for, by, and about street theatre performers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
straattheater, amsterdam, street theater, holland, street performing, the netherlands, busking, performing, license, vergunning, permit, ontheffing, sas, show, straatartiesten, streettheater, street artist, mime, clown, juggler, magician, living statue, unicyclist, acrobat, straatartiest, jongleur, levend standbeeld, acrobaat, performance, fire

Home > Perform


Legal stuff about street theatre performing

The pitches Leidseplein and Dam Square

The 'unwritten rules'

For busking street musicians

License application

1. Amsterdam City Council
On-line License Application

Additional Info Generator


Gedoogbrief voice amplification
(PDF, 492 kB)

Map forbidden streets
(PDF, 1.9 MB)


You want to perform on the streets of Amsterdam?

In this section you can read what we think you need to know if you want to perform your street theatre show in Amsterdam yourself; the legal stuff, as well as the practical stuff.

Everything in this section is meant for street theatre performers with a socalled circle show. Legally and practically things are different for busking musicians, so check out this page.

To us performers, we are all equal. But legally, things are not the same for European and non-European performers. However, non-EU performers can perform in Amsterdam. Read on.

This page has three sections you can jump to:
License-free performing
License-free performing using voice amplification
Licensed performing


License-free performing

Since the change of the Amsterdam by-law, one does NOT need a license to perform street theatre in the streets of Amsterdam. This is regardless whether the performer is a EU citizen or not; anybody can perform freely.

However, this is the basic situation, appying only to a very basic show. Without a license, you may perform
A maximum of one show per day on the same spot,
A maximum of 30 minutes for that show,
You may NOT use any kind of percussion instruments or amplification (except for voice amplification, see below),
You may not use any dangerous props, like fire torches, machetes, chainsaws, etc.,
You may not perform in the evening after 23.00.


License-free performing using voice amplification

Formally, any kind of amplification is not allowed without a license. However, after the try-out during 2008 and 2009, some amplification is allowed also without a license, within certain boundaries. This is done through a socalled 'gedoogbrief' (letter of allowance) of the Mayor.

The restrictions are:
Only amplification of the performer's voice is allowed; music or singing remains forbidden,
The sound level does not exceed 74 dB(A) at 8 meter from the speaker,
The sound level should not exceed the surrounding noise on the spot,
Amplification is allowed only as long as this is part of a street theatre performance,
Allowance only applies to the center of Amsterdam, except what is marked purple on the map with forbidden streets (PDF, 1.9MB).

The police and the socalled 'Handhaving' should know about this and cause no trouble. However, in reality trouble still occurs now and then. So, performers without a license who want to use voice amplification are advised to carry a printout of this 'gedoogbrief' when performing.

This 'gedoogbrief' can be downloaded here (PDF, 492 kB). The file should open in a new separate window or tab - if not, go back with the browser's back-button to return to this site.

NOTE: It took two years of try-out before the policy was prolonged for undefined time. Apparently there were some complaints in 2008 and also in 2009 the partial city council had doubts and reluctancies. Nevertheless, the 'gedoogbrief' has been extended for undefined time anyway.

But: "undefined time" does not automatically mean "forever". The allowance can be withdrawn at any time. Just like before, all performers are strongly requested to avoid ANY complaints. If there are no complaints, there is no reason for the city council to withdraw the 'gedoogbrief' policy.

Let's all be professional!


Licensed performing

Nowadays, most performers need some kind of socalled 'special allowances', like using fire torches, juggling machetes, etc.. Also, circle shows typically need more time per show and since those circle shows can be performed only on the two main spots in town, you might want the possibility to perform twice per day on the same spot. For these situations one still needs a license. As of 2018, applying for a license can be done only on-line.

Due to national laws, only a EU-performer can obtain such a license. With a EU-performer we mean anybody with a European Union passport, or with a residency or work permit.

This is what you need:

EU passport or NL residency/work permit
Maestro debet card to pay for the license (cash and credit cards are NOT accepted).
The license application fee is 212,30 (2024).

This is what you need to do:

Open a new browser tab and load our additional info generator. Fill out the fields as desired and generate the text. Keep this tab open - you need it a bit later to enter the text into the license application form.
Open another browser tab, load the city council's on-line application form and fill it out:
Part 1: Inleiding
   Just click the button 'Volgende'.
Part 2: Aanmelden
   Choose the option 'Ik wil de gegevens zelf invullen'.
   Click the button 'Volgende'.
Part 3: Contactgegevens
   Input field 'KvK-nummer:' - Leave empty. If mandatory, fill out 11111111 (8 digits).
   Input field 'Burgerservicenummer:' - Leave empty. If mandatory, fill out 032408596.

Note 1: the above two fields SHOULD be optional. If it appears to be mandatory, LET US KNOW IMMEDIATELY!
Note 2: if you are forced to use the above 'tricks', make sure you mention this in the additional comments section of the application, for sake of being open and honest!

