Where to find arthouse and foreign films in Amsterdam
It’s not difficult to find the latest Hollywood blockbuster movies in the Netherlands, but where do you go if you want to enjoy films that fall outside of the mainstream?
Perhaps a movie was released in your home country and you’d like to take some friends to see it. Or maybe you like independent movies and the classics more than modern commercial films. You’re in luck, because Amsterdam has cinemas that caters to many different tastes.
Arthouse and independent cinemas in the Dutch capital
Arthouse and independent cinemas in the Netherlands are usually referred to as filmhuizen in Dutch. If you are a frequent moviegoer and love international films and indie cinema, signing up for a Cineville pass gives you discounted access to all 39 arthouse movie theatres in the Netherlands that are connected to the platform.
These are the most popular filmhuizen in Amsterdam:
Filmhuis Cavia is a non-profit organisation that has been showing films for more than 30 years at a special location in Amsterdam West. They’re located in the former Princess Beatrix boarding school, founded in 1983 by a group of squatters. If you like cozy and intimate movie theatres, this is your place. With only 40 seats, it’s the smallest cinema in Amsterdam. During the summer they organise outdoor screenings at various locations in Amsterdam West.
Van Hallstraat 52-I
1051 HH Amsterdam
Cinecenter is an independent arthouse cinema with an intimate atmosphere in the centre of Amsterdam. Here you can find the latest quality films from France, Italy, Spain, the UK, South America and independent American producers. If you enjoy unique and modern interior design, this is one cinema you shouldn’t miss. Each of the four theatres has a different visual theme.
1017 PH Amsterdam
De Balie is an important platform and centre for freedom of speech and contemporary art, politics, culture, cinema and media, situated near the Leidseplein in the heart of Amsterdam. Through talk shows, cinema, art, debates and theatre, De Balie mixes several points of view in a forward, democratic and creative fashion.
Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10
1017 RR Amsterdam
Filmhallen is the newest cinema in Amsterdam and is a sister location of the Movies, Amsterdam’s oldest movie theatre. With nine theatres, Filmhallen is one of the larger cinemas in Amsterdam and it offers a wide variety of screenings, including documentaries and family-friendly fare.
Hannie Dankbaarpassage 12
1053 RT Amsterdam
Theater De Omval was established in 1996 in the eye-catching building by Dutch architect Sjoerd Soeters. It has served as the cultural heart of Diemen for many years now with a multi-disciplinary programme for all ages.
1111 HL Diemen
De Uitkijk is located in the heart of Amsterdam on the Prinsengracht and is the oldest movie theatre in the Netherlands. Its origins date back to 1912, when an old warehouse was transformed into the City Bioscoop, a cinema exclusively for the elite. In 1929 it was renamed De Uitkijk and was the focus shifted to offering quality culture to everyone instead of just entertainment and just serving the rich, and that attitude holds true to this day.
Filmtheater De Uitkijk
1017 KE Amsterdam
EYE calls itself the national museum for film and is housed in the impressive white building on Amsterdam’s IJ harbour in Amsterdam Noord. It houses more than 40.000 films of all genres, but isn’t just focused on the past. It also closely follows the latest developments in film by organising new acquisitions, programmes and debates.
1031 KT Amsterdam
Filmhuis Griffioen is part of a culture centre connected to the Vrije Universiteit and has screenings of recent hits, classics, documentaries and forgotten pearls of cinema. Shows are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
1183 AM Amstelveen
Located in Westerpark as part of the Westergasfabriek, Het Ketelhuis was founded in 1999 and calls itself the house of Dutch film. In addition to movies produced in the Netherlands, you will find lots of quality European arthouse films here, along with the better American documentaries. Also lots of offerings for children and families.
Bioscoop Het Ketelhuis
1014 DB Amsterdam
Kriterion was founded in 1945 to enable students to finance their study and that unique concept survives to this day. It’s non-hierarchical organisation run entirely by students. The screenings focus on edgy arthouse films, Oscar and Palme d’Or nominations and ground-breaking documentaries.
1018 WE Amsterdam
Formerly known as the Smart Project Space, LAB is a home for filmmakers and enthusiasts, a café for gourmets and local residents. The film programme includes many animated feature films and unconventional documentaries that defy the traditional genres. It has a special “Expat Cinema” that features recent foreign films with English subtitles.
Arie Biemondstraat 111
1054 PD Amsterdam
Melkweg Cinema is part of one of Amsterdam’s most popular venues, located next to Leidseplein. The cinema is across the street from the concert venue. It’s an independent movie theatre that focuses on unique music documentaries and films. It’s a great place to discover gems you’ve never heard of!
1017 PH Amsterdam
Rialto describes itself as the movie theatre for the Amsterdam world citizen, which is a pretty accurate reflection of the types of films it offers. Founded in 1982, here you will find non-Western films rarely seen in the Netherlands. It’s also the organisation behind the annual World Cinema Amsterdam summer festival.
1072 GN Amsterdam
Located in the eastern part of the city on Timorplein, Studio/K combines a cinema, café/restaurant and music events. The movie theatre offers a blend of popular films and better known arthouse stuff. Here you’ll find a cosy, homely atmosphere, and they don’t mind if you watch the movie with a plate of food in your lap!
1094 CC Amsterdam
The Movies is located on the popular Haarlemmerdijk close to the city centre and is Amsterdam’s oldest cinema. Founded in 1912, it was first called Bioscoop Tavenu and later Cinema Hollandia. During WWII it functioned as a neighbourhood cinema. While it has modern equipment, they have kept the vintage feel intact thanks to its original and beautiful art deco interior. Here you’ll find a mix of arthouse films, independent movies and some Hollywood blockbusters.
1013 KH Amsterdam
Other local favourites
These are not affiliated with Cineville but they are excellent nonetheless.
Theater de Roode Bioscoop
Theater de Roode Bioscoop opened its doors in 1913 and in the beginning only showed socialist propaganda films. Through the years it saw many different occupants and served various functions (it was not a cinema the whole time), which has given the building a rich history and a great atmosphere.
Theater de Roode Bioscoop
1013 HP Amsterdam
De Nieuwe Anita
De Nieuwe Anita is a very cozy café and cultural space in Amsterdam West by the Hugo de Grootplein. Film screenings are usually held on Monday evenings (Cinemanita), and they serve excellent vegetarian cooking for next to nothing. In the weekends you can catch local and traveling indie rock bands and other music acts. Lots of Subbacultcha! events here as well.
De Nieuwe Anita
Frederik Hendrikstraat 111
1052 HN Amsterdam
OT301 is a cultural centre that offers many different types of events, and on the top floor you’ll find its cinema. This former film academy was squatted in 1999 and since then has played an invaluable role in the Amsterdam cultural landscape. With events for young an old, this is a great venue for more experimental music and boundary-pushing acts.
1054 HW Amsterdam
Discover the real undergound film scene
There is also a more underground film society that organises screenings of rare and forgotten movies (always in English or with subtitles) in different unique locations across Amsterdam, several times per week.
It’s quite popular but you have to ask permission in person to join the mailing list that announces the movie nights. Your best chance is to check out de Nieuwe Anita screenings on Monday nights or one of the Sunday night screenings at OT301, there you can learn more. You will know that you found the right person when you meet him.