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Magician Amsterdam

Magical entertainment in the capital

Magician Michel van Zeist has his heart set on Amsterdam’s canals.

Michel van Zeist is one of the most booked magicians in Amsterdam. In a canal boat, the Rijksmuseum or a restaurant near the Rokin, this eloquent illusionist knows how to entertain your guests in a casual way. Michel will break the ice during your event in Mokum.

Are you looking for a magician in Amsterdam? Then you have come to the right place with magician Michel. This energetic entertainer has everything you need to turn your party in the capital of the Netherlands into a great spectacle. No top hat and rabbit, but incomprehensible tricks that will make the guests at your event amaze and laugh. Magician Amsterdam delivers magical entertainment at the highest level!

Possibilities to book a magician in Amsterdam

An intimate magic act at a table or a big magic show on stage; it is all possible! Michel, a magician and presenter with years of experience, has worked under the most diverse circumstances. He has humour, can easily improvise and will do everything to live up to your expectations.

The most booked programme is table magic, also known as walk-around magic. This form of magic can be performed at almost any location. As table magician Amsterdam, Michel walks around and amuses your guests. With his grandiose magic tricks, he causes astonished faces, but he finds it at least as important that those present laugh a lot; he alternates the magic moments with countless word jokes. Hilarity guaranteed!

With table magic, small groups of people are always entertained. If your preference is for an act that reaches the entire audience in one go, the central show is recommended. This show is suitable for groups of up to 500 people and is preferably presented on a stage - partly to music if desired. A unique combination of magic and stand-up comedy!

Michel is a master when it comes to customisation. He effortlessly incorporates your story or products into his conference. For this magician, almost nothing is too crazy. Do you want to launch your new product line in a spectacular way? Do you want to treat your business relations to a custom-made magic act? Would you like to record a commercial in which a magician is at work? Get in touch to discuss the possibilities.

During trade shows in Amsterdam, Michel provides the necessary entertainment as a trade show magician. He slows down passing visitors and creates a positive atmosphere. Tricks with pens, pencils and other promotional material pass in review. In a special way, Michel juggles your business card into the spectator’s bag. The presence of this entertainer undoubtedly increases the number of sales and/or appointments with potential customers.

Some people get irritated when they see a magician in action. Especially not knowing how the impossible comes about fuels this feeling. These people can indulge during the magic workshop. For once, illusionist Amsterdam breaks the magician’s code and reveals a number of magic secrets. The magic tricks explained can be put into practice by the participants almost immediately.

In addition to his work as a professional magician, Michel regularly acts as a presenter. His broad knowledge and smooth talk make him the ideal chairman for your conference or seminar. Upon request, he incorporates a number of spectacular magic acts into his story.

Would you like more information about hiring magician Amsterdam? Call 0031-318-727828 or 0031-6-20285267, or send an e-mail to info@michelvanzeist.nl.

Film: Kevin Ike (Van Ei naar Kip)

