Amsterdam takes its nightlife seriously, proven by the fact it has a night mayor (or nachtburgemeester), Shamiro van der Geld, who is responsible for keeping the city’s nightlife vibrant and safe. Geld, an MC, TV presenter and music producer, was elected into office in February 2018. So, what does a nachtburgemeester do? Well, Geld’s predecessor, Mirik Milan, managed to achieve 24-hour licences for the city when he was in office.
Amsterdam has a world-renowned clubbing scene, and the Netherlands is the birthplace of many electronic dance music (EDM) stars, including Tiësto, Armin van Buuren and Martin Garrix. The genre thrives with emerging artists and big names playing in venues all over the Dutch capital. The geography of Amsterdam, being relatively small and easily accessible by bike, enables you to hop from club to club in one night, while out-of-town venues have become a pilgrimage of sorts.
On the outskirts of town, near Schiphol airport, you’ll find RADION. With a 24-hour licence, in the day it’s a café and art space, but come night-time it transforms into a disco bunker. It puts on harder, techno-driven nights that can last for a couple of days, so this is the destination for serious clubgoers. RADION likes to put on experiences that you won’t find anywhere else; to stay in the know about upcoming club nights, simply check the venue’s events page.
The name of this nightclub, OT301, is a play on its location, Overtoom 301, which is just north of Vondelpark. Once a squat, today this hipster club pulls in a younger crowd thanks to the reasonably priced entry and drinks. During the week, OT301 tends to put on live music, while the at weekend it pulls together high-quality DJ line-ups from the Netherlands and beyond.
Claire is situated slap bang in the tourist hub on Rembrandtplein. The club is dedicated to incredible programming, bringing in DJs from all over the world. Nights here are well worth the entry price, around €14. The club is skilled at putting together varied line-ups in one night, specialising in house music, and combining up-and-coming and established artists. Claire is just plain fun.
Shelter can be found under the A’DAM Tower, a ferry ride across the water from Centraal station. More akin to a London club, it is big and spacious, with an intimate dance floor and the DJ situated in the centre. Big names such as Maceo Plex, Richie Hawton and Denis Sulta play here. Every so often, Shelter is granted a 24-hour licence. The subterranean location combined with the ferry crossing means you really feel like you’re escaping the city for the night.
Out to the west of the city, you’ll find De Marktkantine. The Marcanti building was once a canteen for wholesale traders working at the market next door. Now it is a varied space with a nightclub, theatre and workspaces. As one of the largest clubs in the Netherlands, the programming is both impressive and eclectic.
A sweatbox in the centre of town, this tiny club puts on some fun nights. This is the place to go if disco, funk, soul, boogie, house or hip-hop are your thing. Open seven nights a week and more affordable when compared to some of the bigger nightclubs, Disco Dolly attracts a younger crowd. Get warmed up for a night out by visiting one of Amsterdam’s best bars.
A small live-music venue, Bitterzoet offers something different every night, whether it’s a DJ line-up one or a live band. The music genres are just as varied, too, with the programming spanning everything from rock and hip-hop to soul and reggae. On weekdays, you can party until 3am and until 4am on weekends. With an affordable entry fee and eclectic music, Bitterzoet draws a young clientele.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Tom Coggins.