By Alexander Nasse
Hey comedians traveling through our little country! We get a lot of the same questions on this group, I thought it might be handy to have some documents for all of you who are looking to perform here, along with some stuff you might want to know about the scene and our country in general. Gives you something to read on the airplane, Eurostar or ICE International too, maybe 🙂
Let me start with helping a major misconception out of the way that could save you tons of money and help you get tons of stage time. We’re a small country with a thriving and relative new comedy scene popping up all over the place. Especially if you work and live in a metropolis like London, Berlin, New Delhi, or Los Angeles, consider that you can get to far ends of our country by public transport in a time it would take you to get from one part of town to another back home. Treat our country like one metropolis and you’re grabbing way more stage time than you would just staying in Amsterdam. So, first and formost:
Amsterdam is not The Netherlands and The Netherlands is not Amsterdam
Assuming you’ve already been rooting around the Amsterdam scene on Facebook, let me try to convince you to get on a train to different places. The pull of an internationally known city like Amsterdam is totally understandable, but if you limit yourself to the city of canals, you’re simply missing out. International (English language) comedy is booming all over our country. 90% of Dutch people speak fluent English, plus we’re a country full of internationals from expats to students. There’s dozens of nights in other cities.
Also, with the Amsterdam municipality cracking down hard on mass tourism in the city, hotel and Airbnb prices are insane. Booking a place in a different city will be as low as half the price, even with train fairs into Amsterdam you’d be cheaper off looking at cities like Haarlem, Zaandam, The Hague and so on, especially if you’re staying for a couple of days.
Currently, these are the top cities for English comedy outside the city you know from the Hangover movie:
By train from Amsterdam: 60 minutes
The country’s second city has a thriving Open Mic scene. There’s Club Haug (famous international comedians perform there), there’s almost weekly shows from Standaard Comedy at multiple locations and a popular show by AOT Events. Just Kidding Comedy hosts an awesome Pro-show in Rotterdam. Other reasons to visit Rotterdam? Hotels are almost half price compared to Amsterdam and it’s an awesome city full of street art, night life and unique architecture.
2. The Hague
By train from Amsterdam: 50 minutes
The third city of NL has not one but two comedy clubs that do shows in English! Check out Comedy City and Bazinga Comedy Club. Like Rotterdam, Just Kidding Comedy has a Pro Show in this city too. There’s also a fun little monthly open mic at Sherlock Holmes pub. On top of that it’s a great city full of historic monuments and museums.
By train from Amsterdam: 25 minutes
This is one of our prominent student cities. There’s the Comedyhuis Club that sometimes books international acts, open mic hosted at Hofman Café by AOT events and a monthly show at Filmcafé by Stephen Bell Comedy. Utrecht is a fun city to visit, great nightlife, tons of good restaurants. Last but very much not least, once a year there’s the massive International Comedy Festival Utrecht at Tivoli Vredenburg.
By train from Amsterdam: 20 minutes
As small as the city of Haarlem is, there’s enough expats to go around and sell tickets to. The proximity to Amsterdam probably helps too. There’s De Dakkas and Hotel Raecks. Haarlem’s worth a small daytrip too. Perks? Almost no tourists around you, a historic city center older than the famous Amsterdam and a great museum (Frans Hals).
5. Wageningen & Ede
By train from Amsterdam: 1h40 minutes
Now these cities might not be number one on tripadvisor, but thanks to the tireless efforts of promotor EEH Productions, the little town of Wageningen with it’s massive international university has really fun, successful comedy nights. Comedy happens monthly at Café Loburg. Ede is a town right next door with with another monthly night that local comedians love going to. Check out Podium Astrant for that one. Totally worth the trip. Things to do and see in Ede and Wageningen? Err… Well, awesome comedy nights. Let’s keep it at that.
6. The rest of the country
There’s so much international comedy popping up that is has become hard to keep track, even for a local comic who’s always looking for more stagetime. But as a quick starter, keep an eye out for cities like Nijmegen (The ‘LYFAO Comedy Nights’ are so crammed with audience members that you won’t believe your eyes), Eindhoven (fun city to visit as well), Groningen (as far as I know one weekly open mic happening now) and Maastricht (conveniently close to Belgium and Germany) all have regular nights. Feel free to shoot me a message on Facebook if I’m missing out some cities and/or nights.
Hope this helps you plan your trip. See you on stage in the Lowlands!