Heading to Amsterdam Dance Event this year? Check out our A – Z guide of Amsterdam including a few staff picks and tips.

Well, it is that time of the year again when the juggernaut of Amsterdam Dance Event rises up and consumes the beautiful city of Amsterdam. For some of you, it will be your first time, for others, you may have been every year (all 20 of them). It can be pretty daunting for first time visitors, what to see, where to go, shall I ride a bike or not, can I smoke a joint on the street or how do you even buy tickets? Well, we have put together a little guide to help you out. Of course it is not a definitive guide, with over 2000 DJs, 300 events and 350 000 visitors during ADE, there is so much to see and do.

For those coming for business, we suggest you get them out of the way before partying, for those coming to party, make sure you have your tickets, for those who want to look around, Amsterdam (and Netherlands in general) is a beautiful city, full of history and take time out to experience it, you won’t regret it.

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AA’dam Toren is the new name for ‘Toren Overhoeks’. The 80m tower was designed by the architect Arthur Staal as a commission by Royal Dutch Shell. In fact, the tower is also affectionately known as the ‘Shell-toren’ by many Amsterdammers. It was officially opened in 1971, and was home to the multinational oil company until 2009. It will house a spectacular observation deck, a hotel, a daring nightclub and several top-notch restaurants and bars. In case I forget, the upper floors will spin right round (like a record baby).Sandwiched between the attractions will be stylish offices. It will be the new home for ID&T, Massive Music and a medley of young creative companies. It’ll be a creative hub that breeds interaction and collaboration. An environment where creativity can flourish, and where nobody is in a hurry to go home.

BBeats at ADE, the new annual conference for hip-hop, bass and beats, announces the major keynote speakers for its first edition during Amsterdam Dance Event this year on Friday October 16 in Melkweg, Amsterdam. ADE Beats presents keynote Q&A’s with a host of key figures from the international hip-hop, bass and beats community including Ninja Tune’s co-founder Matt Black, dancehall super star Mr. Vegas, US hip-hop manager Steve Lobel, hip-hop and vinyl culture pioneer Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez, music and branding innovator Rob Stone (The Fader/Cornerstone) and many more.

We had to put this in as well – BIKES! Bikes are not your friend, actually, unless you are Dutch, best to avoid, as they will fuck you up (have you ever ridden a bike onto a tram line? prepare to bail

C – Crossfrontier Audio are crossing borders and dance-floors once again, from Berlin to Amsterdam featuring label favourites Marc Poppcke, MUUI and Yoram – Want to know more? Line up and tickets available here 

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D – Diynamic Music will return to Amsterdam on October 15th for a special Diynamic Showcase: The Amsterdam Dance Event 2015 Edition with the whole Diynamic Family, including Solomun, Adriatique, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, H.O.S.H., Stimming, Karmon, NTFO, Thyladomid, Ost & Kjex, Magdalena, Johannes Brecht, DJ Phono, Undercatt and Roberto Calzetta & Twin Soul, will take place at Mediahaven, a film studio complex with three areas and near perfect acoustics. More info & tickets here

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E – Ecstasy. Our good friends over at DeepHouseAmsterdam.com have written a great report warning of the dangers of a much stronger MDMA based pill dubbed “ADE”. It is claimed that some pills may contain as much as 250mg of the designer dance drug. We urge you to take caution and NOT to buy from street dealers. If you need assistance, do not hesitate to seek help or call 112

F – Food is an essential part of your day (it tends to keep you alive) but the Dutch have perfected snacks, treats and sweets. A favourite is Bitterballen, they are hot ball shaped goodness that burns your mouth (heat wise) and best eaten with some mustard. Another dish to try is the Dutch pancakes. I know, you think those lame boring fat bits of dead dough your mum made, but the Dutch have perfected it to almost 50 types of flavours, pretty much like pizza toppings – give it a try. To find them, look for a Pannekoeken Huis sign.

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If you really have the “Dutch Courage” try the Haring. A raw fish, eaten whole, topped with chopped (uncooked onions), that you slide down your throat, rather then chew. We suggest you eat some chewing gum afterwards if you have meetings or plan to meet any potential partners.

