So you want to dance all day and night for 5 days straight in Amsterdam this October? Well, it’s possible at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).
With seemingly endless venues to pick from, parties day and night, and a city ready to help you with your best party days, there’s really no place better to be this October 19-23, 2016.
Here’s the ultimate guide to ADE with everything you need to know about getting around to general Amsterdam tips.
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The Best Way to Get Around Amsterdam Dance Event
The absolute best way to get around from party to party is by biking! This is because:
- public transportation ends at around midnight waaaay before parties end,
- taxis can be hard to get when a venue of 1000 people empty out and are trying to get taxis too,
- Ubers can get expensive with surge pricing when everyone is trying to get a taxi,
- and biking freely with the cool wind blowing in your face after you’ve been sweating your face off with a ton of people is refreshing!
Where to Rent a Bike
If you are renting a bike, you must rent from a bike place that is well-known and has good reviews. Otherwise, you may be renting a bike that isn’t well-maintained, which is no fun! We learned this the hard way when my mother-in-law rented a bike from a small, no-name place and had a rickety seat and squeaky bike all day long.
A place I recommend renting from is Rent a Bike in city centre by Dam Square. They’re the oldest running bike rental shop in Amsterdam and has a great neighborhood vibe.
The bikes are well-maintained, and more importantly, are black, not bright red, green or yellow like other bike rental shops, so it doesn’t scream “tourist”.
Their city bikes start at €9,50 a day and gets cheaper by the day the longer you rent it. If you mention my blog, you’ll get 10% off your rental. Check out their rates here.
Note: Rent a Bike is actually in an alley off of Damstraat but still very easy to spot. When you get to Damstraat 20, you’ll see one of their bikes at the end of the street. Just head into the alley behind it!
If you’re not near Dam Square or want to rent a bike without a contract, you can rent one from me in Oud-West. I have one for €50 for the week with a €130 cash deposit. It comes with two locks, a bell, and lights– you know, the whole shebang.
Other Ways to Get Around Amsterdam
The only taxi I ever take is Uber. Uber is well priced in Amsterdam, and if you’re with 3+ people, it can be cheaper than taking the tram.
Only downside is that there could be surge pricing if you leave an event at 4AM with 1,000 other people. This is why I recommend renting a bike so you can come and go as you please without extra costs.
Sign up here to get $10 off your first ride.
Trams are great for site-seeing in the daytime and for getting to parties, but they end around midnight so unless you’re partying ’till the early morning when they start up again, this may not be the best solution for partying.
You can buy single-use tickets, multi-day unlimited tickets, or the OV-chipkaart to refill. If you plan to use the tram often, I’d opt for the unlimited tickets or the OV-chipkaart.
I go into more detail about this under ‘Train’ in the next section, but here’s the GVB site detailing the costs of these tickets.
How to Get to Amsterdam from Schipol Airport
My first choice of transportation from the airport to city center is Uber because of the price and ease. From the airport to Oud-West where I live is usually €22 and to city centre is €30. It is about 15 euros cheaper than getting a taxi outside.
To use Uber in Amsterdam, you have to go up one floor to Departures, and call it when you’re outside.
Schipol Airport has wi-fi so if you don’t have data to call it, connect to the airport wi-fi to call one.
Sign up here to get €10 off your first ride.
There is a train that runs directly from the airport to city centre 6x an hour on weekdays and 8x an hour on weekends. It takes about 15 minutes.
There are two options for train tickets: a single-use ticket or a pre-paid rechargeable chip card (aka OV-chipkaart).
1. Single-use Ticket: If you don’t plan on using public transportation often or at all while in Amsterdam because you will be taking cabs, riding bikes, or walking, get the single-use ticket for the train, which costs about €5.
2. OV-chipkaart: This card works for both the train to city centre AND the trams in Amsterdam. If you plan on using public transportation often in Amsterdam, then getting the pre-paid rechargeable chip card might make more financial sense. Here’s why:
The card itself costs €7,50 in addition to the cost of the train and tram rides. However, if you use a card on the tram in Amsterdam, you’ll save money per ride because you will only get charged for the distance that you travel.
If you don’t have a card, and buy a single-use ticket for €2,90 (valid for 1 hour of unlimited use) every time you go on the tram, then you may spend more money on one ride then you need to.
For example, when I go from Oud-West to city centre on the tram, it usually costs about €1,50. If I bought a single-use ticket instead of using my OV-chipkaart, I would’ve spent €1,40 extra, which can add up quickly with a few rides.
3. Ummm… I’m confused now: If you don’t know whether you’ll be riding the tram often in Amsterdam or not, go ahead and buy the single-use ticket, and get an OV-chipkaart or unlimited day tickets later in the city.
