Everything You Need to Do in Amsterdam This Fall

Published On 10/07/2016 Published On 10/07/2016
KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival
KLIK Festival Afterparty | KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival

Although summer’s over, it’s not time to go into hibernation yet. We might party the hardest in the warmer months, but as you’ll quickly learn from our incredibly easy-to-use guide, the arrival of autumn hardly slows us down. From beer tastings and art exhibitions, to dance classes, and well, more beer tasting... you’ll have plenty to do this fall season.

"Dream Out Loud" exhibition | Stedelijk

Watch designers try to fix the future

This year’s “Dream Out Loud” exhibition at Amsterdam’s premier modern art museum, the Stedelijk (running until January 1st), wound up with an accidental theme: design a better, more sustainable world. That’s not what the organizers asked entrants for, but that’s what was submitted. Again and again. So, after some deliberation, they decided to run with it. After all, what’s more Amsterdam than trying to out-socially conscious your fellow artists?

See cheap but excellent improv

At €10 for a full night of entertainment (that’s two whole shows, at least one by the regular Easylaughs crew), Easylaughs’ Friday shows are a hell of a lot cheaper than Boom Chicago, but no less funny. Plus, here they’ll pass on their knowledge: want to learn the art of improv yourself? There are workshops every Sunday -- as well as regular courses at all levels.

Fruittuin van West

Go and pick your own fruit salad

Sure, apple picking is big here, but there are tons more fruits, nuts, and other foods ripe for the plucking in this orchard -- not to mention just lying around town. At the Fruittuin van West, pick pears and apples and get them made into juice on the spot; or wait for the announcements of the harvest times for the “rarer” fruits like cranberries, mini sweet corn, and 18 other types of edible plants. There are also a ton of smaller plants -- from rosemary to chestnuts to elderberries -- free for the picking all over town. This handy map shows you what and where (plants are named in Dutch).

Get to know Ms. Monroe

You know someone is the ultimate icon when the whole city starts buzzing about her 90th birthday. And to properly celebrate Marilyn’s life, one of the city’s most spectacular settings -- De Nieuwe Kerk -- is dragging out all her old dirty laundry (OK, it’s probably been cleaned by now), as well as other personal items, photos, and film clips exploring her life on, and off camera.


Become art. Really crazy art.

Looking for an alternative to the usual ADE action? Check out an audio-visual event at the Compagnietheater (October 19th-22nd) that will blow your mind without breaking the bank (it’s totally free). At the ADE Sound Lab presents NAIVI: Reflections on Feedback installation, lasers and sounds interact, playing off of each other and offering a different display at every angle. Just walk (or dance) through and enjoy the show.

Check out an animation festival

For six days (October 25th-30th), during the KLIK! Animation Festival, Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum is the place for fans of hand- or computer-drawn (or even claymated) ‘toons. While there’s plenty of stuff for the youngsters, this is far from a children’s festival... as films like Canadian entry “The Clitoris” will attest. Check out the shorts “Cosmos Laundromat: First Cycle,” “Caminandes: Llamigos,” and “Glass Half” to give the Amsterdam-based Blender Institute a little local love. There’s also a competition element, masterclasses, parties, and all the other trappings of a good film festival happening.

Amsterdam Spook

Have a horrific Halloween

The Halloween scene in Amsterdam grows larger and larger every year. The original (and our favorite) fest is the Amsterdam Spook Halloween Festival, culminating in a huge party at Hotel Arena. The theme this year? “Dead Space.” Amsterdam’s other biggest Halloween party won’t be kicked off by its (in)famous parade this year, but it will still get you dancing all over the Westerunie in superhero style. There’s also no shortage of parties on October 29th (AlphaBet Club, Gs Brunch Boat, and others). However, if Halloween means horror movies to you, then one of Mr. Horror’s all-night movie marathons at the Tushinski will get your heart pounding and blood curdling in all the right ways.