G –  Godverdomme! what does it mean? well, you may hear it a lot from the locals whilst you stand on the road with a beer or step out in front of them whilst they are riding at 60 km an hour through a wall of people. It basically translates to “For Fucks Sake” The Dutch are amazing people, but they can be a little impatient at times, so be warned, if you hear that, it means YOU are probably not where you are supposed to be standing. Catch up with our Editor during ADE and he can tell you some more words that can’t be put here

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H – Heineken Experience Amsterdam. In 1988 Heineken closed an old Amsterdam brewery, which spread its smell over the popular De Pijp district, and opened a tour for the fans of its beer. For a small admission charge, you could learn something about the famous pilsner and drink as much as you wanted. After the renovation in 2008, the tickets went higher and what looked before like a friendly brand promotion, became a ruthless tourist attraction. ‘We’re not the Heineken Museum, we’re the Heineken Experience’ – says their website.

Well, the museum part of the show remains interesting – the architecture of the 19th C. Heineken brewery buildings, authentic interiors, old photographs and state decorations Heineken family received, famous gold medal from The Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889, which you may see reproduced on each can of Heineken, impressive brass beer tanks and a quiet horse stable.

On the contrary – the amusement part must have been arranged by people who had too much beer themselves – parts of it are simply irritating like screenings of very old beer commercials, parts are just plain silly like a quasi-3D movie, where an actor swims in pool of beer and spectators are asked to feel like beer bottles. Even if the beer tastes differently after seeing somebody bathing in it, Heineken remains an institution – thus, Heineken Experience in Amsterdam may be fun for the real beer lovers. Even so, our advice is – get drunk before you go to see it. Find out more here

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I – Imagica. Ok, so not an actual official ADE party and not at an ADE venue, but is a great showcase of local Amsterdam techno collective for one night at The Tara. IMAGICA is bringing you a power collaboration of two fast growing labels. Consumed Music and Dynamo recordings are in the spotlight of 2015, being homes to some heavy-weight names in the genre as well as up and coming, trending artists.

Consumed Music is a record label based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Founded by one of the most played producers in the modern techno house scene, A++, Consumed Music released many globally glorious artists in the field and the label’s material is being constantly played at the most stellar events worldwide.

J – Jordaan, probably the most famous neighbourhood in Amsterdam (and home to most of ADE conferences). It is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Centrum. The area is bordered by the Lijnbaansgracht canal to the west, the Prinsengracht to the east, the Brouwersgracht to the north and the Leidsegracht to the south. The former canal Rozengracht (now filled in) is the main traffic artery through the neighbourhood.

Originally a working-class neighbourhood, the Jordaan has become one of the most expensive, upscale locations in the Netherlands. It is home to many art galleries, particularly for modern art, and is also dotted with speciality shops and restaurants. Markets are held regularly at Noordermarkt, the Westerstraat (the Lapjesmarkt textile market) and Lindengracht.

Rembrandt spent the last years of his life in the Jordaan, on the Rozengracht canal. He was buried in the Westerkerk church, at the corner of Rozengracht and Prinsengracht, just beyond the Jordaan. The Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank went into hiding during World War II, is located on the edge of the Jordaan, on the Prinsengracht canal.

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K – KOMPAKT Pop Up Store & Showcases – Thursday till Saturday. They are opening their Amsterdam Pop Up Store for its third year, again teaming up with the Oz. project space in the red light district during Amsterdam Dance Event. In cooperation with their friends from www.studiokern.nl, they have got lots of exclusive vinyl ready to be checked out in the mobile pop up version of their Cologne record shop – plus daily DJ & live showcases representing the Kompakt spirit over the course of three nights.

This is where the magic happens, on October 15, 16 and 17, from 2 until 8 pm. Find out more at Facebook

L – Law, something every country has. Here’s what you need to know about the drug laws, drug checking, door policy, first aid and drug potency.

