Going to see a live concert at home can often involve lots of driving and parking and other headaches, but due to its compact layout seeing a concert in Amsterdam is nearly hassle free. This is a large and important city on any European touring itinerary so every major act will come through Amsterdam, and they’ll usually be playing at a venue near your hotel, or at least one that’s easy to reach from your hotel.
For smaller and local acts there are various clubs all over town. You can check out the entertainment calendar at UnderwaterAmsterdam (click on What’s On) for the time you’ll be here. Of course, the hottest acts do tend to sell out early, but you can order tickets online for just about anything these days. Do a search for that venue and ticket information in English should be easy to find.
Famous clubs near Leidseplein
There are two excellent and famous clubs that have live music nearly every night. Both are just off Leidseplein, in opposite directions, and easy to find:
Melkweg – The Melkweg (which means milky way in Dutch) club is a former dairy/warehouse that now is a large entertainment complex. There are several different rooms going all the time, each with something unique. Live music usually starts early in the evening in the largest auditorium, yielding to DJs for a separate admission around 11 p.m.
>>more information on the Melkweg
Paradiso – Less quirky than the Melkweg, but otherwise similar. The main ballroom has great sound and has hosted hundreds of famous bands over the years. DJs also take over later in the evening and the party continues until the wee hours.
>>more information on the Paradiso Amsterdam
Where to see the biggest acts
For acts that draw more than a couple thousand fans you’ll need to go a bit further out, but these two places are also easy to get to. The subways in Amsterdam aren’t terribly useful for most visitors, however they can be very convenient for getting to these places, which are right next to each other 10 short subway stops from Centraal Station and 8 stops from the Waterlooplein subway station:
Heineken Music Hall – Holds around 5,000 people so it houses some of the biggest acts of the day. The facility is modern and the acoustics are said to be among the finest in Europe.
Amsterdam ArenA – This is where the Ajax Football Club and the Netherlands national football team play their home games. It’s new and modern, and seating up to 50,000 people, this is the venue only the biggest acts in the world dare to play.
Speaking of football, you might also keep your eye on the schedule to see if one of these teams is playing at the ArenA while you’ll be in town. Some of the most important games do sell out well in advance, but tickets can often be purchased from scalpers outside the venue, and tickets for lesser games will remain available at the box office on the day.