You want to play live music on the streets of Amsterdam?
Then this web site is a bit the wrong place; basically it is meant for and applies to street theatre
performers with a socalled circle show. Legally and practically things are different for busking
But since we get many questions from musicians we made this specific page with the basics that apply to
street musicians in Amsterdam.
PLEASE NOTE: this page was made in June 2007 and will not be maintained actively. It is meant to be
only a rough guideline. To know about the current situation, please contact the Amsterdam City Council.
License or not?
One does NOT need a license to play live music in the streets of Amsterdam. Playing is free
for Europeans as well as non-Europeans. However, some restrictions apply:
A maximum of 30 minutes per day near the same spot,
You may not use amplification or percussion instruments,
You may not play with a group of more than six persons,
You may not play in the evening after 23.00, on Sundays not before 13:00.
You may not play in these streets: Stationsplein, Damrak, Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk, Hasselaersteeg,
Nieuwezijds Armsteeg, Sint Jacobsstraat, Karnemelksteeg, Kromelleboogsteeg, Papenbroeksteeg, Spaarpotsteeg,
Gapersteeg, Watersteeg, Taksteeg, Rozenboomsteeg, Paleisstraat between Dam Square and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal,
Leidsestraat, Spui between Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and Gedempte Begijnensloot / Voetboogstraat, Singel between
Koningsplein and Muntplein (side of Bloemenmarkt), Muntplein, Utrechtsestraat between Herengracht and
Fredriksplein, Reguliersbreestraat, Koningsplein, Halvemaansteeg, the passage at Max Euweplein, Damstraat,
Oude Hoogstraat, Nieuwe Hoogstraat, Nieuwe Doelenstraat.
Note these forbidden streets are subject to change; inform at the city council or the police to be sure.
It is not possible to obtain a license allowing amplification, drums etc. Exception is when you want to
organize a one-day event and build a stage or so, but that's a totally different story...
There are many places around town where you can play your music, especially if you want to play just
'small'. Some pitches are shared and organized with a line-up, like the main terrace of Leidseplein and
Rembrandtplein. If you want to play these pitches, first go there and ask the musicians playing how things
Other pitches are shared and organized by street theatre performers. Since the nature of street music differs
from street theatre, also the pitches got divided historically between street music versus street theatre. This
is generally accepted and respected by both the street musicians as well as the street theatre performers.
Selling CD's with your music is officially forbidden, although it seems to us that some get away with it.