M – Mary Go Wild Store, located at Zeedijk 44, it offers lots of great stuff out of the Dutch Dance Scene: books, clothing, posters and of course the famous Mary Go Wild book. During Amsterdam Dance Event they will be throwing a basement rave for three days in a row! Drop by at our place for some old school raving! Free entrance, limited capacity and Artists will be announced 1 hour before set time. Check it out at Facebook

Another to check out is the 15 years of Moon Harbour event. The amazing line-up is a mix of komm schon Alter and WesterUnie. The label ingredients are as follows: Moon Harbour will celebrate their 15 yr anniversary in style, fresh Berlin talent from Steyoyoke will blow you away, Einmusika will bring their best deep house artists to the stage and last – but definitely not least – Sprout will present some serious bpm! Find out more here

N – Neighbours. Thats right! people actually live in the centre of Amsterdam, above and below shops or houseboats and have to get some sleep. In order for ADE to continue, it takes a lot of effort between the organisers, government, clubs and promoters to ensure that Amsterdam doesn’t turn into a warzone of pissed up clubbers for a week yelling down the street. Please show some respect for them and try and get to where you need to be and not so loud.

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O – Opening ADE Framed @ MELKWEG EXPO : The Essence of Music in Printart

Amsterdam Dance Event and Melkweg have been building bridges between music and art for years. For ADE’s 20th anniversary we are building a new one between graphic design and music. Graphic design speaks the language of music and that’s exactly what we’re celebrating. We’re launching ADE FRAMED @ MELKWEG EXPO! Dutch artist and DJ Steven de Peven selected several artists who will be showing and selling their work during our exclusive print fair. Artists who captured the magic and essence of music and translated it into an image. The limited edition prints will be for sale for the special anniversary price of €20. Find out more at Facebook

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P – Pavement. Unless you have a deathwish. Look left, right, left, right, left, left right and then left…. people in Amsterdam are not Dutch! they are a weird hybrid of suicidal bicycle ninjas who will happily knock you down and then give you a “Traditional Dutch Insult” ie: “godverdomme” or “I will put you behind a wallpaper” or “I hope you get cancer” (yes, they are really evil the Dutch)

Q – Queues. They’ll be plenty of those!! Make sure you get there early if you have no tickets and plan your journey. You can use public transport and check your route here (although beware, there is no 24 hour transport in Amsterdam) or use a taxi (can be expensive and beware, they can and will rip you off) or check out Uber (we recommend) as they have teamed up with ADE this year and cheaper!

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R – Redlight District. Every Hollander knows you came for the Red Light District & Drugs, don’t go pretending you want to know more about Wooden shoes and Windmills.(They’ll start strangling you with a tullip) Here is a tip that might save you a ruined holiday. Don’t take pics in the Redlight District or you might end up in the canals. As the Dutch say… “Maak geen foto’s van de meisjes achter de ramen. Je kan in de problemen komen en in het kanaal worden gegooid”

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S – Sunday ADE closing party – The Groove Collection invites Decoded Magazine to Amsterdam Dance Event.
Close ADE with an epic style with a boat party featuring Dimitri Amsterdam, Guy Mantzur, Eelke Kleijn, Olivier Weiter, Miss Melera, DJ Jaap Ligthart & Jerry van Schie. The party does end there, following is the after party at Amsterdam’s clubbing institution – CLUB NL with Pell & Preda, Olivier Weiter and Miss Melera, Jaap Ligthart, Soulfinder and Sezer Uysal. For more information, including news, mixes, interviews and more, be sure to follow our event page on Facebook

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Another not to forget is sLick!
Following their showcases at Club NL & Disco Dolly in 2013-14 this year I really wanted to host this at a venue which was a little different. Happy to get to host it at the intimate ‘Tara’ – a chapel converted into a neat little bar/club. Also excited to collab with Diazprod, our friends from France. Bunch of friends from India & Europe are playing & it’s free entry. Head here for more info 

T – Tickets! bit of a no brainer, but a lot of people just arrive and think you can get them on the door. Well, with 350 000 people from across the world descending to Amsterdam over 5 days, tickets tend to sell out quickly. Thankfully you can go to the ADE website and select the events you like and buy away. Head to http://www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl/tickets/festival/

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U – University is the ADE conference that aims to inspire and educate students and young music industry professionals. ADE University offers a unique program full of interactive discussions, lectures and Q&A’s, creating a big opportunity for future music professionals to exchange ideas with top professionals from the electronic music industry. The event takes place at De Balie on ADE’s Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (12-6pm).