   Input field 'Voornamen (voluit):' - Your first name(s), for example 'Rembrandt'.
   Input field 'Voorvoegsel:' - If applicable, the prefix of your surname, for example 'van'.
   Input field 'Achternaam:' - Your surname, for example 'Rijn'.
   Input field 'Straat:' - The street name of your address.
   Input field 'Huisnummer:' - The housenumber of your address.
   Input field 'Toevoeging:' -If applicable, any extension to the house number, for example 'A' or 'III'
   Input field 'Postcode en plaats:' - The city and ZIP code of your address.
   Input field 'E-mail:' - Your email address. Make sure thi is a valid address of a mailbox you actually monitor.
   Input field 'Telefoonnummer: ' - Your phone number. Use a local (Dutch) number! Buy a local SIM card or use a friend's telephone number. We hear some rumours the license department will not call foreign numbers.
   Click the button 'Volgende'.
   Check your input.
   Click the button 'Volgende'.
Part 4: Pasfoto
   Click the button 'Volgende' and select a passport type photograph. Possible file types are BMP, JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG with a maximum file size of 5 MB. Minimum dimensions in pixels is not given, but approx. 800 x 1000 pixels should be more than enough.
Part 5: Gegevens van uw aanvraag
Waarvoor wilt u een vergunning of ontheffing aanvragen?
   Choose the option 'Cirkelshowartiest'.
   Click the button 'Volgende'.
Waar en wanneer wilt u optreden?
   Input field 'Stadsdeel:' - Choose the option 'Stadsdeel Centrum'.
   Input field 'Locatie:' - Write 'Geheel centrum'.
   Input field 'Datum begin:' - Change the date to today.
   Input field 'Begintijd:' - Choose 09:00.
   Input field 'Tot en met datum:' - Choose December 31 (format dd-mm-yyyy).
   Input field 'Eindtijd:' - Choose 23:00.
Wilt u extra locaties toevoegen?
   Choose the option 'Nee'.
Overige opmerkingen
   Now it's time to grab back to the text you generated a bit earlier. Go back to that browser tab, copy the generated text and copy it into this field.
   Click the button 'Volgende'.
Part 7: Samenvatting
   Check your application details.
   Mark the checkbox next to 'Ik heb alle gegevens correct en volledig ingevuld. Ik begrijp dat een aanvraag via internet dezelfde juridische status heeft als een aanvraag met een geschreven geldige handtekening.' (This means as much as: I declare all data are correct. I understand that this on-line form has the same legal status as a written and signed form.)
   Click the button 'Verzenden'.
Part 8: Bevestiging en afdrukken
You should now see a confirmation page, saying the application has been received ('Geachte mevrouw, meneer [your name], Hartelijk dank voor uw aanvraag. Wij hebben deze ontvangen op [current date and time].')
It's a good idea to print this page. You can use the link at the top of the page saying 'Klik hier om deze gehele pagina te printen.'
You can now close the browser.
The license should be ready within a couple of days. The license department will call you.
Get your EU passport or residency permit and a Maestro debet card to pay the appliction fee by 'PIN'.
Note: unfortunately it is only possible to pay by 'PIN'. Cash and credit cards are NOT accepted. If you don't have such a bank card, ask a local friend or fellow performer to come with you to do the payment. The application fee is approx. 165.00 (2019).
Go to the town hall, right next to the famous Waterloo Square flee market, on weekdays (Mon-Fri) between 8:00 and 18:00. Follow the signs to 'Stadsloket'. In this hall, go to the desk for appointments ('Afsprakenbalie') and mention you are coming to pick up a street performing license. They will give you a follow-up number for counter 27-29, which are at the back of the hall.

Further note this:

You may not just perform everywhere (with or without license). Leidseplein and Dam Square are no problem though. If you want to play other, smaller pitches around town, pick any spot which is NOT marked purple on the map with forbidden streets (PDF, 1.9MB).
Fire spitting or fire chain swinging is not allowed. If you use other fire sources, make sure the pavement is clean of any kind of fuel after the show.
For amplification the maximum sound level is 74dB(A) at 8 meters distance. Voice amplication can be used throughout the show.
You may not perform in the evening after 23.00.
Liability insurance is not mandatory. But, at all times, the performer remains liable for any damages he causes during the show, to inviduals or the environment. Guarantee the safety of your audience and participants at all times!


On the pitch

The shared pitches are further regulated by the performers themselves. Be social and professional, and things will be fine. If you want to perform on those pitches, look and ask around how things are done practically. Some of it we have written here.


amsterdam, street theater, holland, busking, straattheater, street performing, performing, license, the netherlands, permit, vergunning, show, sas, ontheffing, street artist, straatartiesten, streettheater, juggler, clown, magician, mime, acrobat, living statue, unicyclist, levend standbeeld, straatartiest, acrobaat, jongleur, fire, performance Privacy statement | © 2003-2024 Copyright Design & hosting by SuperXS.
straattheater, amsterdam, street theater, holland, street performing, the netherlands, busking, performing, license, vergunning, permit, ontheffing, sas, show, straatartiesten, streettheater, street artist, mime, clown, juggler, magician, living statue, unicyclist, acrobat, straatartiest, jongleur, levend standbeeld, acrobaat, performance, fire