Home » Amsterdam underground clubs – From techno to hip hop and everything in between

Amsterdam underground clubs – From techno to hip hop and everything in between

by Victor Eekhof
Amsterdam underground clubs

And now for something completely different; who likes to party? I’m a hipster from Amsterdam with almost 10 years of experience in organizing club nights and being a DJ. Although I’m not that super active these days, I still have a lot of friends who are, which keeps me in the loop of what’s going on. Club nights become a hype fast but die out even faster, so it’s good to know where to go when you want to visit Amsterdam underground clubs for a weekend.

The Amsterdam underground clubs can be split into inclusive and less-inclusive. Generally, it has an open-minded character, where it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you fancy, as long as you aren’t being an idiot or asshole, out to ruin other people’s nights.

Amsterdam nightlife

Me behind the decks in the Amsterdam nightlife.
Original photo: Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

How Amsterdam underground clubs work

Musical styles vary from Hip Hop, Funk/Soul, Beats/Bass, (progressive and classic) House to Dubstep, Trap, Techno, and everything in between. Unlike in many other countries, most (underground) clubs in Amsterdam nightlife don’t stick to one musical genre. The music you will hear can vary greatly depending on which day of the week you visit a club. There are many (young) hipster party organizers, promoters and DJ’s in Amsterdam and they travel from club to club like nomads. The partygoers aren’t very loyal either; a party can be a success for a month and then completely fail the next.

Nightlife in Amsterdam

A nicely packed club. © Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

In this “Amsterdam underground clubs guide” I will share with you my favourite parties and clubs at the moment. Whenever something changes (a club closes/opens or a party ceases to exist or gets launched) I will try to update it. Don’t expect a perfectly accurate list though, as things change fast.

The best time to visit Amsterdam is during their ever-growing electronic music festival called Amsterdam Dance Event. This event, hosted in late October each year, showcases a very, very large scale of national and international talents and legends. It’s during this festival that you can notice just how many people organize parties in Amsterdam. Since it’s fairly easy to join in on the festival as a promoter you shouldn’t be surprised if you would get to choose from 40 parties on their prime days. Here are my favorite clubs in underground Amsterdam:

Amsterdam underground clubs

  1. Club up
  2. Bitterzoet
  3. Chicago Social Club
  4. Sugar Factory
  5. Club NYX
  6. OT301
  7. Melkweg
  8. Paradiso
  9. Disco Dolly
  10. De School
  11. Radion
  12. Claire
  13. Canvas
  14. Oosterbar
  15. Tolhuistuin / Paradiso Noord
  16. Warehouse Elementenstraat
  17. Ruigoord
  18. De Marktkantine
  19. Shelter
  20. Skatecafe
  21. Garage Noord
  22. Occii

1. Club Up / De Kring

A smallish underground-style club, which is conveniently located on the Leidseplein. The few people that fit in (around 250 in the Club Up and 400 in De Kring, the clubs are connected but some parties are only held in one of the two) and the rough, unpolished interior creates a loose and cosy atmosphere. There’s no way you won’t dance till you sweat here. Drinks are OK priced. The club boasts a great Funktion 1 sound system.

Club Up / De Kring
Tickets: mostly around €5 – €10
Agenda – Facebook page
(Club Up) Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 26-1
1017 RC Amsterdam
(De Kring) Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 7
1017 RP Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/UzdD6tPKwYy
Club Up Amsterdam crowd

A line in front of Club Up © Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

Wavefiles Club Up Amsterdam

Club Up Amsterdam © Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

2. Bitterzoet

An all-around fun night out, mostly Hip-Hop orientated. Always open to new party concepts creating an eclectic sound, which varies from hip-hop themed nights to rock-electro crossovers. There is a reasonably low cover fee. Fun parties to check out are “Rock the Boat” and “Jiggy“. They also host concerts here in cooperation with Paradiso. The stained glass “windows” create a church-like feel. Tired of dancing or just want to hawk-eye your friends? There’s a raised section and balcony with a good view of the dance floor. The DJ booth is on a higher platform than the dance floor; expect it to be full of over-enthusiastic friends of the DJs and crew. All in good taste though, which makes this low-key place my favourite club in town. Average to good sound system.

Bitterzoet
Tickets: mostly around €10
Agenda – Facebook page
Spuistraat 2 HS
1012 TS Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/qtazaZYBr472

Bitterzoet Amsterdam Interior

Bitterzoet Amsterdam club crowd

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

3. Chicago Social Club

This former comedy club has been transformed into a nightclub. Since the main party area is where the theatre stage and balcony used to be, the venue feels big. Next-door is the cafe area of the club used as a smoking lounge, which you can access from inside the club. This area usually has it’s own party concept with DJs and sound, usually creating a nice variation from the main party.

