.
Ever heard of jenever? It’s a delicious juniper-based spirit that predates gin and has been popular in the Netherlands for over 400 years. Pair this tasty, aromatic liquor with a beer and you get a kopstoot (English translation: headbutt). The place to drink it is De Drie Fleschjes, the oldest tasting room in Amsterdam that’s on Dam square and dates back to 1650. Order some classic Dutch snacks soakage or enjoy the fact you’re too young for killer hangovers.
You might only be visiting but if the sun is shining follow the cool kids and take a picnic to Vondelpark. It’s Amsterdam’s most famous park designed and built in 1850; a beautiful green meeting space in the city. Pack sandwiches from a local deli, a bottle or two of wine and make a day of it by cycling around the park before settling down on a patch of grass.
Amsterdam’s IJhallen flea market takes place on the first weekend of every month inside two industrial-sized shipping containers on NDSM-Werf. There’s always a massive selection of secondhand treasures on offer at the market, including preloved shoes, furniture, vinyl and clothing.
The vintage shopping potential in Amsterdam is limitless and largely underrated. The place to go for a good rummage? Episode. There are five stores dotted around the city. They are known for their rigorous style and quality checks and repair, recycle and often redesign second-hand clothes before garments hit the shop floor. Expect everything from 80s ski jackets to hip Hawaiian shirts and plenty of retro denim, plus vinyl and all the accessories.
Literally thousands of EDM musicians perform at venues throughout Amsterdam during ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). The festival’s program is spread over four days in mid-October and always includes some of the best parties, concerts and club nights of the year. Obviously, it is impossible to attend all of these events, but trying to cram as many into four days as possible is something everyone in their twenties should attempt at least once.
Both TonTon Clubs in Amsterdam feature around 20 classic coin-op video game machines that date back to the golden era of arcades. There are some real gems inside either location including Time Crisis II, Bishi Bashi Special and several 1990s fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. There’s also booze.
Everything at this indoor miniature golf course on Prinshendrikade glows with a florescent gleam befitting a 1980s science fiction movie. There are 15 neon holes to conquer inside which are surrounded by tripped-out obstacles.
Ever noticed the red, metal contraption jutting off the top of A’DAM Toren? That’s the Over the Edge Swing, a suspended swingset that dangles above Amsterdam’s northern dockland. While the ride certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted, it does offer one of the best panoramas over Amsterdam.
Amsterdam hosts a number of globally acclaimed festivals, but the one for twenty-somethings to head to is Pluk de Nacht, an open-air film festival that takes place every summer. Go for a selection of unreleased indie arthouse films, docs, animations and shorts. It attracts film nerds and hipsters from far and wide to watch movies from the comfort of bean bags and striped deck chairs. The bars sell wine and Belgian beers as well as delicious burgers.
Judy Cogan contributed additional reporting to this article.
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