With Amsterdam’s quirky range of art film cinemas, you’ll find classics, documentaries, short films, animations, independent films, and world cinema to choose from on a rainy day.
What to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam? Are you tired of museums and coffee shops? A fun thing to do in Amsterdam is to see a film at one of Amsterdam’s art house film cinemas. These film theatres are generally cheap (around or less than EUR 10) and are located at interesting venues.
Art film houses in Amsterdam are called filmhuizen (film houses). The movies they screen vary from classic classics to modern day classics, documentaries, short films, animations and world cinema.
In Holland, English films are always subtitled and never dubbed. You only have to make sure the language of the subtitles is in English if the film is in any other language besides English.
Subtitles in Dutch cinemas
Dutch films do not have English subtitles (in general), so you can’t see those if you don’t understand Dutch.
New EYE Film Institute Netherlands across the IJ water in Amsterdam. Design by the Vienna office of Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, opened in 2012.
De Melkweg (Milky way) at Leidseplein is a cultural hub with two main stages for live pop/ rock music. The building is an old milk factory that was squatted in the 1970s by a theatre group. It quickly turned into a youth centre. Nowadays it’s one of Amsterdam’s most famous clubs.
But besides concerts and club nights, Melkweg has a nice bar and good restaurant with friendly prices, an interesting art gallery, regular dance productions and an art house cinema for mostly independent movie house films.
Films at Melkweg cinema start in the evenings and night time, every day of the week.
De Balie is another cultural centre located at Leidseplein, but more politically correct in a building that suits them: a former courthouse. There are three halls to fill with debates, seminars, theatre and film, all specifically aimed at ‘opening up debate’ on social, political and cultural matters.
Often films at The Balie are followed by a discussion (usually in English). Cinema and discussion at 20.00, and there’s an outside terrace, bar, restaurant and free WiFi.
Inside the new EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam
Het Ketelhuis (‘kettle house’) started out as a cinema for Dutch children films, but has turned into a full art house cinema. Focus is still on Dutch films though (no subtitling in English).
Het Ketelhuis also programs political film debates, get-togethers from the Dutch Film scene and dance nights. It’s located at Westergasfabriek. Dinner is served as well.
The Amsterdam film theatre Rialto near Sarphatipark at Ceintuurbaan has been screening films since 1921. Rialto has a preference for European and independent art house films.
Occasionally, special guests introduce the film or there’s an interview or afterparty. THere’s also three rooms and a bar with wifi. Films are (slightly) cheaper during the week than on weekends.
Certainly the Uitkijk is the most romantic theatre to watch a film. It’s located near Leidseplein, but hardly noticeable from the outside. Inside, a lovely 1920s avant garde décor puts you right in the mood.
Film theatre De Uitkijk is managed by students. De Uitkijk screens independent film house movies, from classics such as Rambo: First Blood and North by Northwest to commercial Iranian fiction.
The Movies at Haarlemmerdijk is Amsterdam’s oldest movie theatre with a lovely art deco interior.
At The Movies there is always something interesting to watch. It screens new films from directors like Lars von Trier, Pedro Almodovar, Woody Allen and Wim Wenders.
From Sunday to Thursday there is a special movie dinner menu (just under EUR 25, including a film ticket).
Smart Cinema is located in an old laboratory in Old-West (Oud-West) that was grimly used as a pathology lab (lab 111). The cinema has multiple rooms and is not frequented very often, so you stand the chance to watch the film with just you and your company.
Pathology Lab lamps at SMART cinema
At SMART Cinema there is a slick restaurant/bar with some details taken from the pathology lab (the lamps!), and there are regular art exhibitions.
Kriterion, student movie house and bar, is located across University of Amsterdam at Roetersstraat.
Kriterion organises regular entertainment specials for nice prices, such as the always surprising ‘Sneak Preview’ every Tuesday (22.15, EUR 5) and ‘Film e Pizza’ on Wednesday for around EUR 13.
Cinema, restaurant and club Studio K is located in the East of Amsterdam (Timorplein) and is run by the same student organisation as Kriterion.
Studio/K opened its door in 2007 but has proved its success already, popular among students. Check calender for films.
Filmhuis Cavia is a very, very low budget art film house where you can pay around EUR 5 to watch a film.
Every Tuesday night a guest introduces a rarely screened cult classic: nouvelle vague, kitchen sink, silent film, experimental, Russian montage, japanese jondage. Everything is possible at Amsterdams alternative film house Cavia. Located at Van Halllstraat (near Westergasterrein).
Amsterdam squatters hub OT301 has a 76-seat cinema as well, screening independent/activist documentaries and fictional works ranging from cult to queer to classics for around EUR 5, usually on Tuesdays and Saturdays (check their calender).
Reprinted with permission of What’s up with Amsterdam.
What’s up with Amsterdam guides tourists and expats towards the hidden gems of Amsterdam. Find budget friendly things to do and see, check up on upcoming events or get closer to the underground scene of Amsterdam: What’s up with Amsterdam keeps you posted.
Photo credit: Bart Everson (film strip head/hot photo).