Specialty film houses and cinemas in Amsterdam
A trip to the movies is always extra special in Amsterdam, where you’ll find some of the quirkiest independent film houses in Europe. Enjoy a great mix of mainstream and art-house flicks in a variety of languages along with a thriving film festival scene.
A stone’s throw from Rembrandtplein, the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema was voted the most stunning movie theatre in the world. Commissioned by Abraham Icek Tuschinski in 1921, the interior and exterior blend several designs, with a heavy emphasis on Art Deco. Like the décor, the movies are also a mix of styles; Hollywood blockbusters play next to art house darlings. Be sure to arrive early enough to gaze admiringly at the ornate ceiling. Or, up the date-night ante and book private old-school love seats complete with a snack and movie-inspired cocktails from the swanky bar.
Eye Filmmuseum’s striking architecture quickly transformed it into one of Amsterdam’s modern icons. Situated on the northern bank of the IJ, just opposite Central Station, this cinema and film museum, café/restaurant and cutting-edge event location is a must-see. Eye has four comfortable screening rooms where visitors can enjoy the latest art house fare and the finest restored classics along with retrospectives, lectures, Q&As, performances and live music. In April, the museum also hosts the Imagine Film Festival, where cinema lovers can immerse themselves in all of the new cinematic realms that the movie genre has to offer.
All housed in a converted tram depot that’s had something of a face-lift, De Hallen comprises a great range of artisanal shops, a hip industrial-chic hotel, a colossal indoor food court and De Filmhallen, the largest independent cinema in the Netherlands. With its nine screens and varied programming, film enthusiasts will always find something new to watch from the latest releases to festival programming and quality world cinema. Don’t miss the Parisien Auditorium, outfitted in authentic art deco interiors.
Run by a team of enthusiastic students, this forward-looking centre functions as an arthouse cinema, a music venue, a gallery and a restaurant. The two screening rooms lay on an outstanding range of quality films focusing on cinema that has emerged from outside Hollywood including countries such as Turkey, Morocco and India. You’ll find an equally impressive array of eclectic club nights, festivals, markets and other open-air activities which extend outdoors to the spacious terrace.
Housed in one of the city’s most unusual converted spaces: a former pathological anatomy lab, this cinema and cultural space is about as quirky as it gets. On the agenda, you’ll see a range of special screenings, animated features, modern classics and in-depth documentaries alongside regular showings with English subtitles. The space also hosts contemporary art exhibitions, lectures and concerts, whilst the media café, studios and workshop rooms are an excellent meeting ground for the city’s creatives.
This boutique cinema and eatery has transformed Amsterdam Noord into the perfect hip hangout for film lovers. A great mix of art-house and popular films are programmed across two screens, each with its homemade comfy seating. At the restaurant, you can enjoy light bites such as tacos, oysters and pastries from the wood oven, along with natural wines from the bar.
Established in 1945, this dynamic student-run movie theatre emerged from the resistance movement of WWII when its founders became involved in hiding children from persecution. Today, the cinema is still a student association and meeting place; the café attracts an eclectic crowd of film buffs discussing movies and social causes over beers and peanuts. Along with screenings of progressive films and the more interesting Hollywood flicks, you can catch sneak previews, exhibitions, talks and festival events - so don’t forget to dust off your debating hat.
Dominating the skyline of De Pijp with its spectacular art deco façade, the Rialto has been a much-loved neighbourhood movie theatre since the 1920s. The cinema spotlights an eclectic mix of foreign-language titles, documentaries and art-house movies and inside, you’ll find three screens as well as a stylish bar. Watch international movies with English subtitles on Mondays and catch the World Cinema Amsterdam festival in August.
What started from humble beginnings as a pop-up cinema in the Westergas cultural complex - a converted gasworks in the centre of Westerpark - Ketelhuis Cinema has grown into an important landmark for Dutch cinema, international arthouse and documentary film. The driving force behind the venue is a dedicated team of volunteers who keep an eye on the smooth projection of the films and keep the food and drinks flowing from behind the well-stocked bar. The venue also hosts annual festivals including Cinekid, Roze Filmdagen and Humans of Film.
Sandwiched between AFAS Live, Amsterdam ArenA, Ziggo Dome and the growing selection of entertainment options in Amsterdam Zuidoost, Pathé Arena is one of the most modern film theatres in the city. The multiplex boasts 14 screens (including an IMAX screen), 602 cushy chairs and state-of-the-art facilities for your viewing pleasure.
The oldest art-house film theatre in continuous use in the Netherlands, De Uitkijk was founded by a group of cinephiles in 1929 on the Prinsengracht. Since reopening in 2007, it’s now run by students, becoming part of the Kriterion family. Enjoy a healthy mixture of arthouse and independent films and special screenings of French classics. You can also go all-in with their Champagne Package, which includes two romantic seats on the balcony, two bottles of prosecco and a choice of chocolates or salty snacks.
Filmhuis Cavia is an underground not-for-profit cinema showing cult flicks, alternative movies and the best of world cinema. The venue was founded in the 1980s by a squatter’s movement and is the oldest underground art house theatre in Amsterdam, paying special attention to LGBTQ+ and activist causes. It’s a cosy set-up inside, with only 40 seats and a DIY mentality that’s maintained by volunteers. Entry for screenings is also only 5 euros!
Filmtheater De Fabriek
Filmtheater De Fabriek boasts three modern screening rooms, a spacious café and a fantastic riverside terrace in Zaandam, just outside of Amsterdam. The cinema is located in a historic 1920s building that once used to be a boys’ school and still has some distinctive architectural details like the beautifully tiled floors. Every month, De Fabriek also offers introductions, talks and panel discussions to provide more context to the films in their programming.
Nestled amongst the bars and shopping areas, this central cinema offers a cosy place to put your feet up (not literally) away from the bustling Leidseplein. On the menu, you’ll find a great mix of mainstream films and the occasional art-house flick. The halls themselves are over 85 years old, but the theatre has recently been given a complete make-over with luxurious armchairs complete with a handy table for eating and drinking.
Located opposite Melkweg in the heart of the city, Amsterdam's Cinecenter is the place to go for the latest independent and art house films. Inside you’ll find stylish, futuristic interiors and four intimate screening rooms. Cinecenter specialises in art house films with a specific focus on French and Spanish speaking regions. The modern bar is the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine before and after the film.
Pathé de Munt
Amsterdam’s Pathé de Munt is the bigger, more modern cinema around the corner from its sister theatre, Pathé Tuschinski. This large multiplex screens a huge range of popular movies, with films shown with original soundtracks and subtitles unless specifically stated. Keep a particular eye on children’s films agenda and look for 'OV' designating the original version, otherwise, you’ll sit through dubbed versions of the latest Pixar film.
This cultural centre in a former courthouse close to Leidseplein has a daily programme of debates, talks and theatre productions focused on contemporary arts and social and political issues. The in-house cinema hosts a changing programme of the best international films and documentaries, from new releases to classic movies - so you’ll be sure to leave with a new critical perspective.
This newly-opened cinema in Haarlem is housed in a national monument that was once, of all things, a prison. Constructed at the end of the 19th century, the design of this stunning building was based upon panopticon principles and features a mesmerising free-standing domed ceiling. Nowadays, De Filmkoepel - with a total of 600 seats spread across six halls - is the place to catch beautiful arthouse films, the best of Hollywood and everything in between. There are also regular film festivals and premieres with special guests.