For a tiny country, there is surprisingly no shortage of things to do in the Netherlands. From cinemas to live theaters and concerts to comedy, there are plenty of entertainment options in Amsterdam and beyond. American Women’s Club of Amsterdam members have access to a full calendar of great in-person and virtual events. But beyond the club, how do you find out what’s going on? We aim to provide you links to find out what’s happening, plus a bit of Dutch vocabulary to help you when Google Translate isn’t available or doesn’t work well.
For a general overview of what's happening in Amsterdam, go to www.iamsterdam.com. You can search for upcoming art, music and theater events up to one month in advance. For Haarlem, check the www.visithaarlem.com page (although not everything is in English; you can search for upcoming events by date) or the Haarlem Guide. The events overview for ‘t Gooi can be seen (with some translation) on their Dutch website: Select Uitagenda (events agenda) and, in the filter area, choose between ‘vandaag, morgen, dit weekend, kies datum’ (today, tomorrow, this weekend, choose date) to see what’s happening when. You can also filter on Regio (region). Google Translate works well with this website, so it’s worth checking out, especially if you live outside of ‘t Gooi and want to explore a little. For our Utrecht members, we have some AWCA member-recommended, evergreen ideas for Utrecht on our very own travel blog.
Films in English or foreign films with English subtitles
Most cinemas show a mixture of films in Dutch and English. The listings below are for independent theaters in Amsterdam that show arthouse films in the original language with English subtitles. Most of these cinemas are part of the Cineville group where you can use a monthly unlimited pass for €17.50 (up to age 29) or €21 (age 30+) per month.
- De Balie (films and lectures)
- Eye Film Museum
- Ketelhuis expat cinema on Wednesdays
- Picl online independent/arthouse films
- Rialto Expat Monday
Cinema Amstelveen, De Filmhallen, De Uitkijk, FC Hyena, The Movies, Studio/K may also show English language films but do not have special information about them in English. They are listed in the normal agenda online and in the film description it should say [Gesproken] Taal: Engels ([Spoken] Language: English) or will list where the film was produced. Verenigd Koninkrijk and Verenigde Staten are the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively.
Other movie theaters outside of Amsterdam with some films in English include:
- Speeldoos Baarn
- Filmhuis Bussum
- Filmschuur Haarlem
- Filmtheater Hilversum has foreign films in English with Dutch subtitles every Sunday along with other occasional films in English.
- Vue Hilversum (Vue is a cinema chain, like Pathé, so it screens more Hollywood movies than arthouse films.)
- Filmhuis Artishock in Soest
- Louis Hartlooper Complex in Utrecht shows films and also has other events and festivals, along with a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner.
Pathé theaters show the latest Hollywood films. Pathé has theaters all over the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Haarlem and Utrecht. The majority of films are in their original language, English. Children's films are often shown in Dutch and in English. Children’s films that are dubbed in Dutch will be listed with NL or Nederlandse versie (Dutch version) after the title. For films from the US, they will be in English if Originele versie (original version) is listed. The Pathé agenda is available in English.
*Note: When you look at the Dutch agenda for many of the venues listed below, you may see Verplaatst or Afgelast for some performances due to Covid-19 regulations. That means those performances have been moved or canceled.
To keep informed about upcoming concerts and theater performances, it’s a good idea to sign up for newsletters from the venues listed below. Ticketmaster.nl will also notify you when upcoming event tickets are going on sale if you register for their newsletter. Most larger venues sell their event tickets through Ticketmaster.
Eventim is another big-name ticket distributor for theater, musical, and concert tickets and even sports (horse riding, ice skating) and family events. Most theater performances will be in Dutch, but sometimes there are English subtitles, and occasionally they are with an English-speaking cast. Some performances are at the Amsterdam RAI. Cats played in the RAI Theater in 2019 and some form of Holidays on Ice is an annual event at the RAI, so there is a large variety of events available. Other theaters include the Stadsschouwburg Haarlem (English website), the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht, and Spant! in Bussum.
Live Music in Amsterdam
- Melkweg (1,500 capacity): A venue with multiple halls for concerts (from up-and-coming artists to famous bands), exhibitions and occasionally film and theater performances
- Paradiso (1,500 capacity): Mostly concerts, also occasional lectures
- Concertgebouw: Classical and jazz concerts as well as family concerts. There are free concerts on Wednesdays at lunchtime.
- The Ziggo Dome (17,000 capacity), AFAS Live (6,000 capacity) and Johan Cruijf ArenA (54,990 capacity; Ajax football [soccer] matches are played here) in Amsterdam Zuidoost are all big venues for well-known music concerts. Tickets are usually available through Ticketmaster.
Live Music in Other Areas
Patronaat has live concerts and club nights on the weekends.
Lichtfabriek sometimes has dance events.
Cafe de Kaars is a bar/restaurant with live music on Saturday evenings.
De Vorstin has two halls for concerts.
Theater and Other Stage Performances: Amsterdam
- Theater Carré presents a wide variety of performances, from plays to musicals to comedy and concerts. They even have a Christmas circus and other modern circus acts.
- The De La Mar Theater has some performances in English but most are in Dutch.
- The Dutch National Opera and Ballet stages performances of well-known operas and ballets. You can also take behind-the-scenes tours of the theater (currently unavailable until Jan. 2021).
- The Orange Theatre Company and Queen’s English Theatre Company are just a few of the other English-language theater companies in the Netherlands.
- The John Adams Institute brings American culture to the Netherlands. Past events have included talks with authors and filmmakers on a wide range of subjects.
Outside of Amsterdam
Speeldoos Baarn has live theater performances ranging from musicals and concerts, dance and opera to cabaret and comedy. The Peking Tuin in Baarn also has an open air theater that is used for outdoor movie screenings and live music (all currently canceled due to coronavirus). The Beatrix Theater in Utrecht shows musicals, concerts and other stage performances. At the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht (City Municipal theater), you can search for performances that are labeled “language no problem.” English Theater Utrecht offers amateur theater productions in English. STET is one English-language theater company in The Hague, and another is the Anglo-American Theatre Group. Stadsschouwburg & Philharmonie Haarlem has “language no problem” performances of music, dance and theater. Spant! in Bussum (agenda only in Dutch) presents a variety of performances in its large and small theaters.
You can find a list of Amsterdam bars and clubs here (this also includes The Hague, Rotterdam and other larger cities) and here. The Haarlem Guide has a list of different types of bars (beer bars, regular bars, music bars) and nightlife.
For comedy, there are some well-known venues in Amsterdam, such as Boom Chicago, as well as Toomler and other clubs. LiveComedy.nl promotes international comedy performances at venues all around the Netherlands. You can also find nationwide comedy events listed on Ticketmaster.
Museumkaart: Valid for one year, the The Netherlands Museum Pass (museumkaart in Dutch) gives you entry to over 400 Dutch museums. It can be purchased online (only in Dutch) or you can purchase one in many museums. You can also find information about current exhibitions and activities in museums around the country on the museum pass website. See the Haarlem Guide for a list of museums, historical monuments and statues around Haarlem.
This is a long but not exhaustive list of entertainment options around the Netherlands. If you have any suggestions to add, please let us know!
Looking for more? Members of the American Women’s Club of Amsterdam have access to a wealth of additional information, including web resources and a members-only Facebook group with a long archive to search and plenty of willing help.
For more information about the American Women’s Club of Amsterdam, check out our website or drop us a note. We are an active, diverse club that welcomes new members with open arms, whether you’ve been in the Netherlands for 20 minutes or 20 years.