w lounge amsterdam

Rock out at the W Lounge, at the W Amsterdam. (Photo: Marriott International)


Amsterdam’s Music Scene Is Hot: Here’s Where to Get in on the Act

Amsterdam is known as a superb place to party. Whether you like live concerts, hip dance clubs or underground festivals, the Dutch capital offers something for every taste. But with countless trendy clubs, fantastic live music venues and more than 300 festivals each year, it can be hard to know where to begin diving into the scene.

“Amsterdam is an outstanding destination for clubbing and attending concerts and music festivals,” says Kristina Dolgova, Music Director at W Hotels Europe, Middle East and Africa, who is based in Amsterdam. Manuel Zeeman, W Amsterdam’s Music Curator, agrees: “The city has an abundance of word-class events.”

Both music experts, who are DJs, as well, are happy to suggest some of their favorite places to enjoy music in the city.



Paradiso amsterdam concerts
Party on at Paradiso. (Photo: Getty Images)

People have been enjoying live music at Paradiso — a pop venue, club and cultural center located in a former church in the city center — since 1968. “This welcoming place is by far my first choice for live music,” says Manuel Zeeman. “It was one of the first places in the country with experimental music performances and has been at the forefront since then. A real beacon of quality, while the location is brilliant, too.”


Another option for concerts is this nearby venue, says Kristina Dolgova. It is housed in a former milk factory — “Melkweg” is Dutch for “Milky Way.” The program is diverse, and besides concerts, there are club nights, movies, theater performances and expositions.

“Just like in Paradiso, you not only see the international headliners perform here,” Kristina says, “but also many exciting up-and-coming musicians.



For the best electronic music experience, both house and techno, Manuel and Kristina encourage you take the (free) ferry to Amsterdam North. “Shelter is literally underground and has a terrific selection of DJs,” says Kristina about this nightclub in the basement of the A’DAM Tower.

“Expect the classic idea of a club,” adds Manuel. “A dark, intense experience.”

De School

Another favorite of both music experts is De School, located in a former school building in the west part of town. “Go here for a proper Amsterdam club experience and art-focused events,” says Kristina. “There’s also a wonderful restaurant, a gorgeous garden and fascinating exhibitions inside the old classrooms.”

amsterdam concerts and djs
Tune in to local and international DJs. (Photo: Marriott International)

Besides these large venues, there is also a wide range of excellent small places that host concerts, DJ shows and small festivals. Manuel, for example, recommends Noorderlicht and Garage Noord, both in the north part of the city.


Amsterdam Dance Event

October is a great time to visit Amsterdam because it is during Amsterdam Dance Event, the world’s biggest festival for electronic music with more than 2,500 artists performing.

“Nearly half a million visitors from all continents come to enjoy the finest the electronic genre has to offer,” says Manuel. “ADE is awesome because it’s not in one massive location, but spread across the whole city at 140 locations.”

Kristina is equally enthusiastic. “Every DJ in the world is here during those five days. I always look forward to it.” W Amsterdam is one of the festival’s official partners, with parties and other performances, talks, lectures and meetups for the industry held in the hotel.

Pride Amsterdam

pride amsterdam
The W Amsterdam celebrates Pride with its own boat. (Photo: Marriott International)

Not to be missed during the summer is Pride Amsterdam, a festival that advocates for the acceptance and equality of LGBTQ+ people and “the right to be who you are and to love who you want.”

At the core of the W Hotels’ brand values lie music, diversity and inclusivity, and thus, LGBTQ+ rights, explains Manuel. “We also have our own boat during the Canal Parade and an amazing after-party in the hotel.”


Kristina recommends arriving a few days before Pride and also attending the Milkshake festival in the Westerpark. “It’s a rainbow-unicorn wonderland. Super fun.”

Both music experts also recommend checking out other, smaller festivals, such as Dekmantel, which is also in the summer and located in the Amsterdam Forest in the south of the city. “Expect an outstanding lineup and a hip crowd,” says Kristina.

She also recommends the DGTL Amsterdam festival. It is held on Easter weekend at the NDSM Docklands in the north and strives to become the world’s first circular (zero-waste) festival this year.

amsterdam festivals and concerts
Join the crowds at the city’s many festivals. (Photo: Getty Images)


Guests staying at W Amsterdam (located right in the center next to Dam Square and the Royal Palace) surely won’t miss anything happening in the city. “It’s not the kind of place where you just go to sleep,” says Manuel.

“The hotel is located at the heart of the city’s nightlife and joins in with the festivities,” emphasizes Kristina. The property’s sleek W Lounge hosts nightly resident DJs spinning everything from disco to house music, and offers a calendar of weekly events.

Plus, during many citywide celebrations, like King’s Day in April, there are parties with DJs in the hotel, too. “And you can watch the street celebrations with a cocktail in your hand from the W Lounge on the rooftop.”

“Few places around the globe compare to Amsterdam,” concludes Manuel. “Its rich history of cultural, religious and social diversity has paved the way for a modern, energetic capital of artistic freedom and exploration — with an inspiring music scene.”