Amsterdam: Where to find workshops, classes and courses



Amsterdam’s reputation of being open and liberal trickles down all the way to community classes and workshops, and we don’t just mean a trendy yoga class (though that’s common, too). From creative workouts like trapeze class, sports like ping-pong and kite surfing, to an open field of student-run events from debate to open mic, here are three places to check out for workshops, classes and quick courses:

ABC Treehouse

This quaint, artistic hub keeps busy with exhibitions, live readings, and courses varying from one day to once a week. Sharpen your communication skills with a “Say It with confidence!” session, drop in on a beginner’s yoga, or stop by for a book presentation and lecture from the latest upcoming author. The place draws both expats and Dutchies, so poke your head in for a taste of local life.

Tip: The ABC Treehouse is overseen by the ABC Bookstore (located on the nearby Spui), a mega outlet for English books ranging from cheap to average in price.


A former squatter building now revamped into a community center, OT301 is just outside the busy Leidseplein and offers cheap eats, classes and nightly events. De Peper is their “community” café where reservations are made but the organic menu is limited to the daily special priced on a you-call-it scale.

Studios offer modern classes by day, like break dancing for beginners or basic acupressure technique; while live music, cinema and even ping-pong rounds take place at night. Fun and filled with a variety of patrons, stopping by for something different from your average night out is worth the extra walk.

Tip: Try the trapeze workshop for a good workout and new skill (EUR12).

OT 301 in Amsterdam, photo by dev nul

OT 301 in Amsterdam


Equipped with a canal side café and a variety of sizable rooms, CREA is University van Amsterdam’s cultural pride and joy. Think student vibe with interesting, catchy lectures and discussions, from improv comedy to political documentary films, open mic nights to open debates.

Courses are artsy, like creative writing, digital photography and theater, with an endless list of instrument and dance classes. Student priced and upbeat, CREA is a good location with a lot going on even when school’s out for summer.

Tip: Some private courses and practice room rentals are for students only, so ask about what’s open to non-students that day.

The Beaches

Surf shops, kite surfing schools and wind surfing classes are scattered along the beaches of Zandvoort and Blomendaal. A quick 20-minute train ride out of the city will set you on the North Sea shores, an ideal spot to join in on volleyball games, rent wetsuits and boards, or try a few lessons.

Around the manmade city beach of Ijburg are a few places that offer wakeboarding lessons for small groups that can run all day. Classes are easily in English, and prices for any of these sports are reasonable – water sports in Holland seem to be a local secret.

Tip: Start early, not only to avoid the noon rush out of the city, but also to make time for sports and relaxation.

About the author

About the author: Audrey Sykes hopped across the pond from the US eight years ago for a Masters degree in global journalism. Since then, she’s lived all over Europe, reporting and editing for music sites, snowboard mags, and travel media. She’s also the Amsterdam author for Party Earth, a guide to nightlife across Europe.

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