Amsterdam has one of the best music scenes in Europe. Limit the criteria to electronic music and it's arguably the best in the world. The Dutch capital is home to many musicians, clubs and festivals that annually draw people from all over the globe.
But of course there's always two sides to music tourism: what you're going to see and where you're going to see it.
No doubt Amsterdam's music scene would not have developed like it has if the city itself wasn't worth being in. Art scenes rarely develop in uninspiring places.
With so much going on in Amsterdam all the time, we thought it'd be helpful to highlight some of what the city has to offer, both in terms of festivals and its neighbourhoods.
Most people know about the Red Light District, so here are some great places outside the downtown core to call home during your visit.
Amsterdam's version of the other side of the tracks, the Noord neighbourhood is located north of the city centre, across the IJ river. Take a free ferry from Centraal Station and enter a totally distinct type of Amsterdam. Greeted by the futuristic architecture of the cinema/museum/film archive known as the EYE Filmmuseum, the vibe is a bit different on this side of the water.
The poster child for Dutch urban renewal, you can sense things are actually happening in Noord. It features a cutting edge arts scene, centred around the NDSM-Werf. A former shipyard, this expansive area is now a cultural hub, housing art studios and galleries, a skatepark, restaurants and a number of festivals.
Headliners (2017): Chris Liebing, Seth Troxler, Claptone
This is one of the more established outdoor house and techno festivals the Dutch capital has to offer. Heading into its 11th year, the one day party features eight stages, all with their own aesthetic, presenting lineups of genre leading electronic acts.
When & Where: TBA, Het Twiske
Where To Stay
This apartment for up to four people offers a more authentic experience than any hotel can. It features a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living room with flat screen TV, master bedroom and large balcony. Conveniently located, you can explore Noord's hip cafés and bars or just chill out and recharge.
The gateway into western Amsterdam, Westerpark is a peaceful neighbourhood in a busy city. The park from which the neighbourhood gets its name is the Dutch capital's oldest municipal park and was designed to be a respite from daily life. Westerpark features everything you need to relax: open fields, tall trees, water features and wading pools.
But the neighbourhood is more than the park. Westergasfabriek, which is a former gas works, is one of Amsterdam's cultural hubs. Trendy independent shops, street markets, restaurants, cafés and bars have all popped up here. But the pièce de résistance is the illustrious Gashouder, one of the most famous venues in Europe.
Headliners (2017): Adam Beyer, Solomun, Stephan Bodzin
Annually putting together a lineup of the best underground DJs, Loveland is a festival for those who want to know where electronic music is heading. And elaborate stage production turns this into a huge party.
When & Where: TBA, Sloterpark
Where To Stay
WOW Hostel Amsterdam
Matching the cutting edge vibe of Loveland, WOW Hostel is home to in-house artists and artistically-minded visitors. The hostel features 4,6, and 8-12 person rooms, all decorated in primary colours. As well, there is a restaurant which houses exhibitions and uses organic produce grown in the hostel's own gardens.
What's the first thing you think about when you think of Amsterdam? Not that. No, not that either. I'm talking about the Museumplein! The Rijksmuseum (Dutch national museum), Stedelijk Museum (modern art museum) and Van Gogh Museum combine with the Concertgebouw (Royal concert hall) to create an art lover's paradise, with a popular park joining them all together.
Oud-Zuid is Amsterdam at its most elegant. The home of Holland's most culturally significant sites is also home to its most chic boutiques, along the P.C. Hooftstraat. And after a day of shopping and museum hopping, there's no better place to relax than Amsterdam's most famous park: Vondelpark.
Headliners (2017): Nicky Romero, Hardwell, Afrojack
The Netherland's biggest outdoor music festival, this one actually has three outposts in three cities: Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam. A selection of the best Dutch DJs are flown from city to city by helicopter to enable their massive EDM beats to reach as far as possible.
When & Where: TBA, Olypisch Stadion
Where To Stay
Get the best of both worlds with an apartment that also offers 24/7 reception, a fitness centre and housekeeping. The one bedroom apartment features a fully equipped kitchen, lounge and bathroom with bathtub.
Nowhere in Amsterdam is changing more than Zuidoost. An entity unto itself for many years, the area is now benefitting from massive government funding. This is highlighted by its new architecturally stunning train station, turning the district into the newest Amsterdam neighbourhood.
The multicultural area features lots of green space, including Gaasperpark, which is home to a number of music festivals this summer. And with Amsterdamse Poort and Amsterdam ArenA (home of the Ajax Amsterdam football club), Zuidoost has developed into a major shopping and entertainment zone.
Headliners (2017): Recondite, Eats Everything, Agoria
The best thing about a festival being set a bit removed from downtown is that it feels like an escape. This is the electronic Amsterdam Open Air in a nut shell. Take the train out to Gaasperpark, leave your daily struggles behind and become any version of yourself you want.
When & Where: TBA, Gaasperpark
Where To Stay
A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost
What do you look for in a hostel? Convenience. A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost is ten minutes biking or a 15 bus ride from Gaasperpark so you can get home quick and collapse in bed after a long day of dancing. Or keep the party going and take advantage of the lobby bar and play a game of pool or table football.
There is no neighbourhood in Amsterdam trendier than Oost. This traditionally multicultural area is buzzing these days with clubs, bars, restaurants and cafés, and is home to the city's creative class. The Volkshotel building embodies the neighbourhood's atmosphere, with its hotel and great Canvas club and Doka café.
There's a lot to explore here, with a number of museums highlighted by the Rembrandthuis, Hermitage Amsterdam and Tropenmuseum. And when you've got your cultural fill, head to Beukenplein for some food and drink or to the Waterloopleinmarkt, which is Amsterdam's main flea market.
Headliners (2017): Âme [DJ set], Todd Terje, Maya Jane Coles
Every festival has a different approach to its lineup. Straf_Werk's is about balance between giving up-and-coming house artists a platform and showcasing some of the bigger names in the genre. It also takes place on the beach, so you can feel the sand in between your toes within walking distance from the city centre.
When & Where: TBA, Blijburg Aan Zee
Where To Stay
Stayokay Amsterdam Zeeburg
This hostel shares a building with a cinema and theatre and also has a bar-brasserie and restaurant onsite. Located near the famous Oosterpark, Oost and the entire city are easily accessible by bike or public transportation. Each room is comfortable and spacious, and guests even get free breakfast.
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