Get jazzy in Amsterdam – a Dutch take on jazz

Get jazzy in Amsterdam – a Dutch take on jazz

The Venice

of the North is no doubt a special place on the jazz map of the world. Below is

our selection of a couple of local venues to visit, drawn up to show you that

even a short stay in Amsterdam is enough to get a quality experience of live

trumpets, drums, keys, bass, and all that jazz…

Bimhuis (Piet Heinkade 3, www)

Bimhuis was

opened in 2005 and since that time has been regarded as one of the major venues

for top jazz and improvisation acts – not only on a local, but also on a

continental scale! To put in a nutshell, Bimhuis reinforces the position of

Amsterdam as one of the main centres of jazz in Europe – after all, it is the

‘founding member’ of the Europe Jazz Network. With over 150 events per year,

and a privileged location inside the state-of-the-art music complex of

Muziekgebouw, it is a must-visit for any jazz fan.

Jazz Café

Alto (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115, www)


winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, Jazz Café Alto brings you

live music in a cosy, romantic setting seven days a week. Although jazz is the

dominant type to be played and listened to, blues and similar genres are also

very welcome. It is located in the area of the lively Leidseplein, so you are

bound to appreciate the variety of options of entertainment you will find in

the vicinity. As for the main course, i.e. the artists that appeared on the

local stage, the club’s 60 years of activity are full of big names, including

e.g. Hans Dulfer (yes, Candy Dulfer’s father) performing on Wednesdays. The

entry is free, though you better head there a bit earlier to get a table closer

to the stage.

Cotton Club

(Nieuwmarkt 5 H, www


Compared to

the world-renowned Harlem nightclub in New York, the Dutch Cotton Club is, in

fact, no less of a legend. It’s very easy to find – it’s located along the

eastern line of buildings surrounding the landmark ‘Waag’. Focusing on the

Dutch jazz scene, the club delivers live performances every Saturday, and the atmosphere

is always vibrant and merry – just like in the 30s of the past century, when

the place started to operate. This really is a spot with a strong local

tradition, so if you want to get some top-notch Dutch jazz, you now know where

to go.

Café Casablanca (Zeedijk 24, their website in Dutch only)

This is a

very unusual place, as although it started in 1945 and has grown to be one of

the best-recognized jazz clubs in Amsterdam, its ‘area of operation’ has

changed over time a bit. Today it is chic restaurant on a daily basis, a

karaoke bar on Thursdays and Weekends, but from Sunday to Thursday you still

get to listen to some of the most amazing jazz there is! And all that served in

a dreamlike setting of a circus! Why so? Because next to Casablanca Music there

is also Casablanca Variété – a circus-themed café open for all European circus

artists. Sounds a bit odd? Well, in fact, it is odd – but in the most positive

sense of this word. It’s all wild, fun and classy – just like jazz, actually.