Popular magician in Amsterdam

Michel is a much sought-after magician in Amsterdam. He regularly performs at Royal Theatre Carré and hosts shows at top venues such as Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Pathé Tuschinski. In 2015, Van Zeist worked at Mercedes-Benz’s national New Year’s reception in the Netherlands’ largest city, close to the Ziggo Dome. For the Ministry of Defence, he performed magic at a downtown pub. Commissioned by the Amsterdam organisation agency Uitjes.nl, this magical entertainer organised a magic workshop in an Italian restaurant in the Jordaan. Michel has already performed several times in the now-closed café Heffer, near the Beurs van Berlage. This brown café on the Red Light District once housed the Baantjer museum. Magician Amsterdam was also a guest in the Red Light District for the filming of a television programme by production company CCCP; some improv actors, including Patrick Stoof, were making an item about the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared in March 2014. In a pub, they asked the magician where he had left the plane and what ways there are to make something disappear. For various international companies, Michel van Zeist performed his show at the Art’otel, the Tobacco Theatre and on the Ocean Diva, a luxury party boat that often sails on the IJ, among others. Invited by the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA), this table magician amazed attendees during the closing drinks of a conference. In February 2016, he gave an appearance at a grand trade fair in the Rode Hoed. Michel represented Carré, the theatre located on the Amstel River, there. On the occasion of this royal theatre’s staff outing, he performed magic on the roof of the Heineken Experience on Stadhouderskade, opposite the Tweede Weteringplantsoen, where beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his driver Ab Doderer were kidnapped in 1983. As an energiser during a medical congress at the VU Medical Centre, this illusionist performed a central act. Michel showed his theatre show to the pupils of the Slotermeerschool, a primary school in the Western Garden Cities. For paint manufacturer PPG, this magician and mentalist performed his tricks during the New Year’s reception. A fellow magician performed the same day at the Uithoorn branch. Van Zeist also worked closely with a colleague during an event at the famous restaurant Loetje aan ’t IJ. At the request of a Korean organisation, the table magician from Amsterdam performed table magic at their company party in the Bimhuis, part of the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. On a sultry summer evening, this magic performer was privileged to perform magic on a canal boat for an international team from Rabobank. For ING, Michel performed several times at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. In that same football stadium, he worked as the house magician of UEFA, the European Football Association. On the occasion of a 40th wedding anniversary, this magician gave an intimate show in Museum Van Loon on Keizersgracht. As a strolling magician, Michel van Zeist was a guest on an exhibition floor at theatre De Meervaart in Osdorp. In the same period, Michel worked, this time in the role of voice-over, during Victor Mids’ Mindf*ck live shows in the AFAS Live, formerly called the Heineken Music Hall (HMH). At Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, a luxury and lifestyle-focused hotel, he got to show off his conjuring talents during a Christmas gathering. This close-up magician performed at the anniversary party of a law firm near the Vondelpark. To the partners of an entertainment and media company, he showed his magic skills at a catering establishment in a side street of the Leidseplein. This relationship event was part of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). In cooperation with Albert Heijn and Linda de Mol’s LINDA.foundation, Van Zeist provided a magic dinner show in the Rijksmuseum’s gallery of honour, under ‘The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt van Rijn. During the Christmas drinks party of an international software company, this bald magician literally rose to great heights when he got to perform on the top floor of the A’DAM Tower. In Mokum’s most distinguished theatre, as a pre-show for a Christmas circus, micromagician Michel displayed his magical skills for PostNL employees, who were there as part of their New Year’s meeting. A few weeks after that, table magician Amsterdam was commissioned by an event agency to perform his English-language acts in an establishment located on Rembrandtplein, opposite NH Schiller, which was the setting for Humberto Tan’s RTL Late Night from 2014 to 2018. Before then, that commercial broadcaster’s talk show came from the American Hotel. In the summer of 2021, Michel got to entertain both the lower and upper classes of a primary school in Amsterdam-North as a children’s magician. The following year, he was in ‘020’ again: the prestidigitator took care of the entertainment during the staff party of Albelli, known for a variety of photo products. This business event took place on Hannekes Boot, a ship belonging to the restaurant Hannekes Boom, beloved by young people, not far from science museum Nemo and zoo Artis. The attendees imagined themselves in the casino for a while due to the illusions with playing cards, coins and dice. US-based Reddit, the company behind the social media platform of the same name, organised a gathering for its employees in several countries. Michel performed successfully in the Netherlands, at The College Hotel in Amsterdam, during the walking dinner. The day after this magic, he gave a magic master class to students of Tax Law on the occasion of a so-called canteen day of the Groningen Tax Unit. The venue was the Postillion Hotel, a modern four-star hotel close to the A2 motorway. A few weeks later, at the Met Hotel in Amsterdam-West, this jolly mentalist did the honours for colleague David Nathan, who was contracted as illusionist for the Christmas circus in Dordrecht. Together with some college students from the Leisure & Events Management course (Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Diemen), Michel put together a comical magic show for their teachers in the summer of 2023. The venue chosen was Kaap, located on the city beach near the IJdijk. In the same period, this professional magician showed his close-up tricks to Asset People staff during a trip on an electric canal boat – totally contemporary. As part of a promotional event by global company Oliver Wyman, based in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, Michel, dressed in a three-piece suit, conjured up countless tricks from his dark brown doctor’s bag that rose above the level of ‘magic box’. In late November 2023, table magician Michel worked at The Harbour Club in Amsterdam-East, known for illusionist Hans Klok’s performances. Van Zeist performed there during a hotel chain’s anniversary party. That same week, this strolling magician graced the company outing of a Schiphol-based organisation. On the occasion of a Christmas dinner, he showed his table tricks at a hospitality venue on the Herengracht. As a bar magician, Michel was active at a pub on Plantage Parklaan during a birthday party on New Year’s Eve. Besides the usual magic tricks, there was plenty of ‘illusionism’ with oliebollen, champagne and fireworks.

