The cavernous surrounds of this former munitions-factory-turned-experimental-art-space provide a unique setting for some conceptual art viewing. Het HEM’s artist residency programme changes every season, inviting a new individual or group to write the next exhibition ‘chapter’. The ever-changing events line up encompasses everything from visual art to dance, music, theatre and philosophy. Just a short jaunt outside of the city (with convenient ferry, bus and bike path connections), the space is located at the Hembrugterrein, where you’ll find a ton of exciting restaurants, ateliers and cultural hotspots to explore.
Het HEM // Warmperserij 1, Zaandam
Mediamatic’s interactive installations blur the boundaries between art, science and biotech. Alongside bold and groundbreaking exhibitions, they also host an intriguing events programme - think workshops for grafting cacti and designing your own perfume or seminars about sustainable food, aquaponics or fermentation. Definitely make a reservation for the waterfront restaurant, Mediamatic ETEN, which showcases inventive plant-based dishes using ingredients primarily grown in the on-site greenhouse.
Mediamatic // Dijksgracht 6
Housed in the palatial surroundings of a 17th canal house, Upstream Gallery has a special focus on radical, conceptual and post-internet art. The contrast between the elegant, classical architecture and cutting-edge, contemporary work always makes for a fascinating viewing experience - quite different from your average ‘White Cube’ space.
Upstream Gallery Amsterdam, Kloveniersburgwal 95
In 2020, Amsterdam’s photography fans were thrilled to welcome one of the most well-respected Swiss galleries to their new space in the Jordaan. Bildhalle curates an expert selection of established names from the 20th century alongside a host of emerging international talents. Delve into exhibitions celebrating a fantastic range of photographic styles, from street photography to conceptual figurative shots and genre-smashing abstract work.
Bildhalle // Hazenstraat 15
This not-for-profit exhibition space has provided a robust platform for emerging talents in the city since 2003. Multiple times a year, the sprawling warehouse is given over to individual artists to produce new works related to the specific location. These large-scale solo presentations give viewers a real insight into each artist's thought process and the opportunity to catch one of their early-career shows before they undoubtedly go on to exciting bigger things.
P/////AKT // Zeeburgerpad 53
See what some of the art world’s rising stars have been getting up to at this dynamic centre. De Appel hosts one of the most well-regarded curatorial residencies around the globe. The public programming is always varied and challenging, giving emerging curators a platform to engage with the local community and some fascinating contemporary debates. You can expect exhibitions that are critical, experimental and politically switched on, so put your thinking hat on and go take in some brilliant art.
De Appel // Schipluidenlaan 12
With an exciting roster of up-and-coming and mid-career artists, two spaces in Amsterdam and one in New York, GRIMM has firmly secured the Dutch capital a prominent position on the international stage for contemporary art. Expect to see works in various mediums, including sprawling figurative paintings, intricate installations constructed from reclaimed electrical wires or animal pelts transformed into breathtaking ceramics and bronzes.
GRIMM // Van Baerlestraat 80 and Keizersgracht 241
Galerie Ron Mandos
This well-loved gallery first opened its doors over 20 years ago in Rotterdam but has since moved to a spacious location on the Prinsengracht for which the Amsterdam art scene couldn’t be more grateful. With an impressive line-up of Dutch and international artists on the books, their welcoming public programme encompasses screenings, talks and openings to help you get to grips with some of the most exciting work being produced today.
Galerie Ron Mandos // Prinsengracht 282
Before catching a gig at this notorious concert venue, make sure you swing by Melkweg Expo for a contemporary art pick-me-up. With a revolving exhibition programme that is consistently playful, accessible and always free, the venue provides a platform for emerging local photographers and visual artists to engage with issues in society and pop culture today. The space is open until 7 PM to make arty encounters possible for even the most spontaneous of visitors.
Melkweg Expo // Entrance via Milk, Marnixstraat 409
Much like many of Amsterdam’s most dynamic artist-run venues, W139 has its roots in the underground squatting movement of the 1970-80s. Originally a theatre in the heart of the Red Light District, the space has since grown into an always-reliable platform for the city’s young artistic community. The group of creatives behind the venue is continuously renewing and evolving. Individuals and artist duos are regularly invited to present work in the exhibition space on the first floor, making for an inspiring visit.
W139 // Warmoesstraat 139
The Ravestijn Gallery
With a luminous exhibition space at the docklands just to the West of Central Station, The Ravestijn Gallery is a rich addition to Amsterdam's thriving contemporary photography scene. Spread through the spacious halls, you’ll find solo presentations by some of the most curious and provocative international photographers working today. The gallery puts on several exhibitions a year to explore ambitious new perspectives in image-taking and the multifaceted forms the medium can take.
The Ravestijn Gallery // Westerdok 824
Galerie Fons Welters
What started 30 years ago in an old garage in the Jordaan has since evolved into one of the city’s most important galleries, with an international presence. The iconic front door by artist Joep van Lieshout still gives the nod to the building’s humble beginnings. Fons Welters built its reputation by finding young, unknown talents and bringing them to the art world’s attention. The gallery has both a front and back exhibition space, allowing them to display two exhibitions at once, ensuring a visit here is always double the fun.
Galerie Fons Welters // Bloemstraat 140
Curators and artists collide at this long-standing project space and arts foundation in the cultural epicentre of Amsterdam Oost. Every year, the venue collaborates with emerging and established international talents to organise exhibitions and an extensive public programme of lectures, debates, screenings and performances. You’ll be confronted with work at the cutting edge of contemporary art, visual culture and politics from a diverse range of voices and perspectives in society.
Framer Framed // Oranje-Vrijstaatkade 71
Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond
Art, literature, dance, theatre, music, you name it; the Vlaams Cultuurhuis (Flemish Culture Centre) champions everything that is Flemish in the Netherlands. The institution has been going for 40 years now, injecting Amsterdam’s cultural scene with talent from the neighbouring region of Flanders that would otherwise go unseen. Alongside the varied arts and events schedule, the quaint courtyard garden and atmospheric café make this unique venue well worth checking out.
De Brakke Grond // Nes 45