De Balie- Cafe/Movie/Poduim space

De Balie is one of those places you can easily pass and think nothing of it. It’s located just off the Leisdseplein on your way towards the Paradiso Night club.

It was a former prison and even housed political prisoners during the Second World War before they were shipped off to camps and sadly often killed.

The food is standard and beer selection fantastic. You can sit and people watch for hours on the terrace out front and never get board.

The movie theater does not play the latest blockbusters but often documentaries from around the world, especially ones with a human interest story.

They’ll host lecturers and debates here as well. In November 2001 following the 9/11 attacks a then unknown woman would attend a debate entitled “Islam and the West.” Where she’d rise and give her opinions on the issues and start her Dutch political career as well as rise to international fame with the publication of her book ‘Infidel.’ That woman: Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Check out the debates/lectures as they are often in English and don’t just pertain to important issues in Amsterdam but rather issues facing the world.