Amsterdam is one of the few cities in the world which could stage an event such as ADE. Or should we say, Amsterdam is one of the few cities in the world which could stage an event such as ADE and make it feel effortless. Even at strolling pace you could walk between the two furthest most clubs on the ADE program in under an hour. And you'd probably want to: Amsterdam is one of Europe's most attractive capital cities. Official post-conference figures stated that 140,000 people attended this year, yet away from the busier clubs and a small area outside ADE HQ Felix Meritis, there never was a sense of over-crowding—or that the city's amenities were being over-stretched. Then there are the stop and chats. The highly concentrated nature of the city means that bumping into friends/colleagues/acquaintances/business associates/DJs is a continual occurrence throughout the weekend.
At the heart of all of this is a network of clubs that between them are able to host parties that range from gargantuan stage shows through to intimate gatherings between locals. Over 52 clubs, bars and arts spaces were utilized during this year's festival. Here's just seven of the city's finest.
Opened: July 1970
"I think Melkweg is pretty unique in Holland because it has all of these different art disciplines under one roof. We do concerts and dance events, we do cinema, we have a photo gallery, we do contemporary dance and theatre and we do media events. "
- Hidde Pluymert (Head of bookings)
Opened: April 2010
"We are the only purpose-built club in Amsterdam, I think—built from scratch. Most of them are in old theatres or whatever. We try to be an international club with an international kind of feeling."
- Sjoerd Wynia (International director)
"It's an old church but not in the Gothic sense. It still has the stained glass windows and a big balcony looping around it so it's a very intimate place to see big names."
- Maz Weston (Programmer)
Opened: June 2005
"We have a great soundsystem and the people that come here are really into the music, which makes it a special place because it's not people with a flashy vibe who just want to be noticed. The atmosphere is definitely more intense [than other Amsterdam venues]."
- Gert van Veen (Navigator)
Opened: October 2010
"What is great about the place itself, I think, is that we do have so much room, so when we open up all the rooms it really is an indoor festival. Every room you enter you can get another sort of vibe and vibration of different sorts of acts going on at the same time."
- Mats Siffels (Programmer)
Opened: April 2005
"Our sound, visual and technical production is very high standard. I would summarize it as the best eclectic club of Amsterdam...I book in a way that Gilles Peterson does his Worldwide bookings."
- Myra Driessen (Creative director)
Opened: February 2009
"Trouw is basically meant to be some kind of contemporary inspiration for anything regarding electronic music, food, art and new media. The space is very different than most clubs or venues, but actually one of the nice things is the people that really make it."
- Olaf Boswijk (Founder)