Amsterdam’s nightlife is world famous. The nightlife in Amsterdam has a long and rich history. Being one of the birthplaces of many electronic music styles, nightlife cultures, and world famous DJs, Amsterdam has fairly earned his reputation as one of the best nightlife spots in the world. Amsterdam has always been an open-minded and liberal city and this is something which reflects on Amsterdam’s nightlife as well. In Amsterdam, you can be who you are, or want to be, especially at night.
Amsterdam’s nightlife has so much to offer that there is something to find for anyone. Whether you are a tourist, student, clubber, smoker (you know what we mean, this is Amsterdam), hip-hop kid, electronic music lover, or more the concert type of person: you will love Amsterdam.
Amsterdam nightlife areas
There are a couple of main areas where most of Amsterdam’s nightlife is concentrated. The three most famous areas will be The Red Light District, Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt square), and Leidseplein (Leidse square). Two other fun Amsterdam nightlife areas to explore are ‘De Pijp’ (the Pipe) and ‘De Jordaan’ (Jordaan district).
- Amsterdam Nightlife: The red Light District: Amsterdam’s Red Light District is probably one of the most famous nightlife areas in the world. Locals call the Red Light District ‘de Wallen’ or ‘de rosse buurt’. The Red Light District belongs to the oldest part of the city and therefore has a lot of history. If you would like to know more about the rich history of the red light district it is probably better to check Wikipedia, because here we are only going to inform you about the Red Light District nightlife! The Red Light District nightlife is something else. The Red Light District is like a different city within the city of Amsterdam. It is so unique that you can honestly say that it cannot be found anywhere else in the world. When you visit Amsterdam and want to know what Amsterdam nightlife is all about, then it is unforgivable if you do not visit the Red Light District.
The Red Light District is a mix of hotels, bars, coffee shops, clubs, terraces, narrow streets, canals, and of course prostitutes. Actually, the term nightlife is not really suitable for the Red Light District since there is not really a difference between day and night. This part of Amsterdam is busy and vibrant almost twenty-four seven. A good way to see and learn more about the Red Light District is to go on a Red Light District Walking Tour. A tour like this will give you better insights into the rich history of this unique part of Amsterdam. Another great way to discover the Red Light District is by going on a Pub Crawl! This way you will see the Red Light District, enjoy drinks, meet new people and experience Amsterdam nightlife at its finest.
In the Red Light District, prostitution is all around you. If you want to know more about this subject we strongly recommend you to visit Red Light Secrets. This is a museum about prostitution in Amsterdam, which gives you a unique peek inside this mostly hidden world. Here you can even experience how it feels to sit behind a window. This really is as real as it can be. Another typical Red Light District nightlife thing to is to visit an erotic show. The best place to do this is at Casa Rosso. Casa Rosso presents a varied programme with outstanding non-stop erotic live shows. Whether you like bananas or not, the Banana Show is a world famous erotic show and an absolute Amsterdam nightlife must do.
- Amsterdam Nightlife: Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square): being one of the major squares in Amsterdam, the Rembrandtplein is the premier Amsterdam nightlife spot. The nightlife on the Rembrandtplein is that good that it attracts both tourists and locals. On the square, and in the streets around it, you can find bars, clubs, coffee shops, and restaurants. Of course, the square itself is called after the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt. But other than its name, and the statues you can find on the square representing Rembrandt's famous painting The Night Watch, this place has nothing to do with Rembrandt or his art. Unless Rembrandt really liked to party!
In this Amsterdam nightlife area, you can also find one of Amsterdam’s most famous bars: The Amsterdam Icebar Xtracold. Being literally one of the coolest bars around, the Amsterdam Ice Bar is another must do during your Amsterdam stay. Inside the Amsterdam Icebar Xtracold, you will find two bars. In the lounge, you can sit down, relax and drink your free welcome cocktail or large Heineken while enjoying some good music. At the back of the lounge, you will find the entrance to the second bar, the Ice bar. Here you will be given a thermal coat and gloves to keep you warm at -10 degrees Celsius! Inside you will be amazed by a staggering 60 tons of natural ice, sculpted into the form of a real bar. The furniture, the walls, the art – everything is made of ice! They will serve your drinks in a glass… made of ice, of course! Are you hot enough for this cold experience?
On the Rembrandt Square, there are many clubs. In this article, we give you more info about clubbing in Amsterdam (link) and here you can find the top clubs in Amsterdam (link). Some famous clubs and bars on Rembrandt Square are; Escape, Club Smokey, Cooldown Café, Club Rain, Cocos, Air, Amsterdam Icebar Xtracold, Bubbels, De Kroon, Club Abe, Club Home, Café Nasty.
- Amsterdam Nightlife: Leidseplein (Leidse Square): Leidseplein is like Rembrandtplein a top Amsterdam nightlife spot. Both nightlife spots are only a 10-minute walk located from each other. Leidseplein also offers a wide range of clubs, coffee shops, restaurants and bars. What sets the Leidseplein apart from the Rembrandtplein is the audience. The nightlife audience on the Leidseplein is more mixed than the audience on the Rembrandtplein. On the Leidseplein, you can find fewer tourists than on the Rembrandtplein. There are more students and also a bit more people in their 30’s and 40’s. However, after midnight you will see the nightlife audience change to clubbers only. Some famous Amsterdam nightlife spots on the Leidseplein are; Paradiso, Melkweg, Jimmy Woo, the Bulldog, Chicago Social Club, Suzy Wong, Heineken Hoek, Palladium, Cool down café, Bubbels. Here you can find more information about the top clubs in Amsterdam(linken).
- Amsterdam Nightlife: De Pijp (The Pipe): De Pijp is an absolute Amsterdam nightlife locals favorite. No coffee shops and clubs here, just bars, terraces, cocktail bars and nice places to grab a bite. De Pijp is located south of the Amsterdam city center. As a tourist, you can feel a bit lost here between all the Dutchies. However De Pijp, or The Pipe, is fun for all; locals, students, expats, and tourists.
In this area, the world famous Heineken Brewery is located. Everybody who knows Amsterdam., knows Heineken. You can visit the Heineken Brewery and get to know more about Heineken’s rich history. Since this is a true experience, Heineken calls a visit to its brewery the ‘Heineken Experience’. We would definitely recommend visiting the Heineken Experience during your stay in Amsterdam. Here you can find more information about the Heineken Experience and buy tickets for the cheapest rates around.
- Amsterdam Nightlife: De Jordaan (Jordaan district): want to feel like a true Amsterdam Nightlife local? Go to the Jordaan district! The Jordaan district is located west of the Amsterdam city center and world famous canal district. The Jordaan is one of the most beautiful and oldest parts of the city. Here you can find great restaurants, cozy bars and nice terraces. So when the sun is out, go to the Jordaan and enjoy a drink outside. When the sun goes down after a long Amsterdam summer evening, you can go inside one of the many bars. Some of them are typical Amsterdam bars where you can drink a ‘kopstootje’ (beer + jenever) and listen to typical Amsterdam music.
Discover Amsterdam nightlife by foot or bike
What makes Amsterdam’s nightlife so great is the fact that the city of Amsterdam is pretty small compared to other major nightlife cities. This means all venues, bars, clubs and nightlife areas are located close to each other. In fact, so close you can go from one place to the next by foot or bike. This is also how you can easily recognize the locals, they will be on their bike! As a tourist, you can rent a bike at one of the many bike rentals in the city so you can blend in with the Amsterdam Nightlife locals! Be safe.