An honest guide to ADE-Amsterdam Dance Event

ADE is one of the worlds stand out electronic music events held in arguably one of the most party-friendly locations in the world. You might wonder if the hipe is worth it and YES it most definitely is.

I would put it just under Tomorrowland in terms of the production value. As 2017 was my first time at ADE there is definitely a few things I would do differently. I would have done differently and this is my honest guide to ADE, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Held annually for five days at the end of October, Amsterdam Dance Event almost doubles the population of Amsterdam. The festival turns the entire city into hubs of lectures, talks, pop-up shows, surprise events, electronic festivals and ecstatic energy from locals and visitors alike. If anyone can throw a party it is the Dutch.

Here I’ve compiled my honest guide to ADE so you can avoid my mistakes and make it an even more unforgettable experience. Mainly aimed at the first timer it can also be a useful guide to veterans of ADE. Read here for more party experiences.

An Honest guide to ADE-Amsterdam Dance Event

honest guide to ADE
Credit: Jovanni Alex


Let’s look at how you get into the city first and then some of the better modes of transport to get you to and from the events of your choice. Uber is key, The huge crowds and distances between venues can sometimes be tricky to navigate on public transport.


  • Unless you are using the train to come from mainland Europe you will most likely only use it to travel from Schipol airport.
  • The train from Schipol airport to Central station is roughly 15 minutes.
  • It departs from underneath the airport on platform 1 & 2.
  • You can purchase tickets online, at one of the electronic kiosks or the manned station service desk.
  • A one-way ticket cost €5.30.
  • Taxis and shuttle buses are also available from the airport.


  • The use of bicycles is extremely popular and encouraged throughout The Netherlands.
  • It is a great option for sightseeing and getting a feel for Amsterdam life.
  • There are numerous stores in which you can rent bicycles for a number of days.
  • I would not recommend it during ADE.
  • Understanding the rules of the road and the possibility of intoxication might lead to an accident (It’s not as fun as it sounds).
  • However, it is the most reliable mode of transport to get you from A to B.


  • The ferries which cross the IJ river to Amsterdam-Noord are free.
  • They take pedestrians, mopeds and bicycles.
  • Most departures are from Central station.
  • You will find a small number of ADE events and accommodation in this part of Amsterdam.


  • This is an ideal option for those staying in more outlying areas or trying to reach distant parties.
  • It may be a little quieter during peak times than other forms of transport.
  • The metro will close around midnight and restart for the morning commute.


  • The easy to spot blue and white trams are probably the most popular way to get from the city to the outskirts.
  • There are 15 tram lines with over 500 stops throughout Amsterdam.
  • They provide a great service to the city but become especially congested during ADE.
  • The metro will close around midnight and restart for the morning commute.

These are honestly the best ticket options for ADE attendees:

  • I Amsterdam City Card: Entrance to the cities top attraction and full use of public transport from 1 to 3 days.
  • GVB day passes: Available from 1 to 7 days and allows access o the metro, trams and buses. Ideal for those who may not be staying for all of ADE
  • Amsterdam Travel Ticket:  This ticket includes a return journey from Schipol airport to any station in Amsterdam plus travel on the metro, bus and tram service for 1 to 3 days.

Taxis and Uber:

  • Both can be extremely hard to find during the closing of large ADE events.
  • Uber is generally cheaper but the prices can rise due to demand.
  • If you are unsure of your address or location it can become costly very fast.
  • Still a big thumbs up for Uber.

For more transport info and maps etc: check out IamAmsterdam and GVB.

Things to consider:

  • Some Public transport will end around Mid-night and will not start again until early morning.
  • Take note of your address and a picture of the building (Life-saver, not literally but you know what I mean).
  • Definitely, consider one of the travel cards as they will save you a lot of time and money.
  • Check the ADE event page in case shuttle services are available.


