Cultural nightlife

Dance with Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum, lose yourself in fairground-like festival settings on a summer’s eve or go out without so much as leaving your hotel. These are just a few examples of what Dutch nightlife has to offer. Our bloggers love to take you out. Are you in?

  • Hanging cool in the hotel bar
    Marloes Tervoort, Friday, June 13, 2014

    When out shopping I like to walk into a hotel just to feel like a tourist in my own city. Absorbing the timeless feeling of a traveller in a strange place lifts me out of the daily grind. It seems I’m not the only one, given the increasing popularity of the hotel bar. Happily, it’s no longer the sole preserve of the hotel guest.

    Read more
  • LED the music play!
    Marloes Tervoort, Friday, May 9, 2014

    I love going out. A nice meal, having a drink at the bar, seeing exhibitions, enjoying a play in the theatre. I enjoys concerts too, but like a real Dutch woman, I prefer the venues with a cosy atmosphere. That’s why I like the capital’s pop temple Paradiso, or the intimate Bitterzoet, where you can almost reach out and touch the artist.

    Read more
  • A cathedral for the arts
    Ulrike Grafberger, Monday, April 15, 2013

    This major event is imminent: On the 13th of April 2013, the Rijksmuseum will be opening its doors again. Queen Beatrix - as her last official engagement - will have the task of re-opening it. In the run-up to this, the media - and not just the Dutch media - are full of entire articles about the Rijksmuseum, the Albert Heijn supermarket chain is selling packs of milk and yoghurt with images of masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum and the return of Rembrandt's The Night Watch has even been broadcast on German television. Why all this media hype? Is the Rijksmuseum not just one museum among many? An unequivocal no.

    Read more
  • Theatre renaissance
    Marloes Tervoort, Friday, November 15, 2013

    Theatres. I once was a theatre critic and as a result spent a lot of time in the Amsterdam theatres. Although I liked the architecture, they also were a bit stale with bleak foyers, stuffy cloakrooms, bad coffee, that sort of thing.

    Read more
  • Culturally justified voyeurism
    Marloes Tervoort, Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Amsterdammers are proud of ‘their’ IDFA which was founded in 1988 in an attempt to ‘give national and international stimulus to the documentary culture’. Pre-sale tickets have to be purchased well in advance but luckily I have a friend that sends me an overview of the must-sees each year so all I have to do is sign-up. My friend then arranges the tickets for these little gems in the programming schedule.

    Read more
  • Enjoyment outside the box
    Marloes Tervoort, Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    With a twenty year tradition, the Crossing Border festival has gained a huge international reputation. Rufus Wainwright and Patti Smith performed on stage in 2007. Robert Kaplan performed at the new festival component Border Sessions, where writers and philosophers share their views of the world, in 2012. For me, the best thing about Crossing Border is the mix of established artists and new talents.

    Read more
  • The Battle of the Fireworks
    Heather Tucker, Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is to be dead.

    That string of words, a motto from the high school colorguard team that I used to be part of, was ringing in my ears as my head twisted back and forth along the tram tracks.

    Read more
  • A night at the museum
    Marloes Tervoort, Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    I still remember that first Night at the Museum in Amsterdam very well. My colleagues and I bought tickets well in advance and we were looking forward to dancing the night away at the museum. To us, it was clear: this event was not to be missed. I can still see myself boogieing to DJ Per in the Tropenmuseum and before that, we’d been to the Stedelijk, the Rijksmuseum and the Jewish Historical Museum so that we wouldn’t miss a thing. After all, this many fun things on one evening requires smart planning; and a proper bike.

    Read more
  • De Parade is back in town!
    Marloes Tervoort, Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Travelling theatre festival De Parade is world-famous in the Netherlands. From June to August they play in The Hague, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam successively. And even if Dutch summers aren’t exactly known for their tropical character, De Parade turns any summer into a sweltering party. I personally think this is due to the nostalgic feel, with its small circus tents that serve as theatres, the make-shift shacks that serve as temporary restaurants and the whirligig right at the centre. De Parade has a joyful atmosphere that works like a magnet on the audience that mainly consists of hip people in their thirties.