Where to Buy the Train + Tram Ticket at Schipol: You can buy both types of tickets at the yellow ticket machines near the train platforms. You can also buy tickets in person at the Ticket and Service Desk, located near the red and white checkered cube in Schiphol Plaza. (Schipol)
Where to Buy Secondhand or Sold Out Tickets
Ticketswap is the greatest secondhand ticket site that I’ve ever sold and bought from.
Tickets are not allowed to be marked up that much more than the original price, and every ticket I’ve ever gotten from this has worked. Communication via the site is also easy because it’s all connected to Facebook.
Don’t be a noob, and buy from someone on the Facebook event wall who just created a profile the week of to scam you! Use Ticketswap.
Pro Tip: If you are buying tickets to a show that is in high demand, refresh the ticket page constantly, and be quick about clicking on a ticket!
Where to Buy Tickets Firsthand
If you’re coming to Amsterdam Dance Event, I assume you have a few people you love and know you want to see. But if you haven’t gotten that far in your preparation, check out the Amsterdam Dance Event site for their program. You can buy tickets from there.
Venues in Amsterdam are magical because of their amenities. Here are some things I love about venues in Amsterdam.
They have lockers that you can leave backpacks, jackets, and whatever your heart desires in. They have keys so you can go in and out of them throughout the night and dance without anything weighing you down.
Pro Tip: Make sure to bring a couple of 2 euro coins on you just in case you get a locker that has a coin slot to retrieve the key.
They usually sell ice cream, popsicles, bananas, and watermelon. Some venues even have pasta or brownies. It’s like they are completely aware that you may be at their venue for 8+ hours so of course, they want you to stay healthy and have something to eat in that time. At 4AM when everyone is getting super hot and sweaty that quite a lot of people eat popsicles to cool themselves down. Plus they’re tasty– win/win!
Most venues use the token system to buy drinks, which makes the process of buying drinks go sooo much faster. It’s not like in NYC where getting a drink could take 10 minutes with lots of elbow pushing. The token system involves you buying tokens with cash or credit, then using those tokens at the bar to get your drinks. However, some venues like de School don’t use tokens.
The bathrooms are clean and have minimal lines. At some places, you’ll have to leave your drinks outside the bathroom, but there is usually some number system so you can remember which drink is yours.
My Favorite Venues
My favorite club is de School. It is an underground club with a cool vibe. I love the people it attracts ’cause they are chill as fck and go solely for the music. Also, if you like getting totally lost in the music, this is a great place because the venue is set up exactly for that. There’s so much fog from dry ice being pumped out, you can barely see your hands in front of you.
My favorite venue is Gashouder at Westergasfabriek. It was originally a steel tank that stored gas built in 1902. Now it is a concert venue that fits up to 3,500 people. I’ve been to a couple of parties here by Awakenings, which have been unforgettable.
This venue is also at Westerpark so if you leave the venue at sunrise, you’ll see a beautiful morning haze over the dusty landscape.
Partying like a Local
Act Like a Local
Amsterdam has the best party scene that I’ve ever experienced. It’s one of the reasons why I want to call this place my home long-term. Here’s why:
Men do not follow women around the club, touch them without their permission, stare at them like they’ve never seen a woman before, or wait outside the bathroom to talk to the women exiting. Men are respectful of women and recognize them as equal human beings.
People go for the music; not to talk or yell excessively and disrupt the enjoyment of listening for others. If you want to catch up with friends, head to the outskirts of the crowd or to the smoking section to chat.
People are rarely on their phones taking selfies, sending snaps to their friends to show them where they are, or texting their moms halfway around the world. They’re there to be present with the music.
People are mindful of the people around them. They dance and enjoy the night without infringing on other peoples’ space.
Of course, these are social norms that I’ve experienced from the types of shows I go to. There are outliers. If you take away anything from the local etiquette, it’s that being a creeper isn’t cool.
What to Wear
Although the Dutch don’t make up a majority of Amsterdam Dance Event because it is an international event, it is smart to dress like the Dutch: functional and practical.
Dutch girls always wear sneakers even with super cute outfits. With dancing for hours on end, walking around cobblestone streets, and biking across town, sneakers make so much sense.
Also, opt for lighter and comfortable clothing that you don’t mind sweating your face off in. Personally, black on black on black is always a safe outfit choice for any venue like what I chose to wore at Dekmantel.
Be prepared for any type of weather. The weather tends to change quickly in Amsterdam like when it pours and rains all of a sudden even though a weather app said it wasn’t going to. Feel free to bulk up as much as you want if it’s raining or cold out because you can always pop your jackets and rain clothes in a locker or coat check.
