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Discover Amsterdam
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Orgelpark colourful music installation
Image from Orgelpark

Art and culture in Oud-West

Bursting with art collectives, exhibition and workshop spaces, an open-air theatre and some fantastic alternative music venues, Oud-West has long been an important contributor to Amsterdam’s cultural scene. Many spaces have their roots in the squatting movement of the late 1980s and are now home to all manner of subcultures and not-for-profit initiatives. Oud-West is also a real hotspot for film buffs with movie theatres and quirky cult cinemas hosting regular festivals, art-house film nights and documentary screenings.

Vondelpark Open Air Theatre

Vondelpark Openlucht open-air theatre classical music
Image from Vondelpark Openlucht Theatre

Since the 1970s, Vondelpark has been an epicentre for culture and social life in the city with many theatre shows, gigs and parties organised there. Every summer the open-air theatre in the middle of the park loads up its programme with a range of children’s performances, comedy, dance, opera, classical and pop concerts. A lot is going on every Saturday and Sunday from May until early September creating a great atmosphere with lots to enjoy for the whole family.


Lab111 cinema
Image from Koen Smilde

The programming of the quirky cult cinema, Lab111 is as unconventional as the setting. Located in a former pathological anatomical lab, you’ll find a range of special screenings, animated features, modern classic and in-depth documentaries on the agenda alongside regular showings with English subtitles. The space also hosts contemporary art exhibitions, lectures and concerts whilst the media cafe, studios and workshop rooms are a great meeting ground for the city’s creatives to discuss ideas or grab a bite to eat.

Het Documentaire Paviljoen

Cinema seats outside the exterior of the IDFA Vondelpark documentary pavillion.
Image from Coen Dijkstra

After much anticipation, IDFA (the world-renowned International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) opened its beautiful permanent location at Vondelpark in Spring 2024: Het Documentaire Paviljoen. Documentary lovers can discover a year-round programme ranging from creative films on the big screen to immersive works and installations, workshops and talks to school screenings.


Located at the end of the Overtoom, OCCII is an independent and not-for-profit music venue that, like several of Amsterdam’s cultural centres, credits its development to the squatting movement of the late 80s and 90s. The colourful Russian folk designs on the tall doors at the front of the building hint to its original purpose as a stable and tram depot. In the programming, you’ll find a range of alternative musical genres including noise, hardcore, acoustic, rave, electronic and punk acts.


Orgelpark exterior
Image from Orgelpark

Housed in the heritage-listed Parkkerk close to Vondelpark, Orgelpark is an international concert hall that aims to give a new face to the church organ in contemporary music culture. During unique performances which unfold throughout the year, the organ takes centre stage but is integrated into new musical presentations by organists, composers and other artists.

De Filmhallen

De Filmhallen interior De Hallen Cinema
Image from Bowie Verschuuren

De Filmhallen is the largest independent cinema in the Netherlands, housed in another spectacularly repurposed building - this time a former tram depot. With its nine screens and varied programming, film enthusiasts will always find something new to watch, from the latest Hollywood releases to festival programming and quality world cinema. Don’t miss the Parisien Auditorium, which is outfitted with authentic art deco interiors taken from the old Filmmuseum in Vondelpark.