Michel de Hey On Everything You Need To Know About the Amsterdam Dance Scene

Michel de Hey guides us through the dance music scene in Amsterdam
Michel de Hey guides us through the dance music scene in Amsterdam | © Jordy Volkering

Editorial Manager

Dutch DJ and music producer Michel de Hey guides us through the incredible dance music scene in Amsterdam – the city that has inspired his work and a destination that comes alive during its internationally renowned electronic festival, the Amsterdam Dance Event.

Entering the music scene in the early days of electronic dance in the ’80s, Michel de Hey originally came from Rotterdam but soon found himself drawn to Amsterdam. As he puts it himself, he came for love and the birth of his baby, but now, “The love has gone and the baby is not so small anymore, but I still live here and enjoy every minute of it!”

He’s now one of the leading lights of Dutch techno music, and Culture Trip talked to him to find out about his new album – a personal collection – and get his thoughts on one of the biggest dance events in the world.

Michel de Hey is a big name in Dutch techno

Culture Trip: Your upcoming Let It Go LP was produced during six years when a lot happened in your life. Tell us more about the inspirations behind it.

Michel de Hey: The first idea for the LP actually arrived when I was in Berlin; I started to produce the tracks in the basement of my house following my divorce. At this time I could finally begin to put my records and my studio stuff in one room. The room turned out to be very messy, but the right environment to create music. I just wanted to make tracks that I would listen to and be proud of. I would still consider the LP to be house music, but with less emphasis on the dance floor and more appeal to everyday listening.

CT: You now live in Amsterdam. What is the vibe like in clubs here? Is it relaxed and chilled or formal?

MdH: Contrary to popular belief, going to a club in Amsterdam does not mean you can order drugs at the bar, or freely use drugs on the dance floor, or behave like Al Pacino in Scarface. The rules are the same as most clubs and parties, for instance in the UK.

However, most clubs have their own kind of crowd, aimed at a specific style of dance music. Because of this, it creates a night with musically like-minded people; as long as you do not go to a Hells Angels club night, most clubs have a nice mix of students, regular clubbers, tourists and regular club guests who are devoted to their club. Most of the time I like it when the crowd is diverse, as it is the right reflection of the city.

CT: Is Amsterdam really a party town?

MdH: When you know the places to visit it is a party city, but especially with ADE, it is crazy, like every clothing store, shoe store or Dutch beer bar has its own ADE party. It gives the city a happy vibe during the week and it seems the party never stops. Apart from all the regular club and event places, there are so many parties in different places, people get keuzestress, which in English translates to getting stressed by so much choice!

Michel de Hey came to the city for love and stayed for the music

CT: Give us your guide to ADE, the world-famous Amsterdam Dance Event.

MdH: When you do not have an ADE badge, make sure to walk by the Felix Meritus as everybody stands in front of the door there and the road is blocked so cars cannot drive through anymore. It is a nice networking opportunity in this crazy dance industry and an interesting combination, from regular partygoers to industry juggernauts. Most people you speak to are looking over their shoulder to see if they can find somebody more interesting to speak with, usually making a normal conversation even quicker than the ones you have in a club!

CT: How does the dance/party scene in Amsterdam compare with those around the world?

MdH: The whole scene in Amsterdam and most of Holland is very professional and sometimes difficult to compare to other countries. As competition is fierce, it creates a high standard for clubs and festivals. You have to make sure you do something special, otherwise you will not get noticed. But with pop-up venues like Paradiso and Melkweg, where everything goes from rock to pop to hip-hop to house to reggae, and clubs like De Marktkantine, De School, Claire, Radion, Bret, Disco Dolly, Alto, Chin Chin, Social Club where each has its own identity and crowd, there is a lot going on!

Also, Thuishaven, a festival site in Amsterdam, proves to be an essential part of Amsterdam day and nightlife. It goes for every big city – you have to be prepared to know where the nice parties are, but with the invention of the internet, it is, thankfully, not so difficult!

CT: Why should dance music fans consider coming to Amsterdam?

MdH: The variety of clubs, the relaxed vibe of the city, the one-off parties, festivals and, of course, there are some nice museums too!

ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) is held annually in mid-October.

Michel de Hey is a regular on Amsterdam’s club scene
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.