There are quite a few world-class clubs in Amsterdam, even though this isn’t really considered one of the better late night capitals of Europe. Most of the city actually closes down rather early, but if you know where to look there will be something going on until dawn or later, at least on weekends.
Types of music you’ll hear
Amsterdam is the world home of trance music and it never seems to go out of style. DJs like Tiesto and Armin Van Buurin — who are usually in the top 5 DJs in the world list — are from the Netherlands and they spin in Amsterdam regularly. Trance is big, but it’s not the only game in town. There are plenty of clubs that play house, drum & bass, hip-hop, reggae, and whatever else happens to be the flavor of the day.
Where the clubs are
There are a few clubs littered around the Red Light District, although this area is rather weak in this regard. The two main districts to find nightclubs are Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. The former is home to most of the glamorous and trendy clubs, as well as a section that is home to Amsterdam’s thriving gay club scene. And the latter is where you’ll find some of the long-established venues that host live music in the early evenings before turning into full-blown dance clubs after 11 p.m.
Rembrandtplein – A huge club called Escape is one of the anchors of this area and has been in business for over 20 years. In the here today gone tomorrow world of nightspots, that’s an eternity. The interior is high tech and posh enough to impress even the most hardcore Ibiza freaks. Sinners In Heaven has also been going for a long time. This is much smaller than Escape, but even more glamorous. This is where you’ll see the rich and famous if they happen to be in town.
The club scene tends to change almost weekly, just as it does in nearly every other big city. It’s hard to give recommendations more than a week or two in advance. Another thing that complicates issues here is most of the better clubs are just rented out to promoters on a nightly basis, so a great Friday night event might run for a few months and then another promoter takes over and everything changes. Particularly around Rembrandtplein, many of the clubs have strict door policies. They’ll be “members only” when a group of men walk up, but suddenly very welcoming when a group of young girls arrive. Dress to impress around here and if you are bloke-heavy, try to balance your group in order to better your chances of making it in.
Leidseplein – This is home to far fewer clubs, but two important ones lurk just down two opposing side streets. The Melkweg and Paradiso are better known for live music, however most weekends and some weekdays they both turn into massive dance clubs after 11 p.m. There are a few smaller places mixed in among the hundred or so restaurants on the main streets as well. These places tend to be filled with tourists only — unlike the Rembrandtplein clubs — but if you want to hear some thumping music while you drink these places can be fun all the same. Just walk around the area and you’ll find which ones are happening and which are dead.
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