So much to see and do in Amsterdam. But where should you really be? Where is it cool, where is it fun? Check our fortnightly column “Folia has FOMO,” with cultural tips from the editors. As a kick-off, here are 10 places you should definitely visit this academic year.
“From indoor raves to intimate community gatherings in the courtyard.” Club Lofi is everything you would expect from a new underground club on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Raw, unpolished, and a bit intense. Because of its location in an old GVB bus garage in the Westelijk Havengebied, they are allowed to play the music louder than many other downtown venues. And you notice it: The music pounds in your chest and the notes thunder in your ears. At the bar, you can get free earplugs: not a superfluous luxury. Do you like to party? Then Lofi is the place to be.
Fabrique des Lumières
The newest pearl among (private) museums in Amsterdam. Following the French example (Paris, Atelier des lumières; Les Baux-de-Provence, Carrières de Lumières), the digital-immersive museum Fabrique des Lumières opened last year in Westerpark. Using projections on life-size columns, the museum displays well-known works of art in ever-changing exhibitions in the most unconventional and sensational ways from the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to the impressive group portraits of the celebrated photographer Jimmy Nelson. It’s like being mentally and physically absorbed in their composition. Ideally suited to Gen-Z, but earlier generations can also feast their eyes here.
You just have to know where to find this one. Hidden under a car park and behind a bus and petrol station is the Surinamese café Waterkant. Once you have found the entrance on Marnixstraat, it is a lovely place to hang out by the water of the Singelgracht. When the sun goes down, you can dance into the wee hours to African and Surinamese music, “mixed with R&B and Hip-Hop.” The Waterkant café is known for its multicultural menu and inclusive atmosphere. Above all, enjoy a tropical drink or snack. But also try the super nachos. Not expensive for the amount you get, and you definitely won’t go hungry!
Van Stapele Koekmakerij
Do you love cookies? Then this is the place to go. If you don’t like cookies, then this is definitely the place to go. You won’t be the only one: The queue often starts across the street. But - please, for once! - don’t be discouraged by that. The dark chocolate cookie with white chocolate filling is well worth the wait. By the way, it is the only pastry you can get here. No dried-out or infantile-embellished pastries. Just one cookie, fresh and warm from the oven, that melts on your tongue. Quality over quantity. Need I say more?
Iconic, imposing and impressive. The A’dam Tower on the River IJ has become a symbol of the city in recent years. But the building offers more than meets the eye. Much more, in fact. Party in The Loft with views over the Amsterdam skyline, experience the underground party scene in Club Shelter, play VR games in the Game Park, take a ride on Europe’s tallest swing, or dine in a revolving restaurant. It’s all possible, under (or on) the roof of the hundred-meter-high tower in Noord!
This is Amsterdam’s urban beach on the River IJ in Noord. With your feet in the sand, you can enjoy seasonal and (as much as possible) local food at Pllek. Around 75 per cent of the menu is vegetarian. But “life consists of more than food,” according to Pllek. That is why the beach is sometimes transformed into an open-air cinema, sometimes into a makeshift dance floor. A pole-dancing competition? Yoga classes? Art exhibitions? A breathing workshop? At Pllek, you’ll find it all. Nothing is too crazy.
For the best cocktails in Amsterdam, go to Bar Do on Vijzelgracht. Right in the city center, here you will find the best versions of the - especially among students - popular Pornstar and Espresso Martini. My tip: Try the Amaretto Sour or Cloverclub and, above all, have a Dutch meatball, a “bitterball,” with it. You can get these at the adjacent pastry shop, Patisserie Holtkamp, a household name among Amsterdammers. In terms of ambiance, too, Bar Do is the place to be. It is a cool place with a student-like atmosphere. The ideal base for a night out in the heart of the city.
“The city’s cultural haven.” This is not an exaggeration. Thuishaven’s festival site in the Western Docklands is a household name among students and one of the few places where parties are organized all year round. From hard techno and dancehall parties to pop and hip-hop. Everything goes. And don’t be alarmed if you see huge, luminous jellyfish floating across the dance floor or people with painted faces parading past you on stilts. Visual performances are a large and important part of the experience at Thuishaven. Above all, be surprised.
What book or subject just won’t let you go? Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer’s recently published historical novel Alkibiades? Or maybe the new How do I survive... ? by author Francine Oomen? Whatever your preference, at SPUI25 you can enjoy a string of interesting lectures, book reviews, and discussion evenings every month for free (!). A nice change for the literary and socially engaged UvA student, who sometimes wants to learn and discuss something other than the material in their textbooks.
In an old NDSM shipyard, at the former port of Amsterdam North, lies this hidden gem among museums in Amsterdam. From the moment you step into the 8,000-plus square foot warehouse, you find yourself in a psychedelic daydream: Wherever you look, you see brightly colored graffiti and street art. It is the perfect place to find inspiration or delve into some relatively new art movements, with Banksy and Keith Haring as their most famous representatives. The collection is constantly changing, so there is still plenty to discover throughout the year.