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© Robinpiso / WikiCommons
© Robinpiso / WikiCommons
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A Music Lover's Guide to Amsterdam

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 8 March 2017
When it comes to music, Amsterdam has something for everyone and features hundreds of venues, stores, clubs and festivals that cater to a massive range of preferences. Read on to discover where to experience highlights from Amsterdam’s music scene, including the best nightclubs in the city, several amazing record stores and the summer’s main musical events.

Record Stores

Amsterdam is at the forefront of the vinyl revival movement and boasts numerous excellent record stores, many of which are frequented by local music producers and international recording artists. Concerto is undoubtedly the best place in the city to pick up mainstream genres, such as pop or rock, and also stocks a wide range of hip hop, electronic and classical records throughout its massive site on Utrechtsestraat. For more alternative tracks, it is worth checking out Amsterdam’s underground mainstays, like Rush Hour Records, which is helmed by a famous electronic record label of the same name, Red Light Records in the Red Light District, or Waxwell Records in the Nine Streets.

Live Music

Apart from massive concert spaces like the Ziggo Dome or the Heineken Music Hall, which mainly book high-profile artists, Amsterdam also has many independent music venues and live music bars. Smaller venues such as De Nieuwe Anita, OCIII, or OT301 organize events throughout the month, while Paradiso and Melkweg on Liedseplein are well known for their diverse musical programs. Classical music and jazz is also well represented in Amsterdam at de Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ – two monumental buildings that are located on Museumplein and Oosterdok respectively.

DeWolff playing at Paradiso | © Robinpiso / WikiCommons
DeWolff playing at Paradiso | © Robinpiso / WikiCommons

Clubs

Among the many clubs in Amsterdam, three currently hold a 24-hour license and are able to organize weekend-long parties. Called Radion, de School and Shelter, these three venues are spread over the city and generally focus on contemporary electronic dance music. Both Radion and de School are located in the city’s western axis, while Shelter is part of A’DAM Toren in Amsterdam-Noord. Other than these prominent clubs, there are also several dance music venues in the center of the city, including Sugar Factory and Chicago Social Club on Liedseplein, and Club NYX on Reguliersdwarsstraat.

Shelter is underneath A'DAM Toren | © Franklin Heijnen // Flickr
Shelter is located underneath A’DAM Toren | © Franklin Heijnen // Flickr

Festivals

Festivals in Amsterdam tend to lean towards electronic music, and many important EDM events take place in the city throughout the year. The festival season kicks off on Easter Weekend with DGTL at NDSM-Werf – which always books leading names from the international EDM scene – and continues all the way through summer with other important events, such as het Lente Kabinet, Pitch, and Dekmantel. In October, Amsterdam also hosts the largest club festival in the world called ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), where over 2000 artists perform at hundreds of venues around the city. There are also two annual hip hop and R&B festivals in Amsterdam, called Encore and Appelsap.