    Read more
  • Omniversum: That’s One Gigantic Film
    Heather Tucker, Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Despite visiting the nearby photography museum each month, I have never seen a single person go into the IMAX theatre in The Hague known as Omniversum. So it was really no surprise that when I walked into reception I was all alone apart from a small children’s birthday party off to the left. I had just missed the showing of The Living Sea so I was going to be watching Born to be Wild, a story about an elephant and an orangutan rescue centre, instead. With Omniversum’s emphasis on sharing knowledge about human life, nature and the planet this seemed to be a good fit.

    Read more
  • More than just a jazz party
    Marloes Tervoort, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    For years, The Hague used to be the home base of the biggest, internationally renowned jazz festival in Holland. When North Sea Jazz moved to Rotterdam in 2006 it took some getting used to for the faithful fans of the festival. While the two cities are not far apart geographically, the atmosphere is totally different. And the festival was so closely intertwined with The Hague that a new tradition had to be fostered in Rotterdam.

    Read more
  • West is the best
    Marloes Tervoort, Monday, May 27, 2013

    I admit, it’s a fair distance from where I live, past the Scheepvaartmuseum and Central Station and down Haarlemmerstraat, but it’s worth the ride every time. Sometimes I go there for a picnic on the Westerpark fields and on other occasions I’ll have some scones and coffee at the ‘Bakkerswinkel’ before heading off in the dark to see a movie at the snug ‘Ketelhuis’ cinema.

    Read more
  • Partying for freedom
    Marloes Tervoort, Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    On Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) Holland celebrates the end of WWII on 5 May 1945. Even though some people wonder if we should still be commemorating this event, I believe that you simply can never spend too much time considering the freedom in which we live. It came at a price.

    Read more
  • For the grey and the cool
    Marloes Tervoort, Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Standing on Museum Square, admiring the neoclassical Concertgebouw, it’s hard to imagine that as recently as 1881, when the build was approved, this was all marshland beyond the city’s boundaries. However, with the newly opened Stedelijk Museum diagonally across the road and the renovated Rijksmuseum almost immediately opposite, this is now the cultural place to be.

    Read more
  • Long live the Queen!
    Marloes Tervoort, Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    A red, white and blue flag on my cheek. A little orange dress. Streets filled with people. Get a beer on any corner. Buy second-hand toys and objects from people’s cellars and attics at the bustling vrijmarkt (informal flea market). Smell the meat roasting on the barbecue and listen to the loud music that fills the streets. Oh, how I loooooove Koninginnedag!

    Read more
  • Attending the International Film Festival Rotterdam
    Heather Tucker, Tuesday, March 5, 2013
    This year the 42nd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) was held from January 23rd until February 3rd 2013. I started attending the festival in 2010, back when I saw a poster by the side of the road and had no idea what it was all about. Every year I am surprised by how much I enjoy myself and every year I try to see a few more films than the year before (easy when you started out only seeing one!). This year was no exception.
    Read more
  • Living for live music
    Candy Dulfer , Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    Some artists prefer to lock themselves in a studio when they record a CD. They shy away from the stage and appear to be somewhat afraid of making mistakes. I personally think there’s no substitute for playing live as it simply doesn’t get more real than that. Even the smallest mistakes are noticed but that’s fine. I sometimes even hope that things go wrong because that’s when the fun starts; I simply love spontaneity and improvising. Musicians can sense when they truly connect with their audience and I therefore don’t like playing at venues where the lights are dimmed; I want to see their faces and gauge their reactions.

    Read more
  • Good for a laugh!
    Marloes Tervoort, Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    A night out in a basement does something to me. Starved of daylight, I’m in my element straight away, in a manner of speaking. This was the case in the cellar bar of the building where I studied. Going in at 5 pm for one drink meant rolling out again drunk six hours later. I behave better at the Toomler comedy club but I find it just as cosy.

    Read more
  • Viva España en Holanda
    Racheda Kooijman, Monday, January 7, 2013

    Could it be that secretly a passionate Spaniard lurks in every Dutchman?  Are the calm and collected Dutch in reality all fire and passion within? If so, it would explain why Spain is a favourite holiday destination and why the flamenco is so popular in the Netherlands. Every major city boasts popular flamenco schools and tickets sell out rapidly when Spanish artists hit the Dutch stages. The first Biennale in 2006 was therefore but a matter of time, and ever since, the best Spanish flamenco artists have been gathering here every two years to demonstrate the latest developments. And as a result of cross-pollination with other music cultures and genres, the organisers refer to it as “Flamenco in many different keys.”

    Read more