A major stumbling block for regulars and first-timers is definitely finding the right place to stay. You don’t want to be too far from the action and you don’t want to pay an extortionate amount of money. My honest guide to ADE accommodation is brief as where I stayed was absolutely shit. I got some good information from a local so hopefully, you can put it to good use.

  • Similiar to the transport most of the accommodation is based around the central station, this includes a huge array of Hostels, hotels and Airbnb.
  • As with any city the further from the centre you go the less expensive it will be.
  • Booking accommodation ahead of time is highly recommended to secure a good location with good vibes.
  • From personal experience, I would not recommend Amsterdam-Noord my accommodation was difficult to locate and it was some distance from many of the main events.
  • Ideally, the centre is the best for both transport and the events.
  • If you are on a budget, Amsterdam Nieuw-west is an ideal alternative to good transport links.
  • If you can arrange a group, then Airbnb will be one of the better options although it is advisable to review the property first.

Amsterdam dance event: Tickets and shows

honest guide to ADE

Finally, we are getting to the actual event. I, unfortunately, couldn’t attend the full five days so I crammed as much as possible into the three days I had. Honestly have a day of rest after ADE I crashed and burnt and still didn’t go to work. A day of rest is needed after just one day never mind five.

Here’s my guide to buying tickets, the options, prices and my idea of what would work best.

Buying tickets:

Ticket options:

As ADE is a combination of music events and conferences there are a number of ticket and pass options which you should consider before purchasing:

  • ADE conference pass(4 days): This gives you access to all music talks and networking opportunities. This is especially beneficial for those there solely to conduct business and see some of the big movers and shakers in the electronic music world. €225-Increasing to a maximum of €300
  • ADE pass (5 days and nights): Allows all the same access as the conference and also access to all the music event taking place around the city. This pass is for those who like to party, have the freedom of choice in what they see occasionally skip some of the longer ques.€375 increasing to a maximum of €450
  • ADE pack(ADE pass and one night in a hotel): This has all of what the ADE pass has to offer plus one night in a hotel. This is not one I would recommend as the prices will vary depending on hotel availability and you have a better chance of finding more affordable accommodation for yourself. €455+
  • Individual tickets: If like me it was only possible to visit Amsterdam for a shorter period then perhaps purchasing individual tickets would be more effective. Of the three events, I went to prices averaged €50.

I would research what events and acts you want to see and purchase tickets ahead of time so you can ensure your place as some events tend to sell us or fill up with pass holders as they would receive preference.

Health and safety:

honest guide to ADE
Credit: Jovanni Alex

Although you are going to enjoy yourself it’s always important to take care of yourself and your friends. I went solo, felt perfectly safe and had an amazing time. Now I might not have stuck to all of ADE’s health guides, but most of them I did which is the most important thing.

Here’s what to expect in the events, how you can take care of yourself a little better and where to go for help if you need it.

  • Most of the events have lockers inside which you can rent for the duration of the event.
  • This is ideal for groups or people who just have too much stuff after a few hours of dancing.
  • Rent one first and work up from there honestly, ADE lockers are huge.
  • Bring I.D to every event, it’s not worth the hassle of trying to get it later.
  • Hard Drugs are prohibited at the events (You would be surprised how many people get this wrong).
  • If you happen to be doing drugs, there are testing kits and some companies who can test the contents to ensure their safety.
  • Heed warnings for particular drugs and substances. It’s for your safety
  • Most events work on a token system. You will have to purchase these at stands usually near the entrance to the events.
  • All events will have security, police and medics in the area to deal with emergencies.
  • Stay Hydrated and remember to eat not on most ADE guides but something I needed to remind myself.

An honest guide to ADE money saver tips:

  • Rent a bike if you feel comfortable enough biking to and from events.
  • Transport cards are ideal options for those staying on the outskirts of the city
  • ADE passes are the best option for those attending most or all of the ADEA week
  • Booking accommodationism early is the best way to ensure a good location for a reasonable price
  • For those on a shorter time frame research which events you most want to see and organise your time and plans around that.