Check out “Super Social” and “Pony“. What music is played largely depends on the night: at Super Social, you would hear many 90’s and 00’s hits and some house, while Pony is more Hip-Hop, R&B and Future-sound based. Do check out the other area from time to time where the sound always has a great contrast with the main area; chances are that you will appreciate the change in music style. This club also boasts a Funktion 1 sound system.

Chicago Social Club
Tickets: mostly around €10 – €15
Agenda – Facebook page
Leidseplein 12
1017 PT Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/ygiGvEj2f5s
Chicago Social Club Amsterdam Bar Area

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

Chicago Social Club Amsterdam Mafin Area

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

4. Sugar factory

This club is quite popular with tourists. However, due to their open nature to new party concepts, there is a lot of variation night by night. The club itself has recently been split into two areas; one area for smaller parties on for example a Monday, and one main bigger area. Check out “Wicked Jazz Sounds“, “Backstage” and “Ongpst maarwel lkkr” (that last one has a very young crowd and is focused on “dirty” dancing). Great sound system.

Sugar Factory
Tickets: mostly around €5 – €10
Agenda – Facebook page
Lijnbaansgracht 238
1017 PH Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/EM2e9j8XA3o
Sugarfactory Amsterdam front

Sugarfactory Amsterdam crowd

© Anne Lakeman

5. Club NYX

Whether you’re straight, gay or bi-sexual, black, white or green, you’re welcome at this club. To me, it’s a prime example of the melting pot that we call Amsterdam. The interior of this club has an “underground Berlin” feel, with a rough and unpolished design and three floors. There is even a Dj booth in the toilet room placed on a giant penis! Pretty good sound, definitely one of the best newcomers in Amsterdam in recent years.

Club NYX
Tickets: mostly around €5 – €10
Agenda – Facebook page
Reguliersdwarsstraat 42
1017 BM Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/stXVfSbjbc92
Club NYX Amsterdam interior

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

Club NYX Amsterdam Toilet DJ

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

6. OT301

You’ll feel like a naughty little kid before entering this venue. Why? Because you’ll have to pass an open space surrounded by a dense ring of residences, and everybody will tell you to shhhhhhh. In the past, the club had to close for a little while due to complaining neighbours. Nonetheless, it adds to the experience. The club isn’t very big and boasts a nice and underground feel. A small drawback is the fact that all their parties (have to) end at 3 am, due to regulations. Reasonable sound system. Check out the excellent parties organized there by Andtextures.

OT301
Tickets: free or low fee (part of their policy)
Agenda – Facebook page
Overtoom 301
1054 HW Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/rtash1oYkUz

OT301 Amsterdam Front

OT301 Amsterdam crowd

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

7. Melkweg

Hosts mostly live concerts, but has a few good party concepts on its own, especially in the Dubstep, Trap and Electro house scene. In the high times of Electro, I visited this venue more often since all the worthwhile concerts were pretty much all here (I recall an epic “sit-down” during a concert of Boys Noize). Do check out the party called Fiesta Macumba. Powerful sound system.

Melkweg
Tickets: varies
Agenda – Facebook page
Lijnbaansgracht 234A
1017 PH Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/PZc9fZWsnE52

Melkweg Amsterdam Entrance

Melkweg Amsterdam Crowd

© Tomer Foltyn & Adi Adinayev

8. Paradiso

Like Melkweg, known for concerts and popular with tourists but hosts a selection of long-running parties like “Bassline” and “Noodlanding“. The venue is huge, with space for over a 1500 people. Like in the Melkweg, I’ve been to some epic concerts here (e.g. The Bloody Beetroots live), but wouldn’t really go here randomly for a night out. Like the Melkweg, this is one of the venues that host 5 Days Off.

Paradiso
Tickets: varies strongly
View reviews on Tripadvisor
Agenda – Facebook page
Weteringschans 6-8
1017 SG Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/Wu7EcxuKSoT2

Paradiso Amsterdam Entrance

Paradiso Amsterdam DJ lights

© Laura Klein Nijenhuis Photography

9. Disco Dolly

Everything goes in this club. Formerly a student targeted club called “Dansen bij Jansen” which has been open for 36 years, Disco Dolly has kept the accessible vibe but made things look a little bit more ‘hip’. Still, their slogan ‘doe maar lekker’ loosely translated to ‘(just) do it nicely’, fits well with their vision. They are open 7 days a week and keep the entrance fee as low as possible, or even free. Still, they managed to host some great (underground-ish) parties here with artists like Nightmares on Wax, Homework, Soul Clap, Melé, to name a few. Doors open at 23:00 and close at 04:00 or 05:00, so it’s a great location to drop in after a home party. The sounds system has been upgraded when they opened shop in 2014.

