About us

Melkweg stands for pop culture in the most broad of senses. Each year, hundreds of concerts, club nights, films and music films, theatre performances, expositions and multidisciplinary events together attract almost 540,000 visitors.

The venue is located in the only surviving factory building on the Amsterdam canal ring, a former sugar and, later, milk factory. This historical building houses two concert halls, a cinema, a multidisciplinary room and an exposition space, which each can be used separately or combined together.

In the Melkweg, established names can be seen alongside new talent and emerging styles get the chance to reach a broader audience. The diversity of its programming and visitors, together with its different spaces and special location, have for years made the Melkweg a unique place.

Since 1970

It all started in 1970, when a cultural youth project took residence in a vacant milk factory for the summer. Amsterdam at that time was considered a “cosmic centre” of the world. From all corners of the earth young people came together in this new cultural hub that from the start combined different art disciplines.

Melkweg has permanently been open as a cultural centre since 1973, seeing many changes over the last 40 years: the building was adapted to further suit its new function, a large concert hall was added, and programming became more important and professional.

Melkweg has always been a kind of biotope of a variety of subcultures: from hippies to punk, from grunge to hip hop. Its rich history has made Melkweg known across the globe as a venue where new artists and styles can take the stage and where world famous names performed before making their big breakthrough.


No other music venue offers such a diverse programming as Melkweg. In both concert halls - the Max and OZ - big international names perform alongside new home-grown talent. The club nights also represent a wide variety of music styles and audiences, bridging the gap between underground and the general public.

Depth is provided by the cinema programme, with its many music films, and by the expositions, which evoke people to think but can also surprise. Both disciplines have their own space: the Cinema on the top floor and the Expo on the Marnixstraat, which is connected to the café MILK. The Upstairs, also situated on the top floor, serves as a platform for young makers to develop and create an own audience. Being able to interconnect all the different spaces makes the Melkweg highly suitable for festivals and larger events, often having a social character.   

Melkweg also programmes concerts and other events in the Rabozaal, the modern multi-functional venue shared by Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA), and also in the Q-Factory, de Meervaart and De Waalse Kerk.


Melkweg is a non-profit organization: a foundation with cultural and social objectives. Melkweg is a cultural institution with an ANBI status. On this page you will find more information about ANBI, our objectives and business plan for 2021-2024 and the compressed annual accounts 2019, 2020 and 2021. The organization is led by Managing Director Laura Vogelsang and Director Operations Djuro Leideritz. Together they manage a team of promoters, responsible for compiling the programme, marketing, and all operationals departments. The Supervisory Board of the Melkweg Foundation consists of: Martin Plak (chairmain), Lara Ankersmit, Valentijn Brouwer, Marieke van Well and Pay Kolmüs. Here you'll find more information about the Supervisory Board (in Dutch). Melkweg has an annual budget of 12 million euro, of which 7% is subsidized, mainly from the Municipality of Amsterdam. More than 90% of the budget is generated by own income. Melkweg has more than 100 employees.

In 2019 1250 activities took place in Melkweg and over 540,000 visitors came to visit Melkweg.

Melkweg applies the Code Diversiteit en Inclusie and the Governance Code Cultuursector.

European Collaboration

Melkweg is a strong believer in international collaboration and therefore an active member of different networks and projects with cultural institutions from other countries in Europe.

Liveurope - the live music platform for new Europe talent.
Melkweg is a member of the Liveurope Platform, the first pan-European initiative to support music venues in promoting new European musical talent. Each year, Liveurope allows a large number of exciting new live acts from all over Europe to take the stage, helping them to build a fan base in the Netherlands. Melkweg is the first Dutch venue to join Liveurope, further members including Ancienne Belgique (Brussel), A38 (Budapest) and Vega (Copenhagen).
More info: liveurope.eu and facebook.com/liveurope      

Trans Europe Halles
Melkweg is one of the founders of Trans Europe Halles (TEH), a network of almost 70 independent cultural centres throughout the whole of Europe. The network connects the many cultural centres, encouraging them to exchange ideas and experiences and develop projects together. From 2011 to 2014, Melkweg organized the Engine Room Europe project in collaboration with TEH and a large number of other members. Supported by the European Commission, this project was geared towards professional development of the cultural sector.  
More info: www.teh.net  and  facebook.com/transeuropehalles.

A sustainable Melkweg

Sustainability is also important for the Melkweg and we aim to keep greenhouse gas emissions as low as possible. One of the ways the Melkweg does this is by lowering energy and water consumption, quite a challenge in such an old building!

To lower the energy consumption there is LED lights in and in between the rooms, on the bridge and on the building’s facade. This lowers the electricity usage and in the rooms this also creates less heat than traditional lights, which means the airconditioning is used less. As most lights are RBG, creating a nice atmosphere is not an issue. The Melkweg also has a system that optimizes the voltage and lowers the total energy consumption. Next to that the roofing of the offices is isolated and all the windows of the offices and the old milk factory are double glazed.

To lower the water consumption the Melkweg uses water saving taps in the sinks of the bars. The dressing rooms have water saving shower heads and the urinals are all waterless. In 2016 the Melkweg saved a total of 1,4 million liters of water!

Together with the local government, the Melkweg is currently investigating a new type of roof for the dressing rooms and the entrance, a so-called sedum roof. This roofing is made of succulent plants and cools the building during summer and warms it in the winter. With the Amsterdam waste management company Renewi the Melkweg is discussing to transport waste over water. This is considerably more sustainable than by road.