Best jazz venues in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has built a name as one of the leading European jazz cities. In this guide, we will cover the best jazz venues across the city. From intimate jazz cafes and restaurants to stages that welcome international competitions and festivals. Get ready for a night of swinging jazz in Amsterdam!
The Bimhuis is one of Amsterdam’s largest pioneering jazz venues. It regularly welcomes acclaimed artists, international and local, to perform jazz and improvisation. The concert hall is also home to the most prominent Dutch jazz prize, the Boy Edgar Prize. There is so much to discover, whether you prefer jazz, blues or a blend of genres. Aside from a vast array of daily performances, you can join the free Tuesday jam sessions happening in the Bimhuis cafe.
Bimhuis, Piet Heinkade 3
Established in 1968 in a former church, Paradiso is an irreplaceable star in Amsterdam’s musical landscape. Its foothold in the jazz world is significant: Paradiso has something to see and listen to almost every day of the week. Most performances carry a particular experimental spirit that is the heart and soul of this venue. From piano mixes to funk, alternative pop, and swinging jazz, you won’t be able to remain still.
While primarily known for its place in Amsterdam’s nightlife landscape, the iconic Melkweg is no stranger to jazz. You can expect to find all manner of artists performing fusion jazz, neo-soul, as well as folk and electronic jazz blends.
The Royal Concertgebouw
The world-renowned Concertgebouw is known for its exceptional offering of classical music and highlighting and uplifting jazz musicians. One of the initiatives that the Concertgebouw is involved in is the Dutch Jazz Heritage. This concept revives concerts by jazz legends of the 1950s and 60s performed by the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw in collaboration with the Dutch Jazz Archive. The Concertgebouw itself has seen iconic performers such as Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. Now, the new wave of jazz talent is taking to the stage, and it’s the perfect time to become part of this living history.
Moonstruck Jazz Nights will immerse you into a yearning-filled evening of jazz music in a warm and engaging atmosphere. Connections happen right on stage with top virtuoso musicians who challenge each other as they play together for the very first time. The Moonstruck agenda often highlights jazz traditions of different countries and regions, from India to Spain and Argentina.
Meneer de Wit
Stop by the Meneer de Wit arts and culture centre every Sunday afternoon to discover the space transformed into Club Sherry, filled with live jazz by Vera Marijts, Maarten Voorman and Hendrik Mueller. The party starts Sundays after 15:00. What to expect: lots of swinging tunes, warm lunch, cocktails, and of course, a nice glass of sherry.
Red Light Jazz
Red Light Jazz is an annual jazz festival hosted in various venues throughout the Red Light District, from cafes to restaurants to churches and iconic theatres. It was initiated by local entrepreneurs to highlight Amsterdam’s rich tradition as a jazz city.
In 2022, the 9th edition of the Red Light Jazz festival will take place on June 3-5 in and around the Wallen, united under the "Live Sax on Stage” theme.
JazzFest Amsterdam showcases the best of Amsterdam’s dazzling jazz scene. Jazz musicians from various movements are united together under one roof in Amsterdam Oost for one evening. The JazzFest Amsterdam also organises JazzFest for Kids, the JazzFest Neighbourhood Concerts, JazzFest Talks and JazzFest Minifest, with a small number of performers taking the stage at Bimhuis.
Super-Sonic Jazz Festival
Super-Sonic Jazz is a talent development platform that provides a stage for the new wave of contemporary jazz musicians. They organise concerts throughout the year in various venues, from Paradiso and Bitterzoet to SkateCafé and De Brakke Grond. The Super-Sonic Jazz Festival happens once a year, usually in November. It includes a lot of genre-blending and experimentation with the contemporary nature of jazz and hip-hop, neo-soul, R&B and electronic, truly pushing at the definitions of jazz culture.
Jazz cafes and restaurants
Jazz Cafe Alto
Live jazz awaits you every night at Alto, a jazz cafe hailing back to 1953. Doors open at 21.00 and the music starts at 22.00 and goes till 02.00 (and till 03.00 during the weekend). Early Monday evenings are reserved for jazz sessions, going on from 18:00 to 20:00. You can expect a range of artists in jazz and blues, from young up-and-comers to experienced professionals performing in a cosy bohemian setting.
Cafe de Pianist
Acoustic live music is played weekly at Cafe de Pianist, starting with its co-owner Rob on the piano. The night continues with jazz, gipsy jazz, singer-songwriter duos and more. Keep an eye out for the lazy Sunday afternoon sessions and the Fun Fridays on the agenda: they will often have jazz, as well, and don’t miss the Jazz night every Thursday from 20:00 to 23:00.
Café De Engelbewaarder
Café de Engelbewaarder is known for almost 40 years of weekly live jazz sessions. The cafe has hosted legendary musicians such as Woody Shaw, David Murray and Archie Shepp. Nowadays, the sessions go on every Sunday afternoon from 16:30 to 19:00. The permanent backing band consisting of Leo Bouwmeester on piano, Jacko Schoonderwoerd on double bass and Victor de Boo on drums invites a different guest player every week.
Friday jazz nights at Zoku are arguably one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Come by in the evening and enjoy the music on the 6th rooftop floor. Zoku serves gin cocktails for a special rate. No entrance fee is required.
What better way to start the week with jazz? Nel Sessions happen every Monday between 21:00 and 01:00 and feature the best of Amsterdam’s music scene. Nel’s lineup includes a mix of jazz, latin, soul and funk, so check the agenda to make sure there’s something for you.
Café van Leeuwen
Every Sunday at 20:00, you can expect a jazz concert at Cafe van Leeuwen. The cafe often welcomes artists to share their latest releases, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy energetic jazz, hot vocals and cool grooves. The entrance is free.
Stop by Pllek every Sunday afternoon to enjoy their Laidback Lives starting from 15:30. The entrance is free, so chill with a drink and enjoy the city views to improvisation sounds, with something different awaiting you every week.
Zaal 100 is a neighbourhood cultural centre established in 1984 as a squat. Nowadays, they organise everything from art exhibitions to theatre and modern jazz evenings every Tuesday evening. The performers unite into new combinations every time to keep the groups and their improv fresh. The performance starts at 21:00 and is also streamed online.
The Living Room by Bodon
The Living Room by Bodon welcomes guests every Thursday from 18:00 for an evening of live jazz, accompanied by whiskey and cigars. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy a decadent dinner out, reclining under the golden palm trees to the playful sound of trumpets.
Maloe Melo is the oldest blues cafe in Amsterdam. Based in the heart of the Jordaan, it has live music any day of the week from 21:00 and into the early morning hours. The entrance is always free and jam sessions happen every week.
House of Jazz
Every Sunday afternoon TenClub Amsterdam turns into a playground for live jazz accompanied by champagne and oysters. Hosted by Bas van Lier, House of Jazz presents the best musicians from home and abroad, from Dulfer to Sister Sledge, Michael Varekamp to Benjamin Herman.