A night out can start off at a multitude of places, but why make things difficult when they can be easy? As soon as you leave your lecture on campus, there is the easy option of heading straight over to the student café In de Smitse. I might be biased due to a few amusing years tapping beers there, but cheaper beer – a glass costs a mere €1.50 – is something you simply won’t find anywhere else. On account of the affordable prices and the location, you almost always run into fellow students or other people you know. If De Smitse reminds you too much of the coursework you still have to do, Concordia, the pubs around Oostplein, or the pubs at the old port are classic fallback options to get your evening off to a good start.

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Techno or nineties

So much for the warm-up, because the city has a lot more to offer than the classic student bubbles. Starting with two hotspots in the centre, the Witte de Withstraat, where there is always something going on. For starters, packed outdoor cafés are found at places like the Witte Aap, Wunderbar or the Zwarte Schaap, although the Witte de With is also the place to be for parties.

Personally, pre-corona, I preferred the small-scale techno parties at WORM to the nineties tracks at Supermercado, but there is nevertheless definitely something for everyone. Don’t forget the area around Eendrachtsplein: slightly less chaotic than Witte de With but not any less fun. Cheap pizza at Stalles on the Nieuwe Binnenweg followed by a party or a gig at Rotown, Bar3, or Vibes are all an instant recipe for a great night out.

Switch your brain off

MONO, een paar dagen voor de eerste lockdown in 2020.
MONO, a few days before the first lockdown in 2020.

On to the next nightlife area, the Stadhuisplein. To be frank, it often seems a bit tragic. People who are just a bit too drunk, aimless groups of friends who are stranded there out of desperation – it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. That does not mean that you can’t have a good time there. The Skihut can be fantastic, as long as you switch your brain off and can bear the DJ’s debauched one-liners – I remember clearly how he once bellowed “Fingering is allowed!” through the place at full volume. Long story short, it’s all a bit embarrassing if you happen to arrive sober.

Also, cafés on the Stadhuisplein regularly host parties organised by study associations, which are always worthwhile if you’re going out with a group of your student mates. Personally, I’d skip Thalia, unless you’re a fan of groups of young people snapchatting about how a bottle of Grey Goose is served with kids’ fireworks.

Straight from Berlin

While Stadhuisplein is the place where you’ll mostly be having a good time in an inebriated state, the Schieblock near the Hofplein is where things tend to get sociable a lot more quickly. This converted office block has been a great place to go out for a number of years now. You can spend entire summers on the outdoor terraces of the Biergarten or Annabel. The latter has a party every weekend that goes on late into the night, such as the Hitfabriek or Tijdcapsule parties. The themes vary, but it always ends up as a crowded club that parties on late into the night.

For a good night of raucous techno, head next door to Perron, a place that appears to import its line-up straight from Berlin. You’re bound to lose your friends in the chaos and have a hangover for two days, but chances are that the ridiculously fun night will be well worth it.