Disco Dolly
Tickets: usually free before midnight, after midnight €6 or €7
Agenda – Facebook page
Handboogstraat 11
1012 XM Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/xVPSCbBFdkR2
Disco Dolly

Thomas behind the decks at Disco Dolly. Original photo: Bete photography

Disco Dolly bar

The friendly bar staff at Disco Dolly. Original photo: Joshua Kawei

Disco Dolly Amsterdam inside

The inside of Amsterdam’s Disco Dolly. Original photo: Ilyas Gün

10. De School

Every major city has its own “legendary” club that everybody is talking about and that always has queues and/or a strict door policy. In Amsterdam, “Trouw” has been that club for 5 years. Set in an old newspaper factory (“Trouw” is the name of a Dutch newspaper) the club perfectly balanced an industrial vibe, a top-of-the-game sound system, and even better acoustics. This space felt big without being a commercial arena. The ‘hottest’ parties in terms of progressive music were hosted here, predominantly based around electronic music such as techno, garage, and house. All that ended in 2014 when the club closed, the owners stating that “it has always been a temporary project”. The hype reached new heights and many were speculating: what would become the new Trouw?

In January of 2016, the word was out: a new club called “De School” (the school) opened its doors. Based in, well, an old-school, this club has chosen a location which isn’t in the midst of the nightlife-filled squares in the centre. No club hopping or pub crawling here. Rumours started spreading: did you really get refused entry if you didn’t know who was on the lineup? The music is strictly techno and the club’s house-rules suggest that they “expect their visitors to be open towards others, regardless of their origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and age.”

I haven’t visited this club myself yet but I’ll write a review when I do. In the meanwhile go and experience it yourself. If you’re into Berlin’s famous Berghain, you’ll love this!

De School
Tickets: Mostly €15
Agenda – Facebook page
Dr. Jan van Breemenstraat 1
1056 AB Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/U8brxKh8q482

11. Radion

Description and photos coming soon.

Radion Amsterdam
Tickets: Varies. Usually between € 10 and € 25
Agenda – Facebook page
Louwesweg 1
1066 EA Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/VFLAM5k9fwM2

12. Claire

Description coming soon.

Claire Amsterdam dj booth

A nicely filled main area of Claire in Amsterdam

Claire Amsterdam club interior

Claire’s club interior

Claire Amsterdam lockers

Grungy lockers at Claire in Amsterdam

Claire
Tickets: Varies. Usually between € 10 and € 15
Agenda – Facebook page
Rembrandtplein 17
1017 CT Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/rqbU4xTjB3p

13. Canvas

Canvas started back in 2007 in the old journalist canteen. Without serious renovation and insulation, it had never been possible to really create a mature club sound. After the recent renovation, all has changed. Now, Canvas is a real club, open during the weekends, with proper club sound and a huge amount of insulation. On Saturday nights, Canvas will host house/techno club nights. Night owls less fond of electronic dance music get their fix on Friday nights – where Canvas holds other genres, like hip-hop and disco.

Canvas
Tickets: Varies. Usually between € 5 and € 10
Agenda – Facebook page
Wibautstraat 150
1091 GR Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/1VEGNmPWmGU2
Canvas club crowd

Typical crowd at a Canvas party

Canvas club Amsterdam

The inside of the Canvas club in Amsterdam

Canvas Amsterdam roof terrace

Canvas boasts an amazing roof terrace overlooking the east side of Amsterdam.

14. Oosterbar

This new venue (opened in 2016) is a neat little spot in the east of Amsterdam adjacent to the Generator Hostel. The building (the former Zoological university building) overlooks the Oosterpark, making it a great spot for doing some work or meeting friends. Although the hostel can accommodate more than 560 guests, the club part of the venue is remarkably smaller and hosts around 200 people. The music is very diverse, from Italo disco to techno and hip-hop to funk and boogie. The vibe is intimate, as the DJ-booth is on the dance-floor and usually surrounded by people. The club fills up quite quickly, and so does the dance floor. The sound is very decent for a place this size. All in all a nice alternative to the club-hotspots like the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein.

Oosterbar
Tickets: Varies. Some events have free admission, otherwise usually between € 5 and € 10
Agenda – Facebook page
Mauritskade 57
1092 AD Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/gD2J8hct5cz
Oosterbar Amsterdam interior

The dj booth and bar at the Oosterbar in Amsterdam

Oosterbar Amsterdam DJ booth

The view from the DJ booth at the Oosterbar

Oosterbar Amsterdam All Night party

Another view from the DJ booth, this time during one of the regular nights called “All night” where well-known local DJs play an all-night set.

15. Tolhuistuin / Paradiso Noord

Description and photos coming soon.

