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Cultural stuff to do in Amsterdam
18 OKT 2016 • Door Martine Bakker. Beeld: Flickr creative commons • Meer blogs over Muziek Film Theater Expo Lezen

Cultural stuff to do in Amsterdam

Do you really want to be crushed by drunk, stoned and selfie-taking tourists during your cultural activities? We don’t think so. 

Dear tourists and expats. Welcome to the great city of Amsterdam. You will probably have the time of your life (*insert Dirty Dancing tune). At least: that will happen if you listen to the advice of a cultural company that has been promoting activities among youngsters for over five decades. Yes. We are talking about us. Listen to us. CJP. We know a thing or two about culture.

When tourists arrive in Amsterdam, the amount of things to do can be pretty overwhelming. Seriously. You’ll probably be shocked, which leads to you running into a bar to drink or smoke. Three days later you realise that you didn’t see much, apart from the Damrak and Red Light District. And íf you did something cultural, it was visiting the Torture Museum or The Ice Bar. Just because you saw that on a flyer. These things are fine, but fine like eating at a cheap burger place is fine. What if your activities are great? Like eating at a cheap burger place that serves amazing sweet potato fries, getting an upgrade and before you know it you sit next to Jay Z and Beyoncé? That kind of great.


You chose not to create the exact same memories as all the other people visiting Amsterdam. Going to a concert is a great choice, because live music is never the same. Amsterdam has great music venues. For example Paradiso, in the Leidseplein-area. Artists like Prince and Adele performed here in an intimate setting (it used to be a church). In the same area you’ll find the Melkweg, which has a great hip hop line-up, and the Sugar Factory which is nice for dancing all night long. Paradiso also has a venue just across the water from Central Station. That place is called Tolhuistuin and you can get there with a free ferry. If you want to hear some jazz, visit the North Sea Jazz Club in the Westergasfabriek-area. There are lots of cool restaurants in that neighboorhood as well.

Check out cool gigs at Tolhuistuin. 


A near-death experience including a bicycle might sound fun and ‘real Dutch’, but if you want to feel like a local without dying, go and check out some of our great cinema’s. Amsterdammers (people who are from A’dam) love to stare at a screen and and pretend to be in a different world. Amazeballs cinemas are all over the place. The Movies (Haarlemmerdijk 161) for example, or Studio/K (Timorplein 62), Rialto (Centuurbaan 338), Kriterion (Roetersstraat 170), Het Ketelhuis (Pazzanistraat 4) and our personal favorite, the tiniest cinema ever, De Uitkijk (Prinsengracht 452).


Yes, the Heineken Experience might sound fun, but if you are completely honest you know you have Heineken in your country too. Choose a theatre experience instead of a drinking one. You can always drink during or after the theatre experience. Amsterdam has some beautiful theatres, for example Royal Theatre Carré. A stunning place next to the Amstel River. And if you want to stay around the Leidseplein-area you can check out DeLaMar Theater, De Stadsschouwburg or Theater Bellevue.

This is the Stadsschouwburg. A great place for theatre. 

Expo (around Museumplein)

The museum quarter is the place where you can take Instagram-pictures with the I Amsterdam-sign, like the rest of the world. There are several museums in this area. But for some reason all tourists wait in the same line. Perhaps because you read it in the Lonely Planet? Maybe try one of the other museums in that area. Like Stedelijk Museum for contemporary art or Moco. Also an option when you are here: go to the Albert Heijn supermarket and buy yourself some local treats like pepernoten, drop or appeltaart. It’s fun to eat that outside on the grass.

Expo (around the canals)

Since you are a tourist or an expat, or at least a smartphone owner, you must love photography. That is why FOAM (Keizersgracht 609) is the perfect museum. They show work of great artists like Ai WeiWei and it’s next to the canals, which makes it great to walk there. In the same area you’ll find a lot of other random little museums. For example the bags and purses museum Tassenmuseum Hendrikje (Herengracht 573) or the cat museum Kattenkabinet (Herengracht 497). These expo’s take place in typical Dutch canal houses.  


Being on the canals, you saw a big line and thought: ‘Let’s wait in line, this must be great’. And now you are feeling depressed after visiting Anne Frank Huis. We have the cure. Go and see some comedy! We have great places in Amsterdam where you can get a laugh without being stoned first, like Boom Chicago (Rozengracht 11&), The Comedy Theatre (Nes 110) and Toomler (Breitnerstraat 2). Check their websites to make sure the line-up on that night is English. Or just laugh at the weirdly pronounced g’s.  


Reading is also culture! And you can take a book home. A great place to go for books is The American Book Centre at Spui 12. They have amazing (English!) books about our city, art and food, but also magazines and novels. This square is home to a book market every Friday which is fun to check out.

The place to be for books. 

Red light district

Ok. So we didn’t change your mind about visiting this area? Well, we understand that the Red Light District sounds intriguing to you. And since you will behave very respectful to the girls and won’t take photos of them, we will tell you some cool places to visit. Release your inner child in the ball pit of Ton Ton Club (Sint Annendwarsstraat 6), have a coffee at Quartier Putain - a place where they play music from Dutch hip hop artists and have great cakes - (Oudekerksplein 4) or visit de Oude Kerk (the Old Church). They have great expo’s there and you can recharge for the rest of your stay.

Are you interested in more cool places? Check out our website and Google Translate it like there is no tomorrow. If you are under thirty years old and would like to buy a CJP-card, that is possible via this link. Our discount card only costs € 17,50. You can use it for a whole year and will get discounts in lots of cultural places and at several fashion shops. You can buy a CJP-card at Local Goods Store at De Hallen Amsterdam and at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.  


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