Whatever you decide to wear, keep it on. Even Awakening’s FAQ asks you to keep your shirt on!
What Parties to Go to
Narrowing down what parties to go to is way too tough but Electronic Groove did a great job with a top 10 list! Check out these top 10 parties not to miss for ADE. It’s a solid list!
Getting Sick from Partying Too Hard
If you get sick from partying too hard, do not be afraid to go to the first aid station or call 112, which is the emergency line of Amsterdam.
According to Celebrate Safe, “Anything you discuss at a first-aid booth, and any treatment you may receive, will remain confidential.” Also, you will not be prosecuted for drug use or possession.
Amsterdam officials are very understanding. They know that people will party and do whatever they like so instead of prosecuting people, they realize that there’s nothing to prevent it and all they can do is help. They are really friendly so be friendly and honest with them so they can help you as much as they can!
Check out this (outdated) printout at the Gashouder, which tells you that if you get XTC poisoning, you should go to the first aid station immediately. There will be new/updated printouts like this at ADE warning you about bad drugs.
The other printout says that you can get water intoxication and not to drink more than two cups of water an hour. #knowledgeispower
Check out this PSA made by iAmsterdam on staying safe by ignoring street dealers.
[video_embed url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tluhJmLcEYM&feature=youtu.be” embed_style=”default”]
General Tips for Staying Healthy
Get Drugs Tested
You probably have a friend or two who must do drugs when they go to ADE. At the very least, you can help them out by letting them know where they can get their drugs tested.
Jellinek’s Drug Testing Service is an organization that treats alcohol and drug addiction and wants to help with risky substance use. You can get your drugs tested there anonymously.
Jellinek’s Drug Testing Service
Jacob Obrechtstraat 92
1071 KR Amsterdam (South)
T 020-590 1590
Hours: Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 17:00 to 20:30.
Check This App to See Which Drugs Are Bad
There’s this new app called Red Alert, which tells you if drugs are contaminated or have bad materials in them.
Learn more about doing drugs safely in the Netherlands from Alex of Lost with Purpose.
Wear earplugs specifically designed for music to protect your ears from the loud music systems. They’ll keep your ears hearing better in the long-term so you can go to more events like ADE time and time again.
Also featured on Grandma’s Guide to Techno Parties
Party goers get so lost in the moment that they forget to eat. To bounce back quickly from a night of partying, make sure to eat something healthy! If you forget to eat while you’re out, most venues sell watermelon or bananas (oh yah, and popsicles).
Scroll down below to find out where to eat in Amsterdam, but if you’re not in the mood to go to a restaurant, I recommend going to Albert Heijn (a grocery store you’ll find in every neighborhood) and picking up a salad for under €5 and a bottle of fresh OJ for €2.
As a note, Albert Heijn only accepts cash or certain European card brands, not Visa or Mastercard.
Tap water in Amsterdam is safe to drink so you can drink tap water at yourAirbnb or at a venue UNLESS the venue says the water is not drinkable.
Drink water to prevent dehydration, which is the main cause of sickness at many techno parties. However, the city of Amsterdam advises NOT to drink drink more than 1 to 2 glasses of water an hour to avoid water intoxication (photo above).
Here are a few things that I like to tell everyone when they come:
- Tap water is safe to drink.
- Bikers always have the right of way so look left and right constantly when crossing the street.
- You can drink out in public except for places marked with a no drinking sign. Same applies to smoking.
To read the full 10 tips I have for tourists visiting Amsterdam, check out these 10 basic travel tips for Amsterdam.
Things to Do
Rent a Boat
Avoid canal cruises as if your life depended on it and rent a boat in Amsterdam with your friends. You can bring whatever food and drink onto it that you want, and go wherever you please without being crammed on a cruise with a ton of strangers. Among the three boat rental companies I’ve used, Mokumboot is my preferred boat rental company. They have locations around the city and can get as low as €11,25 a person if you have 8 people on the boat. To read about why I love Mokumboot, what you should bring on the boat, and how to rent one, check out my post on renting a boat in Amsterdam with Mokumboot and cruising around the canals.
Hop Around Breweries
Amsterdam has really great local craft beer. Here are a couple of breweries I like:
- Check out Oedipus Brewery in the Noord. Try the Thai Thai.
- Two Chefs is also in the Noord. Try the Funky Falcon.
- If you want to see a windmill, head Brouwerij ‘t IJ. Try the Zatte.
