Massive electronic music festival at the beginning of July each year which transforms Amsterdam into a hub of dancing and revelry! 50 Euros for a ticket is a steal, with loads of concerts and experimental films, electronic music videos and art installation all available over five days.
This year’s highlights were Justice and Erol Alkan. Awesome performances!
Around the city
In summer the temperatures in Amsterdam, like in any city, can get quite unbearable. Hire a bike and head for the green Bijlmermeer in the south-east of the city, only half an hour from the centre.
On summer weekends there is the Kwakoe Afro-Caribbean festival, which makes Notting Hill look like a family picnic. Football, food and kaseko and no multicultural pretensions.
When you get really hot and even the ginger beer doesn't work, take a dive in the sparkling clear waters of the Gaasperplas.
metro 53 or 54: station Bijlmer/Arena or Gaasperplas
If dreadlocks, piercing and tribal tattoos are your style, there’s Soundgarden. It boasts a surprisingly civilized terrace overlooking the daily ebb and flow of boats and barges, but the inside is almost painstakingly run-down and graffitied, with a buckled pool table and a dartboard pocked with scars. Not as intimidating as it sounds, but hardly appropriate for the blue-rinse brigade. Grungy DJs and live music three times a week.
Marnixstraat 164-166, out west near Rozentheater
+31 (0)20 620 28 53
Go to a concert at the historic Concertgebouw concert hall. British musicians and orchestras regularly play at this amazing venue, named literally “concert building”, widely acknowledged to have one of the finest acoustics in the world – the main hall’s 2.2 second reverberation time makes it ideal for romantic era music like Mahler. It’s a feast for the eyes too. The balcony ledges display names of great composers: Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Mozart and dozens more make this a real “hall of fame”. Info and tickets easily accessible in English at www.concertgebouw.nl
1071 LN Amsterdam
OK, this is my secret tip. Only for food and jazz lovers. Forget touristic places like Kantjil and the Tiger. This place is the real deal.
Very, very good Indonesian food.
The owner is an eccentric and the jazz is cool. It's super-small: there's only like five tables. But only for you I recommend it. Don't tell anyone else, otherwise I can't get in any more, because it's too full, you know? Just between you and me.
In the Utrechtsestraat. Tram 4 right through it, or tram 7 or 10 till Frederiksplein. Or metro till Waterlooplein and then walk some seven minutes.
Fan of Gregorian chants ? Each Sunday from September to June there are Gregorian Vespers sung by the monks at St Nicholas Church, just 100 yards from Grand Central Station.
The service starts at 5pm, is open to all and free to attend. Having filled the soul, an easy two-minute stroll will take you to the Bird cafe on Zeedijk 77. Why is this tiny Thai snack bar always frantically busy ? Sit down and try the food. Then you'll understand.
This is the best live music venue in Amsterdam. It used to be a church so the sound is always great. A good place to see new bands just after they've toured the UK.
1017 SG Amsterdam
020 - 626 45 21
A great gig venue. It's small and intimate with people just dancing round, smiling and having fun. There's lots of atmosphere. I saw Femi Kuti there last November. It was an amazing show, with fantastic supporting act, the friendliest staff ever and such a wide mix of ages for a concert. A great gig in a great venue.
De Negen Straatjes (the nine streets) are obviously great for trendy shopping, but these two shops really made my lunchtimes.
For the best (and slowest) sandwiches go to the little deli on Reestraat. The menu's massive. And for a masterclass in sandwich making and almost offensive amounts of filling, try the Espagnol.
Then wander two streets down to the yellow CD shop on Runstraat. An extensive range in every genre, anally cared for: reviews are cut out and stuck on most releases. A great place to find new music. And you rent them all. Amazing.
Sandwiches: Hartenkaas, Reestraat 19;
CDs: De Koperen Hoorn, Runstraat 21
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