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Amsterdam enjoys a reputation for being a truly beautiful city. It’s a unique cultural hub with great food, interesting museums, attractions, fascinating history, wonderful locals, and possibly, above all else, a truly wild nightlife.
As charming and quaint as Amsterdam might seem during the day when the sun goes down, the city center and neighborhoods like De Wallen (the most famous Red Light District) transform into a party scene.
A great night out in Amsterdam is easy – go visit the city’s best bars and coolest coffee shops – but if you’re looking to pull out all the stops, you need to check out Amsterdam’s legendary club scene.
Europe knows something about a fun night out; fewer places do it better than Amsterdam. Whatever vibe you’re looking for, whatever music genre you’re into, it’s all right here. Look below for my favorite nightclubs in Amsterdam and see what makes them worth the hype.
Best Nightclubs in Amsterdam
Address: Overhoeksplein 3, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Starting off with one of the most well-known clubs in Amsterdam, Shelter Amsterdam (aka Club Shelter, or just Shelter) is a famous spot for nightlife in the Netherlands. Located in the basement of the A’DAM Tower, Shelter has always been able to court large crowds for wild nights out. If you’re a local into house, trance, and techno music, you likely already know of Shelter.
This large underground nightclub is one of the better-kept spots in the city, with awesome sound systems, well-stocked bars, and a locker room to stow valuables. They also have a full calendar featuring some of the hottest DJs on the continent. You’ll find all sorts in the crowd here, from youngsters to house-heads from the 90s reliving their youth.
If there are downsides, the issues surrounding the dress code are confounding. While Shelter itself says there is “no dress code” and for people to “dress in a way that matches their personality,” I’ve seen people refused entry for inappropriate or poorly kept clothing.
Another downside is that you need an entry ticket, and it helps if someone there can vouch for you on busy nights. Lastly, and most concerning, I’ve known people to be refused entry because they aren’t Dutch.
- It’s an institution
- It is one of the best underground clubs in Europe
- Awesome sound system
- Centrally located
- Locker room
- The A’DAM Tower is a great place to get warmed up before a night out
- You will need a ticket to enter
- Bouncers and staff can be a little hostile to non-Dutch patrons
- Inconsistent rules regarding dress code
See Related: Travel Tips for Amsterdam
Address: Rembrandtplein 11, 1017 CT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Escape is another of the best-known clubs in Amsterdam, having been in business for over thirty years. Escape is one of the biggest clubs in Amsterdam, with room for around 2,000 jostling souls and a massive dance floor. There’s also ample seating if you need to take a drink break.
Some things that set Escape apart from other clubs is that you can conduct your entire night out in one place. Working with Heck Amsterdam (a fancy restaurant next door), guests can enjoy a three-course meal, pre-drinks, and discounted entry into Escape with the “Dine & Dance” arrangement.
Then, there are the various accommodations for VIP treatment. Escape offers table service to their VIP areas, as well as the chance to rent out their deLux and Royal Room mini clubs for private parties.
Best of all is the sheer variety of music and events you can enjoy here. Escape regularly features famous international and popular local DJs as well as a host of other live music and dance performances, guaranteeing a euphoric night out.
Escape generally caters to a younger crowd, and despite its status as one of the city’s top clubs, entry is pretty cheap.
- Another beloved Amsterdam institution
- Long hours – Escape is open from 11 pm to the wee hours of the morning, week-long
- Great options for VIP treatment
- The Dine & Dance arrangement
- No ticket, no entrance
- ALWAYS crowded
See Related: Best Restaurants in Amsterdam
Address: Louwesweg 1, 1066 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
RADION recently showed up on my radar, and it grew on me after a couple of visits. Found in the city’s Nieuw West district, RADION sees itself as more than just a nightclub, which is fair, considering the first time I stopped there was for lunch.
They have a cool bar setup and an eclectic menu full of fantastic nibbles and munchies to sate the stomach. It was the aesthetics of RADION that called me back – it is an incredibly cool place to be, particularly the underground smoking room.
The aesthetics may have drawn me back, but the club kept me there. RADION is decently sized, with enough room to jive as the music flows over and through you. Hosting electro, new wave, minimal wave, synth, and techno DJs, the sound system at RADION is tip-top.
I have to say that the people it attracts are also a cut above. Initially intimidated by the younger, artier crowd, I was pleasantly surprised by how chill the guests were here. The staff are among the most accommodating nightclub workers I’ve ever encountered.
- Amazing food – not just for a nightclub!
