The Leidseplein is the lively heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife. Around the square you find numerous cozy terraces, pubs, trendy clubs and the famous coffee shop The Bulldog. The Stadsschouwburg (the municipal theater) and large Amsterdam concert stages like pop temple Paradiso or the Melkweg are also located nearby. The vibrant cafes are open day and night and their terraces offer first class views of the street artists, who showcase their talents at any time of the day. The Leidseplein area is also great for shopping as Apple and Mini have impressive brand stores here and visiting the stores along the Leidsestraat brings you all the way to Amsterdam’s longest shopping street: the Kalverstraat.
Ice skating on the Leidseplein
In the months leading up to Christmas part of the terraces are replaced by a temporary ice rink for some real winter fun. Sparkling lights in the trees, a giant chandelier and snow cannons complete the festive atmosphere. Get warmed up after skating by a cup of hot coco, a fresh oliebol (Dutch deep fried cake with raisins, traditionally eaten on New Years Eve) crispy waffle or real bratwurst from one of the food stalls. In 2014 the ice rink celebrates its 10th birthday which is celebrated with a big party on the 21st of November. The skating rink welcomes visitors from the 13th of November 2014 and closes again on 4 January 2015. And for those who forgot to pack their skates; it’s possible to rent skates.
Bargain Busters on the Leidseplein
For those with a small purse the Leidseplein also has a lot to offer. The Max Euwe Center is a chess museum about the one and only chess world champion the Netherlands has ever known, free of charge. You’ll find the museum located on the Max Euwe Square, just off the Leidseplein, where there’s also a free life-size chess board.
And then there’s the Last Minute Ticket Shop of the Stadsschouwburg, one of the many beautiful theaters the city houses. Here the last tickets for shows that feature the same day are sold for half price. So you get a 50% discount, see a beautiful performance and admire the stunning restored interior of the Stadsschouwburg.
Off the beaten track on the Leidseplein
Amsterdam has many hidden treasures. One of them can be found in the Leidsebosje (translates as the little park from Leiden, which is a city near The Hague), a park behind the Leidseplein, right opposite the entrance to the Vondelpark. Hidden behind the leaves the Boomzagertje (the little tree cutter) has been sawing away on an overhanging branch since 1982. The artist who has made and secretly placed this piece of art is unknown to the public, and desperately wants to stay anonymous. His or her work can be found in other places around Amsterdam, and is referred to as works from the unknown sculptor.
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