Paradiso is a unique and exciting music venue near Amsterdam’s Leidseplein. Located in a former church building, its main hall includes high ceilings, spacious balconies and beautiful old church windows framing the main stage. Last month Paradiso hosted a brilliant performance by American singer-songwriter & musician Maggie Rogers. Ticket, wheelchair and friends in tow, I headed to the concert for a fun night of live music.
Paradiso is one of the few places I can say there are perks to being in a wheelchair. The main entrance can only be reached up a steep staircase, so I had no choice but to skip the massive line of people and roll up the ramp to the side entrance. After a quick ring of the doorbell, the door was unlocked, and I rolled inside.
More #wheelchairperks: Using the side entrance means you might just meet the night’s performers. On my way out of the side entrance (on another night) I bumped into Australian singer Jarryd James.
Arriving at Paradiso
Once inside, a Paradiso representative checked my ticket. I was given a lift key, to be returned at the end of the night. This wonderful key gave me the power to be independent and go up and down to the various floors without having to ask for assistance.
Before heading to the main concert hall I did a quick check of the ‘lobby’, souvenir shop and cloak room — all three were accessible.
Prime seating and great views
If you’re visiting Paradiso’s main concert hall with a mobility aid, I recommend heading to the 1st floor balconies for a good view of the stage. My favourite place to sit is in the right-hand corner of the balcony (see photo) as you’re not in the path of people heading to/ from the 1st floor bar. I couldn’t get to the front of the balcony (steps only), but the three bleacher-style levels meant my view wasn’t blocked by people sitting in front of me.
The ground floor area is also accessible for wheelchair users — but given that everyone else was standing, I’d have been lucky to catch a glimpse of the stage. The top balcony is only accessible via a staircase.
Paradiso’s accessible toilet is located in the basement, easily reached with your BFF the lift key. The toilet is spacious, with support beams and an emergency cord. It was clean and well-stocked. My only point of improvement is the fact that the mirror has been hung up far too high for a seated wheelchair user.
During my little Paradiso-Maggie-Rogers-adventure, I experienced a few challenges in my wheelchair:
- The ramp up to the side-entrance is very long and a bit steep (I needed a friend to push me up).
- The doors leading to the 1st floor balconies are heavy (fire doors) and impossible to go through in a wheelchair without assistance.
- The doorway leading to the 1st floor balcony is do-able with a wheelchair, but not super spacious.
- On your way to and from the lift & balcony doors, the space between the staircase and the wall is a bit of a squeeze (see photo)
- The drinks bar is quite high
8/10. Paradiso has definitely made an effort to ensure that guests with reduced mobility can enjoy their concerts and events. While wheelchair users can’t reach every floor of the main concert hall, there are plenty of accessible areas with a great view of the stage. There are a few tight turns and heavy doors, but overall Paradiso has good accessibility.
* Please note: I didn’t get a chance to check the accessibility of Paradiso’s small concert hall. This review is only based on the main concert hall.
Tips for your trip to Paradiso
- Many concerts require you to buy a Paradiso monthly membership. Memberships can be purchased in-person at the main entrance, but not at the side entrance. Make sure to buy your membership online in advance.
- For prime seating and great views, head to the 1st floor balcony.
- Bring your own pocket mirror if you need one – the mirror in the accessible toilet is too high if you’re sitting in a wheelchair.