So many tourists come to Amsterdam to smoke weed so why not join them? Check out the best places to get high in Amsterdam. In addition to describing the coffeeshops, Sonal of Drifter Planet details the how-tos and rules of buying and smoking weed in Amsterdam.
Neighborhoods to Hang Out In
My favorite neighborhoods in Amsterdam are de Pijp, Jordaan, Oud-West and Noord.
- De Pijp has many restaurants and bars that people in their 20s-40s like to hang out in. Make sure to eat an omelette at Omelegg or any of these spots in this guide to De Pijp.
- Jordaan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a must-see. Simply walking around or grabbing a cup of tea at a traditional Dutch bar along the canals is a must here. Cafe t’Smalle is a traditional Dutch bar you can drink at, and Winkel 43 has an amazing Dutch apple pie.
- Oud-West is a trendy up-and-coming neighborhood that I’m partial to because I live here. Check out the Foodhallen, which is a street food style court great for large groups.
- Noord is the hipster area of Amsterdam. It’s no Williamsburg but it does have a handful of gems that I frequent monthly. Head to Oedipus Brewery, and get the Thai Thai, my favorite beer, or go to Café de Ceuvel to check out a sustainable office park and café set on water where you can relax.
- I’ve become more and more partial to city centre as I’ve discovered exactly where to go. My favorite bar in Amsterdam, Bar Jones, is actually in city centre. I also enjoy Beer Temple for craft beers, the W Hotel’s Lounge for a trendy, lounge atmosphere, and Porem for cocktails and great service.
For more neighborhoods to check out and a different perspective, check out Wandertooth’s guide on where to stay in Amsterdam.
Where to Eat in Amsterdam
For breakfast, head to Omelegg. They make great omelettes and eggs in general. There are two locations in City Centre and de Pijp. For lunch, opt for the Foodhallen in Oud-West. It used to be a warehouse that renovated trams but was converted into a street food style court a year ago and has different options from burgers to Vietnamese food. For dinner, check out de Luwte in Jordaan. They have great dishes served in a charming and cozy environment. Make a reservation! For other places to eat, check out my post on where to eat in Amsterdam.
Traditional Dutch Food to Try
Stroopwaffels are the most addicting Dutch dessert. They’re two thin waffle wafers with a layer of caramel in between. The Dutch like to place it on top of their coffee or tea cup for 2 minutes to let the steam from the hot drink melt the caramel, then eat it. Get the roomboter stroopwaffels at Albert Heijn or from the stroopwaffel guy at the Albert Cuyp market.
Poffertjes are mini pancakes slightly larger than a quarter. You eat them with a huge dollop of butter and a ton of powdered sugar. You’ll see them all around the city but you can get this + Dutch pancakes at Pancakes! Amsterdam.
Dutch pancakes are thicker than crepes but thinner than American pancakes. They go with sweet or savory toppings but I like savory better with these types of pancakes. Get them at Pancakes! Amsterdam.
Bitterballens are beef and potato stew balls deep fried in a crispy batter. They’re like croquettes if you’ve ever had those. They’re everywhere but there’s a specific stand at the Foodhallen.
Herring is a traditional Dutch food I haven’t tried yet but quite common. There are stands around the city or at markets like the Ten Kate Market or Albert Cuyp market.
When you’re a little too hungover to make it out to a restaurant and be decent in public, or you are pregaming at your place with a bunch of friends and would rather order in, check out Foodora or Thuisbezorgd.
If budget isn’t an issue and you’d like a trendy spot to stay in city centre, check out the W Hotel. They’re one of my favorite hotel brands. If you are being budget conscious, check out Flying Pig hostel in city centre. For other types of hotels between budget conscious and trendy, check out my blog post on where to stay in Amsterdam. Of course, I’m a big fan of Airbnbs especially if you’re traveling with a bunch of friends. Opt to stay in Oud-West, Jordaan, or de Pijp if possible.
Click here to get $20 off your first stay on Airbnb.
Use Google Maps Offline Without Data
This is a general travel tip for wherever you go! You can use Google Maps offline without data or wifi. Check out my blog post to find out how.
Check the Weather with Buienrader
The weather in Amsterdam is fickle, and most weather apps don’t do a good job on telling you if it’s going to rain within the next hour. Knowing whether you should wait and party at one place for the next hour, or hurry out to the next party before it starts to pour is easy with Buienrader. It’s available for iPhone and Android.
Buy Medicine, Toiletries, etc. at These Places
Kruidvat and Etos are stores like CVS and Walgreens. You can buy medicine and toiletries there. If you’re more the holistic type, check out de Tuinen.
Hope these tips make your time at Amsterdam Dance Event a good one!
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If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!