Magician Amsterdam
Seen from the air: the centre of Amsterdam, including the Westerkerk located between Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht.
Photo: Shutterstock/Alexey Fedorenko

Amsterdam’s rich magic history

Bamberg family of magicians at the Botermarkt

Amsterdam has a rich magic history. On the Botermarkt, as Rembrandtplein used to be called, many artists performed. The Bamberg family also gave performances there. Okito, the stage name of Theo Bamberg (1875-1963), was perhaps the most famous descendant of this Jewish magic family. The five generations before him enjoyed success with ingenious inventions, including a wooden leg used as a secret tool for a trick. Theo took a different tack: partly because of his hearing difficulties, he decided to play an Asian during his act. This allowed him to hide his handicap. He had taken his stage name from the capital of Japan, of which he had made an anagram. Okito travelled all over the world for his shows and is therefore considered one of the biggest names in Dutch magic history. His son, David Bamberg, achieved fame as Fu Manchu. In Amsterdam-Osdorp, in the artists’ district, a street is named after the magic family. A magic club in North Brabant bears the same name as Okito.

Larette’s suicide in his Amsterdam magic studio

Another Jewish magician with international success can also be linked to Amsterdam: Cornel Hauer (1889-1943), known as Larette. Remarkably, like Okito, he was hearing-impaired. Originally from Vienna, Larette moved to the Netherlands in the early 1920s. The well-known Amsterdam theatre agent Max van Gelder played a role in this. After living in a number of places in The Hague, Hauer settled in our capital around 1930. On Herengracht, Valeriusstraat, Hortusplantsoen and Willemsparkweg near the Vondelpark, among others, Cornel occupied houses over the years and ran studio Larette, a magic shop where tricks and books were available. During World War II, on the night of Thursday 13 to Friday 14 May 1943, the court magician committed suicide. Just before this act, Germans had caught him possessing a radio and listening to a banned station, after which they rang the doorbell of Larette’s magic studio. Thereupon, the magician had walked to his desk in the basement and grabbed a weapon from one of the drawers. After a few seconds, a loud bang followed.

In autumn 2021, restaurant Larette opened on the Veelaan in Amsterdam. The establishment bears the same name as the famous magician of yesteryear, but that is pure coincidence: the three founders of the eatery - Laurence, Rex and Texas - took the first two letters of their names and added a consonant. A disillusionment.

Ben Ali Libi, the magician

“Your paradise, how much room is there - for Ben Ali Libi, the magician?” This passage from Willem Wilmink’s poem is etched in the collective memory of the Netherlands. The text about Jewish magician Ben Ali Libi, stage name of Michel Velleman (1895-1943), was recited with emotion by Joost Prinsen. Velleman saw the light of day in Groningen and later moved to Amsterdam. He sold himself as a “humorous magician”. It is likely that Ben Ali Libi bought his tricks from studio Larette. During the war, he tried to continue earning a living from magic, but this was severely hampered by the restrictive measures put in place by the Germans. When performing was no longer possible, he decided to give magic lessons at home. In June 1943, less than a month after colleague Larette took her own life, Michel Velleman and his family were rounded up during a major raid on their house on Merwedeplein in Amsterdam. Via Westerbork in Drenthe, the magician and his family arrived in Sobibór (Poland), where they were murdered.

Amsterdam magic shops of the past

During the war, magician Cas Ziekman started the Mephisto-Huis on Willemsparkweg, a few hundred metres away from studio Larette. Later, the magic shop was located on Rooseveltlaan, where Johannes van der Park (stage name: Mr Parkito) and Freddy de Beer, among others, worked as demonstrators. Ziekman published his own magic magazine: De Magiër. Another trade magazine at the time was Triks, published by Henk Vermeyden’s magic studio of the same name. He started out as Larette’s secretary, but decided to go into business for himself in the early 1940s. Initially on Paletstraat and later on Keizersgracht and Kloveniersburgwal, Vermeyden ran a magic centre, from where he provided advice to magicians at home and abroad. Henk organised the World Magic Congress several times, including at the five-star Hotel Krasnapolsky on Dam Square. Other magic shops in Amsterdam included Hans Trixer’s Magic Scala House on the Weesperzijde and magic studio Cortiny on the Haarlemmerstraat, where Richard Ross worked in the years before he won the world title twice – in 1970 and 1973. In that shop, he inspired the later world champion Ger Copper. With regard to Amsterdam’s more recent magic history, Berry Merlin should not go unmentioned: he owned studio Merlin, which was located at several addresses, including Van Limburg Stirumstraat and Bestevâerstraat.