- Awesome staff
- Cool, modern aesthetics
- Great sound system
- They also host art events
- It is a bit away from the city center
See Related: Best Cafés in Amsterdam
Address: Rembrandtplein 17, 1017 CT Amsterdam, Netherlands
A one-of-a-kind club, located at the heart of Amsterdam, Claire is one of my favorite clubs because it is quintessentially and quirkily Dutch in every possible way.
Stepping into this warm, colorful place feels like no other club I can imagine. Is it a Dutch living room? A 70s disco? A Tiki lounge? An Italian restaurant? A chintzy wedding venue? Yes! Claire is all of these and more.
Claire is a pretty small, intimate spot where many locals hang out, and again, it draws a pretty diverse crowd. It’s also somewhere you can grab a decent meal, comprising a restaurant and a club.
The actual club scene here is fairly low-key compared to others on this list, but you can have some great nights out while the DJs sling out retro classics as well as techno and dance music. This is arguably the best club in town if you aren’t planning a seriously big night out or are interested in a unique experience and rubbing elbows with a broad cross-section of Amsterdammers.
- Totally unique and totally Dutch
- Great food
- A decent-sized dance floor
- More of a local joint
- Low ceiling in the club
See Related: Best Brunch & Breakfast Spots in Amsterdam
Address: Overtoom 301, 1054 HW Amsterdam, Netherlands
The name sounds like something from Star Wars, but it actually comes from the club’s address – sorry, nerds. The story behind OT301 is pretty cool. It was initially an abandoned film academy that was occupied (or “squatted”) by a group of artists, with the dream of turning it into a performance space by the people, for the people.
Later becoming one of Amsterdam’s legalized squat areas before being bought outright by the club, OT301 is now a popular, fully legal venue for raves, techno DJs, hip-hop legends, and various performing artists. There’s a real grungy appeal here, and you can still feel the raving roots and underground vibe seeping through the walls of this place.
As well as being home to some banging nights out, the club is also an exhibition space and a cultural center offering events and classes on film, dance, theatre, art, vegan cuisine, trapeze & silks, as well as music.
- Probably the cheapest beers in town
- Great for raves and hip-hop music
- Tons of live music events
- It’s a genuine bonafide cultural center by day and a patron of the arts
- Fills up pretty quickly
- Less polished than many clubs on this list (although that is part of the appeal for some)
See Related: Best Irish Pubs in Amsterdam
6. Club NYX
Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 42, 1017 BM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Named after the ancient Greek goddess of Chaos, the lines are the most chaotic thing about Club NYX. But once you get in, it’s good times galore!
Every night is a glorious party that will keep you on the dance floor with various music genres, including 90s pop tunes, punk, Dutch hip-hop vibes, electronic music, and hits from HRH Lady Gaga. They also host tons of live music throughout the year spread across the club’s three floors.
I love the decor of this place. It’s an old carriage house that drips industrial accents, bare brickwork, and brightly colored splashes of street art mixed with neon lighting off the dance floors, making it an exceptionally fun place for your dancing shoes to cool off.
Like most of Western Europe, Amsterdam is a choice destination for the LGBTQ community, and Club NYX may be one of the best clubs in town to mingle with Amsterdam’s LGBTQIA+ crowd.
While not a gay club, it’s a very popular place for queer folks. Club NYX is all love, love, love, baby; anyone who wants to feel love will find it here. This crowd-pleasing and friendly club will keep you upbeat and leave you wanting to stay all night.
- Popular for techno and hip-hop night
- Decor is awesome
- Three floors
- Popular LGBTQIA+ venue and friendlier than most clubs in the city
- Joyous – I really don’t have any other word
- Long lines
- Ticketed entry
See Related: Tips to Plan an Amazing Girls’ Trip to Amsterdam
Address: Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam, Netherlands
I’ll go ahead and start by saying Canvas is not for everyone. Strictly speaking, Canvas isn’t even a nightclub.
Located on the seventh floor of VolksHOTEL in a former newspaper office, Canvas is a cool bar, restaurant, and event space. You can enjoy yoga classes and massage sessions here during the day, stop by for dinner, or party into the evening at this unique complex.
Every Friday and Saturday night, Canvas becomes a fantastic little nightclub with in-house DJs, and touring live music acts spanning various cultures and genres. Its expertly mixed drinks are also a huge draw.
While it’s not the biggest club in town (and I can’t say that the lighting was the best when I was there), it is a super rooftop venue and one place where you can enjoy your whole night in one place. So grab a drink from the cocktail bar on the terraces and enjoy the views of Amsterdam’s nightlife scene from on high.
