Top open-air cinemas in the Netherlands
Outdoor cinemas are popping up left, right and centre in the Netherlands, and summer nights are the perfect time to enjoy them. A palace garden, a beach, an underpass, a rooftop terrace... outdoor cinemas can potentially operate anywhere! From film festivals to outdoor movie series offered by arthouse cinemas and cultural centres, you’ll find many shapes and forms of open-air cinemas in the Netherlands.
From thought-provoking documentaries to cheesy rom-coms, there’s something for everyone. Open-air cinema season runs right up until September, so there's no need to feel the FOMO if you plan on being away for the summer!
Photo credit: Hans Mooren, courtesy of Bijlmerbios
Popular open-air cinemas in the Netherlands
Here are some of the most popular open-air cinemas in the Netherlands this summer. Don’t forget your picnic basket!
May / June to September
Take a look at these open-air cinemas that run throughout the months of June, July and August - and in some cases, September.
Films with a View | Sun Screenings at Pllek, Amsterdam
Every Tuesday evening from May to September, films are shown at Pllek, the outdoor urban beach bar in Amsterdam. All films are either in English or their original language with English subtitles. Films begin at dusk, so keep an eye on the website for the exact times. There’s no need to book a seat, but there’s a small fee to rent headphones.
The weather is taken into account and it is decided each Tuesday morning whether the film screening will go ahead that evening, so be sure to keep an eye on Pllek's social media accounts or website on the day of your screening.
Photo credit: Marlise Steenman, courtesy of Pllek
Rooftop Movie Nights, Amsterdam
There’s nothing like combining a night at the movies with breathtaking panoramic city views from the top of a roof terrace. Rooftop Movie Nights runs from June until the end of August, showing movies on different rooftops in Amsterdam, with comfy beanbags to make you feel at home!
Rooftop Cinema at Pathé Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht
At the Pathé Leidsche Rijn Rooftop Cinema cinema in Utrecht, you can watch the latest films under the stars! Treat yourself to the usual trappings of cinema visits: perhaps a massive vat of popcorn, a humongous bag of M&Ms and whatever else you fancy!
August is the month of the most prolific outdoor movie events in Dutch cities. Here are the outdoor cinemas showing films in August:
World Cinema Amsterdam
World Cinema Amsterdam is an annual film festival, focusing on movies from Latin America, the Caribbean Islands, Asia and Africa. Showcasing a wealth of independent films from these countries, it is a special kind of film festival - not to be missed. And, since the open-air part of the event is free, there's absolutely no excuse not to go!
Taking place from August 22 to 27, with film premieres being shown at the Rialto cinema, World Cinema Amsterdam is famous for its open-air screenings at Marie Heinekenplein, Tropen Courtyard at Oosterpark and Vondelpark Open Air Theatre.
Pleinbioscoop Rotterdam is the ultimate urban outdoor cinema, going strong since 1987. For multiple summer nights in August, Pleinbioscoop Rotterdam gathers crowds of movie lovers at Museum Park in the heart of the city. You can rent a chair for 1 euro or bring your own chair, beanbag or rug for free. So, if you’re in Rotterdam this summer, you’d be crazy to miss this!
Pluk de Nacht, Amsterdam & Utrecht
Pluk de Nacht outdoor film festival is the biggest film festival that operates solely outdoors. It doesn't just focus on one genre or film style in particular, but rather, a mix of anything from romantic comedies and cult classics to blockbuster action and independent documentaries. Attend Pluk de Nacht (Seize the Night) in two Dutch cities - Utrecht and Amsterdam - this summer.
Cinema Soestdijk, Palace Soestdijk
At the former palace of the Dutch Royal Family, you can watch films in the luscious palace gardens during August and September, organised by Soestdijk Palace and Nederlands Film Festival. The palace was home to Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard for over six decades and now it's open to the public as a cultural melting pot.
Photo credit: Paleis Soestdijk
Ever since 2015, Bijlmerbios has been attracting crowds to watch films down under Kraaiennest metro station. For three evenings towards the end of the season, the usually mundane metro station underpass is turned into a giant living room where hundreds of people enjoy films together.
Bijlmerbios was voted as one of the most special open-air cinemas in the world by American Express Essentials.
Photo credit: Hans Mooren, courtesy of Bijlmerbios
The days may be getting shorter, but that doesn't mean that outdoor cinema season is over just yet. Catch a movie at these open-air cinemas operating in September:
West Beach Film Festival, Amsterdam
West Beach Film Festival is a free open-air cinema, showing films on several days in Amsterdam’s New West neighbourhood where you can enjoy a film for free on the waterfront at Sloterstrand. Get there easily via public transportation: you can take tram 7 or 13; or bus 69.
As well as films, there’s also music, activities for children and snacks from food trucks. There’s no need to book, seats are on a first-come-first-served basis, so don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this great night out at the movies!
Enjoy outdoor cinema this summer
You'll be spoiled for choice this summer, what with so many outdoor cinema options. Whether you like urban cinemas, a trip to the palace, a chilled beach or simply a decent open-air film experience regardless of the location, you're in for a treat!
And if you miss out, don't worry - the Netherlands has plenty of cinemas and movie theatres that you can attend at any time of year, whatever the weather!
Photo credit: Humanity House, The Hague