Tolhuistuin / Paradiso Noord
Tickets: Varies. Some events have free admission, otherwise usually between € 5 and € 10
Agenda (look for parties with “locatie: Paradiso Noord” in their name) – Facebook page
Buiksloterweg 5C
1031 CC Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/XD9xeGizTen

16. Warehouse Elementenstraat

Description and photos coming soon.

Warehouse Elementenstraat
Tickets: Varies
Agenda – Facebook page
Elementenstraat 25
1014 AR Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/RRT3sCNm83H2

17. Ruigoord

Description coming soon.

Ruigoord Amsterdam
Tickets: Varies
Agenda – Facebook page
Ruigoord 76
1047 HH Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/Z9vPfJdUMEM2
Ruigoord club church

The church on the Ruigoord terrain is used as a club on Saturday nights

The inside of the church at Ruigoord

Ruigoord outside

There is a never a shortage of stimulation for the senses at Ruigoord

A Victorian-style performance at Ruigoord

Ruigoord fire blower

A fire breather at Ruigoord

18. De Marktkantine

I’ve been here only once, but I got a great first impression. It was for a concert of Mr. Scruff, and the mix of people, sound system and light show was excellent. It is a big venue with a capacity of about 1750 people and it’s a host for a lot of concerts with international acts.

De Marktkantine Amsterdam

The lightshow and DJ booth of De Marktkantine in Amsterdam © De Marktkantine

De Marktkantine Amsterdam inside

The inside of the Marktkantine with the industrial lamps hanging from the ceiling. You can see the speakers hanging from on the back wall. © De Marktkantine

The interior is somewhat industrial, with big lights hanging from the ceiling. The sound system is well configured and you’ll get a crisp sound with a good load of bass. There are 3 big bar areas so you usually won’t have to wait long for your beer.

De Marktkantine
Tickets: Varies, usually between €15 and €30
Agenda – Facebook page
Jan van Galenstraat 6
1051 KM Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/JWH1zFmuMdG2

19. Shelter

Description and photos coming soon.

Shelter Amsterdam
Tickets: Varies, usually between €15 and €30
Agenda – Facebook page
Overhoeksplein 3
1031 KS Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/CVAWVjymupx

20. Skatecafe

The skate cafe is exactly what the name implies: a cafe/restaurant with a half-pipe inside it. It has a super high ceiling and a warehousey vibe, but the food is decent and the drinks are cheap. This place is more of a hangout than a club (but there is a club next door called Garage Noord. If you like the chilled out “skater” atmosphere, you’ll love this. There is music in the evenings.

Skatecafe Amsterdam Noord inside

The Skate cafe in Amsterdam Noord. Image source

Skatecafe Amsterdam Noord

The interior of the Skatecafe

Skatecafe
Tickets: Mostly free
Agenda – Facebook page
Gedempt Hamerkanaal 42
1021 KM Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/Rb1iQ59cYj32

21. Garage Noord

Right next to the Skatecafe is a little club-in-the-wall called Garage Noord. It’s a tiny place, but as with most tiny places in upcoming neighbourhoods, there is a lot happening.  This is a venue where you can see new artists in all kinds of different genres. If weather permits, there is a nice terrace outside and occasionally food is served as well (think: Jamaican Jerk Chicken BBQ). Lovely place to catch that Amsterdam Noord vibe.

Garage Noord Amsterdam Garage Noord Amsterdam inside

Garage Noord (no website)
Tickets: Mostly free all night or before 23:00, 5 euro after 23:00
Facebook page
Gedempt Hamerkanaal 40
1021 KM Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/fDv6s7fpXC32

22. Occii

Description coming soon.

Occii Amsterdam

Occii
Tickets: Varies, usually between €0 and €10
Agenda – Facebook page
Amstelveenseweg 134
1075 XL Amsterdam
Map — https://goo.gl/maps/JeDu8FhVVMD2

Other things to do in Amsterdam

Looking for something to do in Amsterdam during the daytime? Check out these articles:

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Baxter

Hi Victor,

Thanks for this post. It’s been helpful for planning what I want to check out while I am in Amsterdam September 12th – 16th. I am really intrigued by Ruigoord, but can’t make sense of the calendar as it is all in Dutch, which I do not speak. Do you know anything about the Code Rood or Jazzport events on 9/14 and 9/15?

Also considering Wild as the Moon at De Marktkantine on 9/15, or Etapp Kyle, Juan Sanchez, and Jay Clarke at Shelter on 9/14. Ever checked out Wild as the Moon?

Thanks!

Ali

Heyy Victor. Thats a great Post! Thanks for sharing

Sarah Kim

Hi Victor. Sarah from Tales From a Fork here. Great post! I like going to underground clubs. I moved from NYC to here about a year and half ago and love the scene here more. My favorite club here is de School. I’ve been wanting to write a post on the clubs here but so far just have done one on ADE. What kind of music do you play?

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