- Eclectic music and performance venue
- GREAT cocktails
- Wonderful rooftop views of Amsterdam
- Eat, drink, sleep, repeat, all under one roof
- Pretty small venue
- The lights are a bit meh
- Only open Friday and Saturday nights
See Related: Where to Stay in Amsterdam: Best Areas & Places
Address: Vondelpark 8A, 1071 AA Amsterdam, Netherlands
As a bit of a history buff, Vondelbunker holds a special place in my heart. It was built in World War II as a bomb shelter and later reinforced as an atomic bomb shelter following the advent of nuclear weapons.
It was a safe space then, and it’s a safe space now. Located beneath an old bridge in Vondelpark, Vondelbunker is a unique squatted cultural center that frequently hosts live music events and club nights.
It’s free to enter, and the almost apocalyptic vibe is truly something else. It’s dank, dark, and grungy, with lights piercing the grimy darkness as your senses are washed with a unique feeling of abandonment and acceptance, all under one incredibly thick roof.
And this thick ol’ roof (and the walls, for that matter) make for some pretty intense reverb. Consequently, it’s pretty popular with punk and metal bands. If you’re swinging by on a night with live bands, earplugs might not be a bad idea. Watch yourself when the moshing starts – it’s not a huge event space and wall-to-wall concrete!
- Free entrance
- Hosts cultural exhibitions and events as well as club nights
- It’s a bit of local history
- Not a huge amount of space
- It can get ear-shatteringly loud
See Related: Is Amsterdam Safe?
9. AIR Amsterdam
Address: Amstelstraat 24, 1017 DA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Stepping into AIR Amsterdam (sometimes known as Club AIR) is like stepping into a nightclub from the future or some sort of disco spaceship. For me, this might be the coolest club in Amsterdam.
This multi-tiered nightclub is pretty unassuming from the outside, blending in with the architecture (save for the giant AIR sign), but once you get inside, it’s cyberpunk heaven. There’s a lot of techno, electro, and R&B played here, and you’ll find a younger crowd throwing shapes on the dancefloor.
If you are a rogue raver with nothing to hold back, this place is what you need. AIR Amsterdam has arguably the best light and sound systems in town. Its cutting-edge ultra-hip surroundings, dancehall, and futuristic vibe will have you falling in love with this awesome joint.
As well as three separate rooms, AIR has a huge LED wall, a decent-sized stage, a roomy dancefloor, and five massive bars, from which they also offer table service. On top of that, they also host a menagerie of different events throughout the year.
- Massive dance floor
- Additional rooms and five bars
- One of the best-looking nightclubs in Amsterdam
- Superb light and sound systems
- Cheap drinks
- Ticketed entry
See Related: Best Breweries in Amsterdam
10. Jimmy Woo
Address: Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18, 1017 RC Amsterdam, Netherlands
For anyone searching for a more exclusive or Asian nightclubbing experience, brace yourself for Jimmy Woo. It doesn’t get much more stylish than in this two-floor Asian-themed bar and nightclub in the heart of the Dutch capital.
It’s easy to pass Jimmy Woo and not know you’ve strolled by what might be the most luxurious club in town. But as plain as the exterior is, the inside decor is just as wild.
From the dancefloor lit with 12,000 lightbulbs to the scarlet steakhouse booths and skeletal decorations that belong in the Paris Catacombs, it’s hard to know where the lines between haute couture, good taste, and insanity begin and end. Either way, it’s a sight and a night to remember.
Styled as more of a members club, Jimmy Woo is a little more pricey to enter than most. But you are getting a fair amount of bang for that buck because they lean into the VIP experience. No joke, there’s a good chance you’ll bump into some of the Netherlands’ biggest names in the VIP areas.
- Amazing dancefloor
- Unique decor
- A true VIP experience and a luxurious nightclub
- Strict dress code
- Pricey ticketed entry
See Related: Things Amsterdam is Famous For
11. De School
Address: Doctor Jan van Breemenstraat 3, 1056 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you’re reading this article, there’s a damned good chance you know about this final entry. De School was once a massive club in Amsterdam, earning the same mythical status as Berghain in Berlin in a few short years.
Housed in a former school complex (from where it got its name), De School was one of the best clubs in Amsterdam. The old gym hall could accommodate around 700 clubbers writhing to the rhythms of techno and house music all night long.
In 2020, it was announced that De School would close due to financial struggles, and it was replaced by a performing arts, events, and exhibition space as well as a small eatery, Cafe DS.
A giant on the European club scene was felled – the star that burns the brightest burns half as long…until August 2022, when it was announced that De School would re-open a month later temporarily for a run of 16 months until the end of its lease in 2024.
So stop by if you can because De School may not be around forever. But who knows what the future will bring?
- Cool interior decor showing the building’s history
- Hosts some of the hottest techno acts in Europe
- It may not be around forever
- Door staff are reportedly less than accommodating
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- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.