Amsterdam probably has one of the most thriving nightlives in the whole world. There are plenty of clubs and bars, the music scene is just outstanding and everyone easily finds something for themselves. This is why there are so many students coming to Amsterdam. Not only can they study at famous universities but also they can experience the best of students’ life possible. Very often I am asked about the clubs students in Amsterdam go to the party. There are many of them but some are more recommendable than others. I have done some research to find the best student spots in the city.
This is Where Students Party in Amsterdam
Students in Amsterdam Party in the following clubs: AIR, Jimmy Woo, NYX, Paradiso, Radion, Shelter, Patronaat, Sugarfactory, De Marktkantine, Melkweg. Best student bars are as follows: Waterkant, Tales and Spirits, NJOY, Duke of Tokyo.
No matter your music preferences, Amsterdam is ready to party all week long. Electro beats, live rock, jazz sessions, and crazy pop parties – if you are a student, you know what I mean – Amsterdam never sleeps. During the week, the clubs are usually open until 1 a.m., until 3-4 a.m. on weekends. What I like in Amsterdam, the club scene here is quite casual. As long as you look tidy and sober, you will be probably let into most places. In order to enter most clubs, you need to be at least 18-year-old. Almost all of the clubs in Amsterdam require an entrance fee (usually between 5 and 20 Euro). Below you will find some of the clubs for students I recommend in particular.
AIR is one of the most famous student clubs in Amsterdam. Located in the very center of the city, just next to Rembrandtplein, it is just spectacular. Since it was opened in 2010, it has been just iconic. The club was designed by a famous Dutch – Marcel Wanders. It is open every day, on Fridays and Saturdays until 5 a.m. At AIR, students can really enjoy a night out in Amsterdam. No matter your music preferences, you will find something interesting – either it is house, techno, disco or hip-hop.
The club is split into multiple rooms. There are a couple of dance floors and five bars. The club uses the latest Void Acoustic Sound System and thanks to this system AIR is considered to be one of the best sounding spots in the Netherlands. There are also 800 lockers to provide guests with the safest possible option to store their belongings and two smoker lounges. AIR is very international – there are live music shows performed by DJs and artists from all over the world. As AIR is often crowded, it might be a good idea to book the tickets.
2. Jimmy Woo
I think this is one of the most exclusive student spots in Amsterdam. One of those with a dress code required. Jimmy Woo, located at Korte Leidsedwarsstraat, is a very popular hip hop and R&B night club. It is fancy, international, inspired by Asian culture. The interior is very exotic, there are two totally different floors.
On the ground floor, you will feel like in China – there are Chinese paintings and decorations, wooden tables and Japanese screens.
The underground is much more modern though. The interior is more electronic, and the dance floor is changing colors with the music flow. You may not know that Jimmy Woo has been awarded a prize for the best quality of sound among the Dutch clubs.
A three-floor venue, stairs that go nowhere and a penis-shaped sink in the bathroom – the NYX club is one of the most liberal places in Amsterdam. For newcomers, the club is extremely easy to get lost. When you go there a few times, you feel at home. There are big neons everywhere and the atmosphere is just unique.
NYX used to be known to be a gay club but to be honest, everyone joins the party in NYX, especially on Thursdays. What is really worth experiencing there is a ballroom party, organized on a regular basis. If you like dresses and wigs, you will just love it. NYX is situated at Reguliersdwarsstraat. Even if the club is most popular because of its LGBTQ+ nights, everyone is welcome, no matter identities and orientations.
Located at Weteringschans, Paradiso is of the most famous clubs in Amsterdam. It is both a club and a concert hall, often visited by international artists and foreign DJs. Paradiso is an amazing mixture of music types – there is electronic music, as well as hip-hop, soul, country, reggae, and blues.
What is unique about the club, is the building Paradiso is located in an 18th-century church with a massive dance floor. There are also balconies and amazing glass church windows. All Amsterdam’s students love Paradiso which means the club is very crowded, especially on weekends.
Can an industrial warehouse change into a famous student club? Definitely yes. Even although Radion is located a bit further away from the city center, it attracts great numbers of students, especially on weekends. Radion is located in Nieuw-west district, it ACTA – one of the most popular academic centres of dentistry.
