De Balie

centre for culture and politics / café-restaurant

De Balie

De Balie is a popular meeting place from early morning to late evening.

In 3 halls, on an almost daily basis, debates, seminars and theatre and film performances take place regarding cultural, social and political issues, right in the middle of one of the most touristy squares in Amsterdam.

De Balie was founded in 1982 by Felix Rottenberg and is situated in the previous District Court (a real 'balie'), dating back to the 19th century, in the city centre near the Leidseplein.

He wanted to provide an informal atmosphere for public debates on current issues - and this is exactly what De Balie has been doing ever since.

Convivial and accessible

Most visitors actually come to De Balie for the atmosphere. The café has an inviting vibe, with its tall ceilings and windows, wide rooms and ever-changing photographic exhibitions reflecting cultural and social atmosphere it decorates.

Popular meeting place

The café is a popular meeting place to meet up with a friend before the film, read a newspaper, eat a sandwich or salad, or join in a discussion on a current topic with the table next to you.

And these discussions intensify in the evenings, when coffees are joined by beer, wine & cocktails and the normal sounds of chit-chat become music to your ears.


De Balie is a decent eatery, with standard lunch menus and reasonably priced evening menus. It's a bit of a standout in the more commercial atmosphere of the touristy Leidseplein area.

Café-restaurant De Balie is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Debates, theatre and film

While the café is a nice backdrop, the real heart of De Balie beats in its theatres and meeting halls.

Around 450 events take place annually on political, cultural and social themes intended to stimulate open debate.

On any given evening, you will find yourself surrounded by a mix of writers, politicians, artists, intellectuals and students. Many influential speakers and thinkers have made their names at De Balie.


De Balie is located near Leidseplein, one of Amsterdam's main entertainment districts, and Leidsestraat shopping street. Music stage Paradiso is almost next door.

On the menu  

  • Bitterballen
  • Egg’s Benedict
  • Salade nicoise
  • Balie smash burger
  • Slow cooked short rib
  • Strawberry Romanov

De Balie

Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10
Amsterdam (Centrum)

+31 20 5535130

tram 1 2 5 7 12 19 Leidseplein
local_parking Q-Park Byzantium

Opening hours | Café

Sun-Thu 09:00 - 23:00
Fri-Sat 09:00 - 01:00

Opening hours | Restaurant

daily 09:00 - 12:30 Breakfast
daily 12:00 - 16:30 Lunch
daily 17:00 - 20:00 Dinner


Grand Café
Outdoor terrace

official website

Avg price: €13 info_outline breakfast

Avg price: €12 info_outline lunch

Avg price: €32 info_outline dinner

more impressions
De Balie

De Balie is a venue for political lectures, philosophical discussion evenings and theatre performances

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All bars mentioned on this website are popular spots that are visited by locals and not mainly targeted at tourists