A Guide to ‘Post’-Covid Clubbing in Amsterdam
Georgia Irving discusses their experience of post-covid clubbing in Amsterdam during their study abroad experience.
25 September marked the return of nightlife to the Netherlands and my return to clubbing in over a year and a half. It would be all too easy to celebrate that day as the official end to the pandemic, as a self-proclaimed ‘freedom day’ and consider it a return to normal. While restrictions are certainly low here, they haven’t completely disappeared either, and their lingering presence makes for a strange clubbing experience.
Firstly, any subconscious discomfort at the idea of day drinking may have to be abandoned if you wish to get affordably tipsy. Clubs close at midnight still (as we all know, the coronavirus shares many of its traits with Werewolves, and gains most of its power at that time of night), meaning that they open at 6 pm. This required my flatmates and I to begin getting ready by, at the latest, 4 pm, then head to pre-drinks at 5. Of course, if you dislike the idea of heavy drinking in the early hours of the evening, you could always drink once you arrive. Just be prepared for one shot to cost five euros. You may be wondering – at what time should you eat dinner if clubs open so early? In all honesty, you don’t. I recommend a heavy late lunch and then ordering a takeaway once you leave. Sadly, the McDonald’s next to the club I went to had closed, much to the chagrin of the hundreds of drunk students who crowded outside of it. Luckily, many food places are still available at that time of night, and whatever you order, wherever it is you get it from, I can promise it will taste like the best meal of your entire life.
While restrictions are certainly low here, they haven’t completely disappeared either, and their lingering presence makes for a strange clubbing experience
The club that my flatmates and I had gone to was called Lovelee, which is a good 35-minute walk away from my flat, or, a 10-minute cycle. Of course, in the Netherlands, cycling under the influence can lead to a fine of at least 140 euros, so for legal reasons, I will not recommend cycling after pre-drinks. What I will recommend is being friends with someone who lives close by to the club and is happy to host a crowd of twenty-plus students for pres. I will also mention that, while technically illegal, a study from 2014 showed that no less than 68 per cent of cyclists on the road between the hours of one and three in the morning failed the breathalyzer test, so it isn’t an uncommon occurrence. That being said, most dutch people cycle alone to school alongside traffic from as young as nine years old. If like me, you still struggle to indicate with one arm without falling off your bike, I would suggest planning to walk or take public transport when going out for drinks.
Once you arrive at the club, you will need your ID, your tickets – which, by the final round of sales, could cost up to 20 euros – and your covid pass to enter. For many bars, restaurants, clubs, and museums, proof of vaccination or a negative test is required, which usually comes in the form of a QR code on a specific app used throughout Europe. Sadly, the proof of vaccination from the NHS app usually does not count, and it takes several weeks of booking appointments and signing documents to gain access to the Dutch Covid Pass for those of us living outside of the EU. The solution to this is to do a covid test within 24 hours of when you plan to go out. This does mean, sadly, that it is tricky to go out spontaneously without at least a day’s notice. Fortunately, it is relatively painless to book a test, and many companies offer it for free, with very quick results.
Once I finally entered the club, suddenly it wasn’t all that different from my experiences at home. I imagine that the overwhelming feelings of giddiness, anxiety, claustrophobia, joy, and relief were mirrored not only around me but everywhere else where clubs had recently opened. To experience this after so long of doing very little outside of my own home was, of course, intimidating, but still incredible, and I hope that it won’t be long until I can experience this again.
Editor: Elen Johnston