To me, Radion is a cultural hotspot for Amsterdam’s students. It is very famous because of a well-known techno event – Amsterdam Dance Event. At Radion you will find an impressive banging sound system. There are also mini parties for regular visitors in the smoking room located underground.
If you want to party all night long (Radion has a 24-hour permit), this is your place to go this weekend. One more cool thing about the club – there are ice lollies to buy at the bar!
For many people, Shelter is a very Berlin-style club. Located far from the city center, it is situated in the basement of the A’dam Toren. And this is the only minus of Shelter – you need to take a ferry to reach there. However, it is worth it.
The old-war bunker is hidden under the tower, with the entrance at the back of the building. The sound system is impressive and guarantees an amazing music experience. Especially when you add famous artists performing. A big plus for Shelter’s design – it is all black.
Like Radion, Shelter also has a 24-hour permit so if you feel like an extended club night, you just cannot miss this spot.
Patronaat is believed to be one of the ten best clubs in area of Amsterdam. It is located in Haarlem and I heard that more of 500 shows are played there every year. Patronaat hosts DJs who mainly play pop and alternative music. In the past , among the other Garfunkel, Snoop Dogg, and Patti Smith performed there. Now it is an extremely popular club, just perfect if you want to stress out, relax and spend some easy time with your friends.
Once upon a time, there was a sugar factory… It was situated at Lijnbaansgracht. When it was closed, the building was transformed into a jazz club. In 2005 the venue became home to Wicked Jazz Sounds. Now, Sugarfactory is a cool, friendly place.
Students come here to relax and spend time with their friends having fun. Sugarfactory is not a very big club but it can hold up to 500 people. It hosts a variety of smaller events. If you want to party but feel a little but intimate at the same time, you will not find a better place than Sugarfactory.
9. De Marktkantine
De Marktkantine is a theatre, a club, a restaurant and a creative workspace in one. If you want to spend some unforgettable time in a unique, relaxing place, De Marktkantine has got you covered.
Situated at Jan van Galenstraat, De Marktkantine is part of the Mercanti Building which was constructed in 1936. The building used to be a canteen for people who worked at the market nearby. The building was also used as a theatre and you can still see the booths and balconies.
There is a small bar serving beer and cocktails. De Marktkantine is an extremely vivid place – there is always a lot going on. There are shows, concerts and parties. Once a month (or two months) there is also a new series of nights with a live music show with duo Red Axes (DJ and producer) performing. At Marktkantine there is also a great restaurant – Graceland BAR-B-Q.
The Best Student Bars in Amsterdam
There is no student life without bars. In Amsterdam, different kinds of bars and cafes, and coffeeshops, are considered to be the main meeting points for all students. They are usually open from the early morning and get closed around 1 a.m. so if you feel like a cup of coffee, a beer or a joint, you will easily find the right spot. Below you will find some places worth visiting, e.g. before kicking off a party.
Perfectly situated very close to the canals, Waterkant is right below an enormous, spiral-shaped car park. The large car park is quite unique – it looks like two striped barrels which make Waterkant original and unforgettable.
The bar is open Sunday – Monday, between 11 a.m. and 1 a.m. on weekdays and until 3 a.m. on weekends. It serves quite decent meals you can enjoy in a casual atmosphere. There are also many local craft beers to choose from, like beers from Brouwerij’t IJ or Gebrouwen door Vrouwen.
I especially like the big terrace surrounding Waterkant. It is really big and there are many picnic tables so it is just a perfect spot in the summer. It looks so nice in the evening when Waterkant is illuminated by lights. The lights reflect amazingly in the canal and the view is just outstanding.
Melweg, one of the most popular pop bars in Amsterdam, is always crowded. This is a perfect place to start a party evening. There are many events organised here, including film and club nights and theatre performances. What is worth mentioning about Melkweg, it hosts international musicians and DJs very often.
Melkweg is situated at Leidseplein. It used to be an old sugar factory, then the building was transformed into the milk factory (the last remaining milk factory building) and then, after ages, into a bar. Currently there are two concert halls, usually with house and electronic music.
