The 5 best places for debate and literature in Amsterdam

1) De Balie

The De Balie debating centre in Leidseplein has been a place for thought-provoking debates on a range of political and cultural topics and arts projects since the early 1980s. De Balie also has a small cinema, a theatre and an informal cafe and restaurant. English programmes are occasionally scheduled as well. 

interior of de Balie debate club

Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10

+31 (0)20 553 51 00

2) Mediamatic

This is a platform for new art and culture that pays special attention to nature and biotechnology. Its headquarters – and greenhouse – are used to connect people from different backgrounds. They organise workshops on hydroponics and the use of mushrooms as biomaterial, as well as lectures and exhibitions by bio-artists and designers. 

Mediamatic in Amsterdam

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3) Perdu

Perdu is run by about 40 volunteers and is all about literature. It’s a literary venue for lectures and debate on literature as well as a poetry book shop. Perdu is also a small publishing house. 

Stichting Perdu

4) Pakhuis de Zwijger

This former pakhuis (warehouse) was built as to store perishables in the thirties. It was squatted after the building had lost its original use. At that time, it was a rehearsal space for musicians such as Herman Brood and Loïs Lane. In 2006, a debating centre opened here, focusing on urban issues and politics, creative or bottom-up initiatives, and innovation. 

conference room at Pakhuis de Zwijger

5) Felix Meritis

The renowned Felix Meritis cultural centre was founded in 1777 by a society of rich citizens. After the war, the Dutch Communist Party moved in and it became a popular destination for avant-garde musicians and theatre makers. An entrepreneur and philanthropist bought the centre after it closed down in 2014. The centre is scheduled to reopen in 2019, after renovations. 

interior at Felix Meritis

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