Whenever you are traveling it’s ideal if you can pick up the “free alternative weekly” on your first day in the city. Guide books and travel guide sites (like this one) can only go into so much detail, especially about current entertainment listings. But these tabloid papers found in nearly every city in the world usually specialize in, or sometimes only exist, because of their strong local entertainment coverage. Fine, but what about traveling to a place where you don’t speak the local language? Well, in Amsterdam they’ve got you covered anyway.
The Amsterdam Weekly comes out every Wednesday and is written completely in English. And it’s not just written in English, it’s really well written by anyone’s standards. The expat community in Amsterdam is large, and to the chagrin of some locals, many of them drag their feet in learning Dutch. The Amsterdam Weekly serves not only the many Brits and Americans holed up throughout the city, but also nearly every other foreigner who can continue to avoid learning the tongue-twisting local language.
In some other Continental cities you’ll find an English-language weekly, and often they are put together by just a few people trying their hardest to put out something of a professional standard. But the Amsterdam Weekly looks and reads as sharp as anything you’d find in London or New York City. Their feature articles are interesting and well written, and their entertainment listings are in-depth and very complete.
Download the whole thing for free
If you don’t believe me you can check it out for yourself. Sure, you can find a copy when you get to Amsterdam, but you can also download the entire thing each week in PDF form for free (look for the link that says “Download Latest Issue in the left column). This week’s version is about 7.5 megabytes so it’s not something you want to download on a dial-up connection, but it’s well worth your time if you’ve got broadband. The PDF includes all the colorful ads, photos, and even the classifieds.
If you aren’t going to be arriving in Amsterdam for another month or two the listings for this week won’t be too helpful, but this is still an excellent way to get a feel for the schedules of the clubs, the frequency of different kinds of concerts, museums, gallery exhibits, and the prices of pretty much everything.
Finding the Amsterdam Weekly in Amsterdam
This isn’t as easy as it could be. Obviously printed information in Dutch dominates, but if you know where to look you won’t have to go too far to find a free copy while in town. They have a list of many well-trafficked locations where you can find the Amsterdam Weekly on their website, but you won’t recognize most of the places unless you are a local.
Here are a few that are some of the easiest to find:
- American Book Center – This enormous English-language bookstore moved in 2006, but it didn’t move far. It’s located at Spui 12, near Kalverstraat just a block south of Dam Square.
- Waterstone’s – This smaller English-language bookstore is a block away from the ABC, at Kalverstraat and Spui.
- Himalaya Bookstore – This bilingual spiritual bookstore is in the Red Light District at Warmoesstraat 56.
And in the Leidseplein area you’ve got several convenient options:
- Paradiso Club
- De Balie bar (next to Paradiso)
- Eat at Joe’s Café at Melkweg
- Boom Chicago restaurant and theater right on the square