Culture and transgression

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Holland, Netherlands
North Holland
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As you will discover once you arrive in Amsterdam, the city never stops and offers many opportunities at all hours of the day and night. Famous for the art and nightlife, it will surprise you also for the architecture, the city views, the cuisine, although often not typically Dutch, and the eccentricity. Because Amsterdam is also the city of museums with particular themes, extravagant bars, studios and incredibly creative workshops. You just have to get there and choose, alas, because the full experience would require much more than a holiday!


Not wrongly, Amsterdam is considered one of the European capitals of entertainment and culture: you can attend hundreds of performances and events in many locations in the city, or simply stumble upon a show of street performers who entertain passersbys at all hours of the day. But Amsterdam is especially famous for night entertainment, lively, free, transgressive, cool. So get ready for theaters, cafes, clubs with live music, restaurants, cultural centres such as De Balie, cinemas, casinos, and especially for the exclusive clubs and nightclubs.

If you want to see live music performances of all kinds, you will be spoilt for choice. The city halls offer all kinds of classical music concerts with internationally acclaimed artists, such as the spectacular Concertgebouw (in the Concertgebouw 2-6, near the museum district). The Oudekerk (in Ouderkerksplein 23) presents pipe organ concerts. Another feature are the ‘ Free concerts of noon ‘, often at the Concertgebouw or at the Boekman theatre (near Waterlooplein, where you can visit the modern Muziektheater, home of the Opera in the city). For lovers of modern music, pop, rock, alternative, jazz etc. Amsterdam offers countless live clubs, cafes or parks, the latter during the summer, where you can attend concerts by more or less famous and emerging artists. The most active and popular modern music centers are definitely Melkweg and Paradiso, both in the Leidseplein area with a program that varies from rock to pop, from dance to rap and world music. The Melkweg also has a movie theatre, a café from which you can access a room for free temporary exhibitions, and a theatre.

The Amsterdam offer does not end here: there are two internationally renowned dance companies in the city, such as the Dutch National Ballet, which performs at Muziektheater, and the Netherlands Dans Theater, which stages its performances in different theatres or locations depending on the occasion. But not only dance in the theatres of Amsterdam, since you can see all kinds of theatre representations both classical and experimental, often also in English. At Leidseplein we find the most important theatre, the Stadsschouwburg, De Balie (gathering of artists and venue also of cultural events and political debates), and the Café Boom Chicago, for comedy. But above all we point out Nes Road, a proper street of theatres, one after the other. In the summer, in addition to the canonical venues, the theatrical offer is enriched by free theatrical outdoor performances in the VondelPark and by the programming, in June, scheduled during The Holland Festival.

For those who do not want to give up the big screen, Amsterdam offers more than 45 cinemas from modern multiplexes to refined d’essai cinemas. Films are usually screened in original language with Dutch subtitles. In the programming of the Film Museum VondelPark you may stumble upon the projection of rare silent films, often accompanied by a pianist. We also recommend, even just for a look inside, to visit the spectacular Tuschinski Cinema, in Regulierbreestraat 26-28, built in 1921 in exotic Art Deco style and The Movies (in Harlemmerdijk 161), open in 1912, is the oldest cinema of Amsterdam and has Art Deco interiors and a truly retro-flavoured setting.

In the evening, in addition to the pubs, the red-light clubs, the bars, we recommend the Bruine Café, literally the “brown cafes”, cozy places where there is a good part of the sparkling nightlife of the city. Located anywhere in the old town and along the canals, they are the best places to meet the residents of Amsterdam and try Dutch beer. If you love trendy clubs, with DJs and open late, try some lounge bars around Nieuwezujds Voorburgwal, or the more traditional places near Rembrandtplein and Leisplein. The overview of clubs and nightclubs in Amsterdam is interesting, especially downtown around the areas of Dam Square, De Pijp and Leidseplein. Many of the Gay & Lesbian bars and clubs are located along Reguliersdwarsstraat. Because the discos and nightclubs are many, but concentrated in a limited area, it is customary to move from one to another to find out which is the best to spend the night: we suggest doing the same to spend a very special night.


National Opera & Ballet


The first thing when visiting Amsterdam with your children is to explore the city on a boat, for a tour of the canals. In summer, you can even rent small motorboats, without spending a large amount, or pedal boats that can be rented in four places: Westerkerk, Leidseplein, the Rijksmuseum and near Leidsestraat bridge and are equipped with protections that can be used in case of rain.

Another attraction for the little ones is the Maritime Museum of Amsterdam, located near the central station, in the old arsenal of the Dutch navy and where the replica of the Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam ship is anchored, with actor-sailors who simulate the life on board at the time. (Kattenburgerplein 1.1018 KK free admission for children up to 4 years old, €7.50 up to 17 years old, over €15). The Nemo Museum will also entertain children and parents. It is a ship-shaped museum that emphasizes the profile of the city. Designed and built just for children, it stimulates them to explore the extraordinary world of science and technology through fun activities and games. (Oosterdok 2,, admission €13.50).

Not to be missed, the Amsterdam Zoo is a great place to spend a few hours relaxing and entertain your children. Opened in 1838 it houses more than 700 species of animals, many of them exotic. In the same complex the planetarium and the aquarium offer the opportunity to admire the underwater life of Amsterdam’s canals. (Natura Artis magistrate, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40,, admission children from 3 to 9 years €15.50, adults €18.95).

And between visits you can spend a few moments of relax in one of the city’s parks, among which the most important is definitely the Vondelpark, the ultimate public park of Holland, the most extensive in Amsterdam, within walking distance of Leidseplein. This beautiful park extends for 45 hectares, with trees and lawns, scattered with small lakes, islets and secret nooks, southwest of the city, on the route of the great museums.

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