Magic events in Amsterdam

Illusionist Hans Klok enchants Amsterdam today. His magical dinner show at The Harbour Club in Amsterdam East is a great success, even though the theatre restaurant had to close for some time on the orders of Mayor Femke Halsema in 2022 after an attack with an explosive device. Earlier, Hans performed for weeks at Royal Theatre Carré. To promote his summer show in 2013, which featured the world-famous escape artist Harry Houdini, Klok did a spectacular stunt above the Amstel river. He had to free himself from a straitjacket within the allotted time, otherwise a life-threatening, metal construction would kill him. Countless famous illusionists also performed at Carré. Noteworthy is Kalanag, born Helmut Ewald Schreiber. He presented grandiose magic shows. Schreiber was controversial because of the contact he maintained with Adolf Hitler, among others, for whom he performed several times. His dark past as a court illusionist of the Nazis Kalanag tried to conjure away after World War II, but did not quite succeed.

Finally – back to the here and now: downtown Amsterdam hosts the Amsterdam Magic Show every month. A changing team of magicians performs a scintillating show at the Boom Chicago Rose Theatre on Rozengracht. Since 2023, the Amsterdam Magic Society, a magic club with international allure, has been based in the capital.

Magician Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Dam Square includes the Royal Palace, the New Church and the National Monument.
Photo: Shutterstock/RossHelen

Magician Amsterdam

One of the highlights during a boat trip on Amsterdam’s canals is a visit to the Red Light District.
Photo: Shutterstock/RossHelen

Amsterdam in a nutshell

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands with a population of over 800,000. Many people think Amsterdam is also the capital of the province of North Holland, but that is Haarlem. The city is also known as Mokum. A’dam’s most famous football club is Ajax. In the Golden Age, the place was an important port and trading city. Famous locations include Dam Square, Museum Square and Vondelpark. The Dam Square regularly hosts a fair. There are also several markets in the Netherlands’ largest city: the Albert Cuypmarkt, Dappermarkt, Waterloopleinmarkt, Noordermarkt and the Bloemenmarkt. On Kingsday (formerly Queen’s Day), a big free market always takes place. Many children sell their old toys at this flea market. Popular places to shop are Kalverstraat, Nieuwendijk, Leidsestraat, Utrechtsestraat, Magna Plaza, Negen Straatjes and P.C. Hooftstraat. Prominent hotels include the Amstel Hotel, the Conservatorium Hotel and De L’Europe. The most famous drawbridge is the Skinny Bridge, near the Stopera. Amsterdam has two universities: the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Free University (VU). There are several institutions of higher professional education (hbo), including the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA), Hogeschool Inholland and the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. Amsterdam has ten NS stations, including Amsterdam Centraal, Amsterdam Amstel and Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA. Amsterdam Centraal station is the second busiest train station in the Netherlands; Utrecht Centraal station gets the most train passengers. Southwest of Amsterdam, in Haarlemmermeer, lies Schiphol Airport. Some 55 million passengers use this airport every year. Major events taking place in Amsterdam include Gay Pride – the best-attended event for gays and lesbians – the Grachtenfestival, the Prinsengracht concert, the Uitmarkt and the Amsterdam Light Festival. Once every five years, Amsterdam hosts Sail Amsterdam, a special boat event. Sinterklaas also visits Amsterdam with his ship; every year in November. His entry is an annual spectacle attracting many people. The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) also attracts a large audience.

Neighbourhoods and districts in Amsterdam

City Centre district

  • Centre-West: Burgwallen-Oude Zijde (a.o. Kop Zeedijk, Nes, Oude Kerk), Burgwallen-Nieuwe Zijde (a.o. Begijnhofbuurt, Nieuwe Kerk, Spuistraat-North and -Zuid, and Stationsplein), Grachtengordel-West (a.o. Leidsegracht-North and Leliegracht), Haarlemmerbuurt (a.o. Westelijke Eilanden and Westerdokseiland) and Jordaan (a.o. Bloemgrachtbuurt, Elandsgrachtbuurt and Marnixbuurt);
  • Centre-East: Weteringschans, Grachtengordel-South (a.o. Amstelveldbuurt, Reguliersbuurt and Spiegelbuurt), Nieuwmarkt/Lastage (a.o. Oosterdokseiland, Rapenburg, Scheepvaarthuisbuurt, Uilenburg, Valkenburg, Waterloopleinbuurt and Zuiderkerkbuurt), Oostelijke Eilanden/Kadijken (a.o. Czaar Peterbuurt and Kattenburg) and Weesperbuurt/Plantage (a.o. Sarphatistrook).