The program includes Robert Hood (US) and his team, Vello Virkhaus (V Squared Labs, US), Jes Elliott (SXSW, US), José Woldring (The Media Nanny, NL), Allan Hardenberg (Alda Events, NL), John Ewbank (The Future Group, NL), Mark Loonen (MRK1, NL), Robert Buisman (NOMOBO, NL) with more to be announced.

V – Vinylized and SAE Institute present: Press and Impress | How to produce and promote your music

So, you’ve just finished your track but what’s next? What does it take to make your track from OK to a no. 1 hit record? What is the secret of a successful vinyl release? And how to promote your music? Come join us Thursday 15th in AIR for a crash course producing and promoting music! In a studio setting audio engineer and studio mastermind Tim Franke (SAE Institute, Red Bull Studios) will show you live on stage the delicacies of mixing and mastering a track. You want feedback on your own tracks? Bring them and Tim will give you tips and tricks to improve your sound. In addition, 3 experts in the field of music marketing will show you the fundamentals of promoting your music. Want to know what it takes to release on vinyl? Start up Vinylify will tell you. Moderator of the afternoon is DJ/producer Estroe (Rosedale Records/Estroe Electronic Music Advice). Entrance is free, but worth investing in an ADE card for €10. Full event details can be found on the official ADE website.

W – Watergate Nacht

Melkweg plays it trumps during ADE with a special collaboration with Berlin’s Watergate Records! The quality label originates from one of the most illustrious clubs in the world. They will bring the Berlin house and techno vibe to Amsterdam. One Mystery Guest will be added to the line-up. More details are available here, and tickets can be bought here.

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X – XXX. As you wander through Amsterdam, you can spot the city’s ‘XXX’ symbol on buildings, flags or even local food brands. Amsterdam’s coat of arms is pretty prevalent sight throughout the city. At its core is the ‘XXX’ symbol, which is actually three vertical St. Andrew’s Crosses. For the Amsterdam coat of arms, the three crosses are in white, atop a red shield with a black pale. St. Andrew was a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century AD, which is relevant to Amsterdam as the city’s symbol dates back to 1505 when it was a fishing town and all ships registered in Amsterdam flew this flag. In its most official form, the coat of arms is also decorated with the Imperial Crown of Austria and two golden lions.

It’s actually a complete coincidence that the St. Andrew’s Crosses on Amsterdam’s 500-year-old coat of arms are also similar to the modern-day shorthand for x-rated entertainment. Of course, this coincidence is also widely utilised via the producers of gimmicky city souvenirs, but it’s a world away from the historic truth. As such, the ‘XXX’ symbol can be seen all over the city – on flags, buildings, manhole covers and even on the poles that stop cars from driving on the pavement (known locally as Amsterdammertjes). So have fun spotting them in weird and wonderful places as you explore the city.

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YYakazi ADE Special 2015 

The cult-like affection that we have towards sound paired with our musical origins and beliefs have lead us to create Yakazi; a label in which we intend to draw an expressive universe that flows through various melodic and rhythmic scenarios, in which good taste prevails over fads and trends. Check out their line up and how to get tickets here

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Z – Zuur Experience. On Friday the 16th of October, a special menu will be served at Art Deli: Zauer Experience. Through the year, Rokin based Art Deli combines art and food as one flavory journey. During the Amsterdam Dance Event, interim chef de cuisine Zauer adds the ingredients poetry and music. The art that will be exposed within the appropriate theme “Night”, will be enriched by a program that varies from world music via soul to the typical Berlin sound. Your intellect will be enlightened by personal poetries – so hey!- only for you! Zauer Experience wants you to enjoy, imagine and be inspired by cultural cross-overs in open ambience that will trigger your senses in a way they have never been triggered before.

Axel Rüger, director of the famous Van Gogh Museum, will be curator of the exhibition “Night”. In association with Art Deli, Rüger challenged a selection of artists to create new art, inspired by the aforementioned theme. The characterizing collection consists of photography, light-art, scenes and video-art.

Poetry will be provided by Wordbites, creating poems in and on your ears with his voice. Het Schrijfmeisjientje will bring her typing machine to -especially for you- write a personal poem. The Poets of Poetry Circle Nowhere will be jamming on the music that will be live performed by mister Zauer himself, Daniel Zuur. More info is available via Facebook


Damion Pell
About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.