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Melkweg: Out-of-This-World Music and More Amsterdam  The Netherlands

Melkweg: Out-of-This-World Music and More

What happens when a nonprofit artist collective discovers an abandoned dairy factory in the heart of Amsterdam? In 1970, the outcome was a sprawling, industrial-style space for pop culture expression that's since become one of the city's leading entertainment venues off lively Leidseplein.

Named after the group of counterculture artists that founded it, Melkweg (Milky Way in English) is now a world-renowned concert venue with three music halls, exhibition space, rear café, and an attic movie theater. Pop culture icons like Prince and Lady Gaga have performed on its largest stage, while its more intimate Oude Zaal has hosted everyone from internationally famous DJs to popular Dutch hip hop artists and up-and-coming bands.

In addition to being one of Amsterdam's leading music venues, the popular landmark also encompasses spaces for dance, theater, cinema, photography and media-art. Club nights, movie screenings and parties keep things popping throughout the year, even when major artists don't happen to be in town.