Sample the new brews of the season

The PINT Bokbierfestival, the biggest beer festival in the Netherlands, is back in the Beurs van Berlage for its 38th outing with more fall-friendly, German-style bok beer than you can feasibly drink.

Storytelling Festival Amsterdam

Have an adult storytime session

Storytelling has surprised everyone by suddenly becoming one of the coolest in-the-know things to do in Amsterdam. Check it out for yourself when The International Storytelling Festival puts on its ninth edition (with tons of English-language tales from international talents) from October 29th through November 6th. The regular Friday evening storytelling (and comedy and music) events at Mezrab are even more popular (that soup!).

Learn to swing dance

Amsterdam still likes to jam like it’s the ‘20s or ‘30s, and at SwingStreet’s weekly Wednesday classes you can learn all the moves. Once you’ve got the basic steps down, try them out on the dance floor at the weekly Tuesday (Tolhuistuin) and Friday (Kompaszaal) socials.

The American Book Center

Hobnob with local authors

Autumn is ideal for book lovers as it’s a great time to huddle up into a cozy corner. And if you’re looking for something local, you need someone in the know to clue you in. That someone is ABC (as in, the American Book Center). Their regular book-launch events feature one to three local authors at a time presenting and reading from their books, covering all genres from history and art to romance and science-fiction novels. And there might be free wine, too. Of course, if you’ve got a writing bug of your own, NaNoWriMo is coming up...

Sample free wine

Each Open Bottle night at Wijnkoperij de Hermitage, the first Saturday of every month, has a different theme that will focus on regions, grapes, “weird wines,” etc., and it doesn’t cost a thing to get in the door. But fair warning: there’s no way you’re walking out with empty hands. Owner Sander Salburg is standing by for questions and will absolutely make sure you’re taking home a bottle you’ll love.


Go old-school Greek (in modern clothes)

Antigone, history’s second-oldest classical play (and the sequel to Oedipus, so you know it’s messed up) about one rebellious chick is back. This time in the Compagnietheater (running November 4th & 25th). Expect drama from the culture that invented it with a modern style makeover. In English. Black London-inspired garb makes that infamous Greek chorus of hisses and malice all the more ominous.

Explore the cosmos (and don’t forget to bring a towel)

If you’re doing Museum N8 this year (November 7th), do yourself a favor on don’t miss the Artis Planetarium show. The show will be in Dutch, but no one is listening to the talking stuff anyway as you don’t need language to lose yourself while plunging into the myriad galaxies across the universe. This year’s theme uses The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a launching point to explore the edges of the universe.

Flickr/Michell Zappa

Pound candy

No, this isn’t a Halloween thing. It’s time for Sinterklaas, aka Santa Claus: The Original, to come back to town. Dressed up like a Cardinal, riding a white horse on a steamboat, Sint pulls into Amsterdam on November 13th next to the Maritime Museum, and then parades around town. He might not look as jolly as his Coca-Cola-designed counterpart, but the controversially clad “Black Petes” who come with him come packin’ a LOT of cookie and candy heat. And there’s no age limit to collect it during the arrival parade!

Winners of the IDFA 2015 | IDFA

Get woke at the world’s largest documentary film festival

The king of all documentary festivals everywhere -- IDFA -- offers at least dozens of cinematic non-fiction explorations of life, the universe, and everything to take your pick from (from shorts to features). This year’s theme, line-up, and everything else will be revealed the first week in November. But the dates are set already: November 16th-27th.

Explore your sense of smell

If you’ve got a strong sense of smell, Mediamatic’s olfactory tour of the world of fragrances on December 1st could be your heaven -- or your hell. Not your thing? No worries, this place’s got a full program of weird and wonderful crap (or urine, in the case of one upcoming workshop), including an ongoing series on fermenting things (vinegar, cabbage, cider, whatever) and growing different types of mushrooms (yeah, that type, too).

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Elysia Brenner is a freelance writer, editor, and translator in Amsterdam who just basically shared her calendar for the next two months with you. See you there.



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