Cultural tips for Amsterdam this Autumn
The leaves are falling, the colours are changing and the days are getting shorter. That can only mean autumn and the start of a new cultural season in Amsterdam. Read on for our guide to everything from theatre and film festivals to photo fairs, major exhibitions and music of all genres.
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)
Calling all electronic music fans, Amsterdam Dance Event is back again this year, taking over the city with parties, in-stores, lectures and lots of cool arty audiovisual stuff, no doubt. Along with the conference geared toward industry professionals, almost all of Amsterdam’s nightlife venues will be hosting DJ events by the genre's leading lights.
International Storytelling Festival
Acclaimed storytellers light up the autumn nights at the spectacular Podium Mozaïek, a theatre located in a former church in Bos en Lommer. In this weekend-long festival, expect pacey plots, touching tales and real-life accounts from around the world as master storytellers demonstrate the art form of spoken word. Along with the shows, there are also talks, workshops, a masterclass, live music and a midnight saloon.
Amsterdam’s much anticipated International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam returns with another solid documentary selection. Expect films tackling life, love, politics and society, along with a trend-setting programme of talks, performances, and interactive and immersive projects. Screenings will take place at cinemas around the city, including at the festival's new permanent location dedicated to all things non-fiction: the monumental Vondelpark Pavilion.
Afrovibes Festival returns with an extensive program of contemporary dance, music, theatre and design by contemporary makers and artists from Africa and the diaspora. This year’s theme, RUPTURE | RAPTURE, once again shows the diversity and power of change in the continent, with a particular focus on West Africa. World-renowned choreographers, theatre makers and emerging talent will perform at Frascati, De Balie, Podium Mozaiek, Bijlmer Parktheater and CC Amstel.
Unseen Photo Fair
Each September, international crowds flock to Westergas for Unseen Photo Fair, one of the major annual events in every photography-lovers calendar. Hosted within the unique shiny metal cylinder of the Gashouder - a former gas factory in the centre of Westerpark - the world’s most exciting photography galleries and cutting-edge artists are brought together for a weekend-long event. Along with the exhibition, you can expect a variety of talks, competitions and tours.
This annual cinema festival in the Autumn holidays has various film, documentary and animation screenings for children aged between 3 and 14 years, alongside interactive installations and workshops. This year’s edition, titled Is dit echt? (Is this real?) takes a fascinating look at Artificial Intelligence and its impact on popular media, film, visual language and storytelling. Children will learn to see AI as a creative ally, find out how it works, and what the risks are concerning fake news and deepfake videos.
Nederlands Theater Festival & Amsterdam Fringe
To open the cultural season each September, Netherlands Theater Festival offers ten days of performances spread across the city’s top stages, with a broad range of language-no-problem shows in the programme. To coincide, sometimes referred to as the NL Theater Festival’s quirky little sister, Amsterdam Fringe is all about bringing avant-garde productions to light. Each year, 70 productions are created by unorthodox theatre-makers keen to impress with their vision. The venues where these eclectic performances occur can be just as unexpected.
Imagine Film Festival
For the best in fantasy, horror and science fiction, the Imagine Film Festival challenges viewers to question the future of humankind and society. Along with screenings, workshops, masterclasses and games, prescient themes such as disaster scenarios from eco-horror and Cli-Fi (climate fiction) are discussed in accessible talks which actively involve audiences.
The largest Japanese film festival in the Benelux, Camera Japan, is characterised by its diverse programme. In addition to the best, the weirdest, and the most unexpected feature films, documentaries and anime, attention is paid to visual arts, music, dance, fashion, architecture, food, and much more.
TCS Amsterdam Marathon
When it comes to running events, you could say Amsterdam has a personal best: the TCS Amsterdam Marathon takes place annually in October, drawing in elite runners from around the world alongside thousands of amateurs sporting their new running shoes. The course starts from the city’s famous Olympic Stadium and passes many of Amsterdam's most notable landmarks and attractions while making its way back to the stadium.
Super Sonic Jazz Festival
The seventh edition of Super-Sonic Jazz Festival returns to Paradiso, De Duif and Rush Hour Records, showcasing innovative jazz musicians on the cutting edge of R&B, hip-hop, soul, folk, funk and electronic. The lineup this year brings Mammal Hands, Kokoroko, Theo Crocker, Sungazer, Gaidaa and Kassa Overall to the stage, among many others, with a special Sunday programme featuring only local artists.