The Bachzaal is a medium-sized concert hall in Amsterdam-Zuid.
When I used to live on Beethovenstraat, I loved to pop down to the Bachzaal, a few blocks away, to get my fill of classical music. I’ll never forget one striking performance by a music professor playing Scriabin so intensely, I developed a great fondness for the composer.
The Bachzaal is a venue where music students hold recitals and occassionally professional musicians come to play. Most events are free, and it’s unlikely the place will be crowded, so you can enjoy fine classical music without all the commercialism.
The hall gets its name from the Bachstraat, where the room is located. Architect Piet Vorkink (1878-1960) designed the ingenious complex in 1930, of which the Bachzaal is part. The building, where musicians for the Concertgebouw Orchestra were initially trained, is an important semi-public building, of which only a few have been built in the Netherlands.

Book Traffic

Unfortunately this bookstore has been closed permanently, a historical post for posterity.

The first time I visited Book Traffic (it had another name back then), I scored a great book about the 1960s that I used as a reference in writing my own book. Low and behold, a recent visit and I scored another great one from the 60s, that I wished I had before.

I love browsing through their science fiction section because they have so many books to choose from, and since they’re used, the price is right! They also have lots of other subjects including art and photography, philosophy and spirituality, etc. Plan on spending some time there on your first visit getting acquainted with the selection and the people who work there.

They also have books in Dutch (of course!), and they’re open on Sunday. Nice place to stop if you’re in the area or walking through the Jordaan.

Hours: Monday – Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday 11am-6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Leliegracht 50
Amsterdam 1015
Phone: 020-620-4690

De Peper Cafe and Academie OT301

Formerly the Netherlands Film Academie, it was squatted on 14th november 1999 and ultimately legalized as a public space with 2 large performance/rehearsal spaces, cinema, cafe and gallery space with busy programmes of [sub]cultural activities and events.
de peper is a non-commercial, not-for-profit vegan and organic café project located in the building on the Overtoom.
Part of Vereniging Eerste Hulp Bij Kunst (EHBK), De Peper also serves as a meeting place for people working in, or visiting, the building. De Peper crew are always happy to provide information about the events that are going on.

Winston Kingdom Club

The ultra-hip Winston’s on the Warmoesstraat is now even cooler.

With music nightly to feed your soul, this is one of Amsterdam’s favorite places that is blessed with amazing style!

Music or fun every night of the week!

Funky rooms & hostel dorms in budget property.

Vondelpark Openluchttheater

Open air venue in the Vondel Park. What makes this place truly hip is the location in Amsterdam’s most beautiful park. Bleachers surround this tent-covered stage which offers a host of events – mostly Dutch for the locals. Sometimes the music is great, and you can enjoy a drink or snack from the vendors nearby. Free admission. Open summers only.

North Sea Jazz Festival

Unlike other popular forms of music, Jazz seems to cut across all boundaries, attracting fans without age, race or class distinctions. This was evident from the diverse and enormous crowd that showed up for the 26th North Sea Jazz Festival. The two traits this seemingly unrelated mass of humanity share is a discerning taste in music and a certain knowing twinkle in their eyes, perhaps reflecting some kind of inner at-tune-ment with the essence of jazz.

At the North Sea Jazz Festival, the audience is indeed part of the show. And the lineup of world class jazz, blues, rock, fusion musicians is unmatched anywhere. Friday’s the big opening night and usually showcases the biggest talents. We were not disappointed by the line-up which included George Benson, Herbie Hancock and Van Morrison to name a few.

However the highlight of the evening (for me) was the brilliant set by The Art of Four in the smaller Jan Steenzaal. Featuring Donald Harrison on sax, James Williams on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Billy Cobham tearing up the drums. These veterans showed their stuff on such great tunes as “Alter Ego”, which combined simultaneous tempo and key changes which “altered” the mood time and again.

Herbie Hancock’s Electric Group even included a DJ, which kept the music hopping while a psychedelic light show played from a computer. Herbie noted that certain sounds could be coming from electronic keyboards, a computer, sampled sounds or a vinyl record. His cacophonic yet joyful music made it pointless to try to discern the origin of each note.

George Benson, as always the consummate performer, played many of his hits including Give Me The Night and Turn Your Love Around. I’ve always admired George, not just as a great jazz guitarist, but also as a fine, yet humble person with such a strong belief in the human spirit that clearly permeates his art. He and his music always provide an uplifting experience, and this was certainly the case at the festival.

The number of food and merchandising booths at the festival is amazing. From nasi to tacos, drums to saxophones it seemed like anything remotely related to jazz was available for sale. I was enticed by some souvenirs of the event, and I must commend the management for keeping the vendor scene cool and not a sour note.

Originall held in Amsterdam many years ago, it went to a venue in Den Haag, which quickly became overcrowded. Now the event is held in Rotterdam at the Ahoy, a massive complex.