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Arists on stage at Super Sonic Jazz Festival 2021 in Paradiso. Nubya Garcia
Image from Jelmer de Haas

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)

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) cube on Rembrandtplein.
Image from Jan de Ridder

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.

The official programme for 2023 is already out - try not to get lost in it, or keep an eye on our tips for ADE.

Amsterdam Dance Event | 18 - 22 October 2023 | citywide

International Storytelling Festival

Speaker storytelling on stage at Mezrab
Image from Mezrab

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.


International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam flags Leidseplein
Image from Roger Cremers

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.

Keep an eye on our documentary tips for IDFA 2023. 

IDFA | 8-19 November 2023 | various cinemas

Afrovibes Festival

CC Amstel Theatre Theater De Pijp
Image from CC Amstel Theater

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.

Afrovibes Festival | 3-14 October 2023 | various locations

Unseen Photo Fair

Unseen Photo Fair 2022 Westergas
Image from Almicheal Fraay

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.

Unseen Photo Fair | 21-24 September 2023 | Westergas


Kids at Cinekid childrens film festival
Image from Max Kneefel

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.

Cinekid | 15-29 October 2023 | Ketelhuis Cinema

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.

Netherlands Theater Festival | 7-17 September 2023 | various locations
Amsterdam Fringe Festival | 7-17 September 2023 | various locations

Imagine Film Festival

Image from 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. 

Imagine Film Festival | 25 October - 4 November 2023 | various locations

Camera Japan

Camera Japan decoration and set-up at LAB111
Image from Camera Japan

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.

Camera Japan | 28 September - 1 October 2023 | Lab111

TCS Amsterdam Marathon

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS - JUNE 16, 2016: The Amsterdam Marathon in Amsterdam in a beautiful summer day, The Netherlands on June 16, 2016
Runners at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon 2016. Shutterstock

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.

TCS Amsterdam Marathon | 15 October 2023 | Olympic Stadium

Super Sonic Jazz Festival

Arists on stage at Super Sonic Jazz Festival 2021 in Paradiso. Steam Down.
Image from Jelmer de Haas

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.

Super Sonic Jazz Festival | 14-19 November 2023 | Paradiso