Tales and Spirits
One of my favourite cocktail bars in Amsterdam. It is a cocktail bar with a restaurant located at Lijnbaanssteeg. Even if it might look a bit fancy at first glance, many students come to Tales and Spirits to get the party started.
If you want to go there during peak hours, it is likely that you will have to book a table in advance. Otherwise you will to wait. However, this bar is worth waiting for. A customer service is just amazing – the bartenders are skilled and experience and the waiters are nice and helpful.
The drinks are top-notch and also the food is worth recommending. There are also nice bar bites. But I want to focus on drinks in particular – you will not find many places in Amsterdam where such creative cocktails are served. A big plus towards bartenders at Tales and Spirits! There are no barstools and sitting at the bar is usually not allowed. Thanks to this, Tales and Spirits never looks overcrowded.
Located very close to Leidseplein, Njoy Bar is currently one of the trendiest spots in the city. It opens in the afternoon (around 4-5 p.m.) and closes around 3-4 a.m. Njoy is nothing but high quality. And this is how the bar advertises itself – they serve the quality drinks, really good dishes, and a very good music.
There is a wide range of drinks in the menu. They are made from premium alcohols, juices, and fresh fruit. I also like Njoy’s interior. It is slick but fancy, elegant, but it feels like home when you are there. For those who want to deepen their knowledge, the bar hosts cocktail workshops and spirit tastings.
The Njoy’s menu is not just a regular bar menu. It is organized according to various personalities, so you will find ‘The Dreamer’, ‘The Virgin’, ‘The Sparkling Star’ or ‘The Trendsetter’ there. And the bartenders really know what they are doing, as far as I know they even design new drinks for the world cup each year. The cocktails here are just delicious, especially the signature cocktail – Envy me #1.
Student life in Amsterdam
The longer you live in Amsterdam, the more interesting the city looks like to be. First of all, student lives in Amsterdam vary depending on the university. Each Amsterdam’s university has their own rules and features. Besides, parties are also different regarding the university. However, there is one thing all universities have in common: get used to party during the whole week. Every day of the week is as good to party as any other one.
There are tons of official parties and events you can participate in. If you come from the US, do not expect the American style enthusiasm towards sports. You will definitely be disappointed – the sport events here are quite rare. The most popular ones take place annually.
What to do if you want to be a real Amsterdam’s student
There are some things that will make you look like an original Amsterdam’s student. Below you will find the essence of the most valuable tips I can give to the new Amsterdam’s students:
- Do not forget to cycle
Amsterdam’s students cycle everywhere. No matter the time of year, they commute, go to the university and relax I the afternoon using their bikes. If you want to fully dive into Amsterdam’s student life, do not focus on summer days afternoon biking. Get used to getting around by bike every day no matter the weather.
- Find some time to travel
Usually the Amsterdam’s students have classes around 40 weeks per year. This is one of the highest number is the whole Europe. However, Dutch students are travellers. You cannot even imagine how easy it is to find time to travel to other Dutch cities or even explore your university city. As Amsterdam is located in the middle of Europe, it is quite easy and cheap to get to other big cities in Europe so you can visit most of the cities you want over the weekend.
- Be social
Studying in Amsterdam is an amazing opportunity to meet some new people, make new friends from all over the world. So, do not be an island. Be open and ready to get to know people. There is a chance you will establish some long-life friends during your study in Amsterdam. There are many parties organised for new students, take advantage of them.
Amsterdam is considered to be one of Europe’s hottest city to party all night long. Not only are clubs and bars here awesome, there are also artists and DJs visiting Amsterdam and performing on local scenes on a regular basis. This is why it is really cool to be a student in Amsterdam. You can visit as strange places as the old warehouse, the old sugar factory or abandoned church – they are almost impossible to find anywhere else. And there is one super cool thing about Amsterdam’s party venues – it is almost impossible to be far away from a good bar, a pub or a club. Every neighbourhood in Amsterdam has a nice (and crazy at the same time) student spot where you can spend the party of your life.