The Melkweg (Dutch for "Milky Way") is a popular music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein - the prime nightlife square of Amsterdam. It is housed in a former milk factory and is divided into a number of spaces of varying sizes. Besides four halls for varying genres of music concerts, the venue houses a cinema, a restaurant and an exhibition space. The Melkweg is run by a nonprofit organisation that has existed since 1970.
The main entrance of the Melkweg
Location in Amsterdam
In the 19th century a sugar refinery was established at the Lijnbaansgracht. In 1920, the milk company OVVV bought the factory. Until 1969, the OVVV housed in the factory, before closing. The building was closed for a year, but reopened as a cultural center in 1970. It was only open for the summer and featured a café, a restaurant and one hall for music and theatre. Because of the success the Melkweg reopened in the summer of 1971 and 1972 before becoming a permanent venue since 1973.
In the years that followed the Melkweg became one of the most important pop venues of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. A meeting place for hippies in the seventies and eighties, the Melkweg embraced all music styles and evolved into a multidisciplinar center for all music styles. It's this diverse blend of styles - along with combining big international names with local upcoming talent - that defines the Melkweg.
The venue has 6 halls :
Melkweg is referenced in the Cracker song "Euro-Trash Girl", the Lagwagon song "Infectious" and in title of the Half Man Half Biscuit song "Prag Vec at the Melkweg". The title of The Church's song "Under the Milky Way" is also a reference to the Melkweg. Heather Nova's 1995 EP "Live from the Milky Way" was recorded here as was Spacemen 3's album Performance. Frank Black And The Catholics recorded there live on March 24, 2001 on "Live From Melkweg".