The Leidseplein is one of the liveliest and most bustling squares in Amsterdam, made famous by its music venues, theatres and nightlife.
The square was originally built in the 17th Century as a storage area for farmers and other traders, where carts and goods could be kept before moving them to markets within Amsterdam. Since its humble beginnings, the area has transformed into a dynamic and busy place, with plenty on offer for tourists and locals alike.
The Leidseplein boasts the historic Stadsschouwburg theatre which offers a vast array of shows, including plays performed by the influential Theatre Group Amsterdam. After the original building was constructed in 1774, a firework accident caused a furious fire that damaged the theatre beyond repair. Since then, the building has been reconstructed on two separate occasions, resulting in the majestic structure built in 1894 that we see today.
If you enjoy comedy then the Boom Chicago Group, housed in the Leidseplein theatre, put on a performance worth seeing. Each night, they put on a comical routine in English, often composed of improvised sketches and games. American comedians are brought over to Amsterdam to perform, and the audience is seated at tables throughout the performances.
The theatres are not the only famous attractions that reside within the Leidseplein. Famous music venues also draw tourists to the square, particularly the Paradiso – one of the most famous clubs in Amsterdam. Paradiso has hosted bands as prominent as the Rolling Stones, with Keith Richards describing the gigs the band played there as the "best live shows the Stones ever did". Set inside an old church, there is music to cater for almost every taste, from heavy rock through to classical recitals and even the odd lecture.
In addition to the theatres and music venues, there is a huge selection of restaurants, night clubs and bars. Such a hive of activity attracts a wealth of street entertainers, fire-eaters and musicians.
However, it is worth noting that the square can get very busy, especially during the evenings where tourists and locals alike flock to the square for its famous nightlife. Be warned that this can result in a slightly rowdy atmosphere within the early hours of the morning, as people exit the clubs after having more than a little to drink.
The Leidseplein is also very close to the Vondelpark, one of Amsterdam's largest parks, measuring at over 120 acres. It is renowned for its landscaping and open air theatre, and so may be worthy of a visit if you fancy a break from the hustle and bustle of the square.
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