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Leisure & study in Amsterdam

When you study and live in Amsterdam, you might want to spend your spare time to do sports, enjoy the cultural offerings, go shopping, enjoy the nightlife or spend time in nature. For newcomers to Amsterdam, it’s nice to be able to get a feel for where you can go. There is a lot to do in Amsterdam and in time you will find your own way, but you on this page we will help you get started!


For a good overview of cultural venues, click on The Musicians Guide to Amsterdam (made by CvA students).

Sports in Amsterdam

Where can you play sports at low cost?

USC – sports centre for Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) and Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) students

Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA) students can enjoy sports at the USC sports centre at a low cost. The USC is a sports centre especially for students of the UvA and HvA. The rates at the USC are affordable, but the quality is excellent, and they offer a wide range of sports. USC is affiliated with the branch association NL Actief and the Royal Dutch Strength & Fitness Association (KNKF).

Of course, there are many other possibilities for exercising in Amsterdam.  

  • Sports in Amsterdam – here you can find an overview of swimming pools and public sports facilities

  • NL Actief – a website (only available in Dutch) where you can search for gyms within your own neighborhood. Check with local gyms to find out if they have discounts for students. Often that’s the case!

Running and cycling in Amsterdam

Do you like to go for a run? On the municipal website you’ll find a number of marked running routes where you can go wild on your own or together. More interested in a training programme? Then these are a few of the possibilities (information only available in Dutch): 

If you want to take part in competitions, then check out the calendar with running events in Amsterdam (information in Dutch)!  

Would you rather go cycling? 


Parks & Sport

In Amsterdam there are no fewer than 33 parks where you can do sports and relax. 

Arts & Culture in Amsterdam

Culture at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (AHK)

Agenda Conservatorium van Amsterdam
The CvA only lists events organized by the conservatory itself. For information about projects organized by external parties in our halls, please contact the organizer in question.

Looking for a specific CvA programme? Then click on one of the following links: Classical | Jazz | Pop

Concert venues of Amsterdam

In Amsterdam you can go to concerts and live music every day. From mega concerts and music events to international musicians on world-class stages. Or opt for one of the many intimate live performances on the smaller stages. On the website you’ll find all the upcoming events in Amsterdam.

Classical music
Amsterdam is the place to be for all kinds of classical music, from Renaissance to contemporary works. Well-known locations include the Royal Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, old churches and other unique venues. On you will find an overview of upcoming and returning classical concerts and events in Amsterdam.

Opera fans will be in for a treat in Amsterdam. The city is home to De Nationale Opera, based in the Nationale Opera & Ballet (formerly known as Het Muziektheater). Various opera performances also take place at The Royal Concertgebouw and Royal Theater Carré, and in addition, there are special events in churches and the open air.

Jazz, Blues & World Music
Jazz lovers are sure to find their niche in Amsterdam – one of the best jazz cities in Europe. World-famous events have put the Netherlands on the map as the place to go for jazz, blues and world music. Amsterdam has a reputation to uphold when it comes to legendary live performances at attractive jazz venues such as the Bimhuis, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, North Sea Jazz Club, Café Alto and the Cotton Club.

Pop & Rock

Amsterdam breathes live music and bands love performing in Amsterdam, so you can find great music anytime, anywhere in the city. Check out your favourite band or discover great new artists at popular venues such as Paradiso, Bitterzoet and Melkweg. Do you enjoy concerts where you are part of a big crowd? Then AFAS Live, Ziggo Dome and Johan Cruijff Arena are the venues to be.  

Festivals & Events

Cultural and Culinary Festivals & Events
Amsterdam provides the setting for hundreds of festivals each year. Don’t just think big dance festivals because they come in all shapes and sizes. Internationally renowned festivals such as the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam: IDFA, the Amsterdam Light Festival and Amsterdam Pride attract large audiences. The many culinary festivals offer delicious snacks and drinks. Culture lovers will enjoy film, dance, music and theatre at Amsterdam’s cultural festivals. Find your favourite festivals here.

Overview of cultural venues

Amsterdam boasts one of the largest cultural offerings in the world. There are hundreds of clubs, theatres, museums, music venues and cinemas to be found in the city. An overview of Amsterdam’s cultural spots:

Discounts with your student card

With your student card you do not only have access to the facilities of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. You can also get a nice discount on the admission prices of a lot of cultural locations by showing your student card. Often you can even get discounts at several stores, hairdressers, restaurants and cafes. So make sure you always have your student card with you! 

On (only available in Dutch) you will find a wide range of categories where you can get a discount by showing your student card.  

Leisure time in Amsterdam

Going out

There are no fewer than 1,150 restaurants and 1,515 bars and cafés in Amsterdam. But what are the hippest hotspots? Where do you have the best views? And which restaurants are suitable for a small budget? From Michelin star restaurants to the most delicious comfort food and special beers; you’ll find them on’s restaurant overview

But of course, we’ve also found a few other lists that are perfect for a student’s budget:


With more than 5,500 stores in Amsterdam, you could visit 4 stores every day in four years of study without going to the same store twice. In short, you could possibly use some help with that. For a complete overview of shopping areas, shopping malls, or just those little speciality shops, check out’s shopping overview. You’ll find the best stop-off points, but also a complete overview of all the stores in Amsterdam. Also good to know:


Forests, parks and beaches in Amsterdam

Want to get away from the traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city? Then head off to one of Amsterdam’s nature reserves. From cosy hang-outs like the Vondelpark and the Westerpark to the spacious Amsterdamse Bos with a real goat farm.