North district

  • East: Buikslotermeer, Elzenhagen, Waterland (a.o. Durgerdam, Holysloot and Schellingwoude-North, -East and -West) and Waterlandpleinbuurt;
  • Old North: IJplein/Vogelbuurt, Nieuwendammerdijk/Buiksloterdijk, Noordelijke IJ-oevers-East and -West, Tuindorp Buiksloot, Tuindorp Nieuwendam and Volewijck (a.o. Bloemenbuurt);
  • West: Banne Buiksloot, Kadoelen (a.o. Twiske-Oost), Oostzanerwerf (a.o. Circus-/Kermisbuurt, Molenwijk, Twiske-West and Walvisbuurt) and Tuindorp Oostzaan.

West district

  • Bos and Lommer: Kolenkitbuurt, Erasmuspark, Landlust and Sloterdijk;
  • Old West/De Baarsjes: Chassébuurt, Da Costabuurt, Geuzenbuurt, Helmersbuurt, Hoofdweg, Kinkerbuurt, Overtoomse Sluis, Van Galenbuurt, Van Lennepbuurt, Vondelbuurt and West-Indische Buurt (a.o. Paramariboplein and Postjeskade);
  • Westerpark: Central Market (a.o. Market Halls), Frederik Hendrikbuurt, Houthavens, Spaarndammer- and Zeeheldenbuurt (a.o. Westergasfabriek) and Staatsliedenbuurt.

New-West district

  • De Aker, Sloten and Nieuw Sloten: Sloter-/Riekerpolder (a.o. Nieuwe Meer) and Middelveldsche Akerpolder;
  • Geuzenveld, Slotermeer and Sloterdijken: Bedrijventerrein Sloterdijk, Geuzenveld, Slotermeer-Northeast, -South and -Southwest;
  • Osdorp: De Punt, Lutkemeer/Ookmeer, Osdorp-Centre and -East;
  • Slotervaart: Overtoomse Veld (a.o. Rembrandtpark-North and -South), Slotervaart-North and -South (a.o. Medisch Centrum Slotervaart) and Westlandgracht.

South district

  • Buitenveldert/Zuidas: Buitenveldert-East (a.o. Amstelpark) and -West (a.o. Amsterdamse Bos), Prinses Irenebuurt (a.o. Beatrixpark) and Zuidas (a.o. RAI and VU-kwartier);
  • De Pijp/Rivierenbuurt: IJsselbuurt, Nieuwe Pijp, Oude Pijp (a.o. Sarphatiparkbuurt), Rijnbuurt (a.o. Zorgvlied), Scheldebuurt and Zuid-Pijp (a.o. Diamantbuurt);
  • Old South: Apollobuurt (a.o. Minervabuurt-Centre, -North and -South), Hoofddorppleinbuurt (a.o. Surinamepleinbuurt), Museumkwartier (a.o. Concertgebouwbuurt, Duivelseiland, Johannes Vermeerbuurt, Museumplein and P. C. Hooftbuurt), Schinkelbuurt, Stadionbuurt (a.o. Marathonbuurt-East and -West, and Olympisch Stadion) and Willemspark (a.o. Valeriusbuurt-East and -West, Vondelpark-West and Willemsparkbuurt-North).

East district

  • IJburg/Eiland Zeeburg: IJburg-East (a.o. Muiderbuurt, Oosterend and Pampusbuurt), IJburg-West and -South, and Zeeburgereiland/Nieuwe Diep;
  • Indische Buurt/Oostelijk Havengebied: Indische Buurt-East (a.o. Flevopark and Zeeburgerdijk-East) and -West, and Eastern Docklands (a.o. Architectenbuurt, Borneo Island, Java Island, KNSM Island, Oostelijke Handelskade, Rietlanden and Sporenburg);
  • Old East: Dapperbuurt, Oosterparkbuurt, Transvaalbuurt and Weesperzijde;
  • Watergraafsmeer: Betondorp, Frankendael (a.o. Julianapark), Middenmeer (a.o. Linnaeusparkbuurt and Science Park-North and -South) and Omval/Overamstel (a.o. Amstelkwartier-North, -West and -South, and Weespertrekvaart).

Southeast district

  • Bijlmer-Centre: Amstel III/Bullewijk and Bijlmer-Centre (D, F and H);
  • Bijlmer-East: Bijlmer-East (E, G and K);
  • Gaasperdam: Gein, Holendrecht/Reigersbos and Nellestein (including Gaasperpark and Gaasperplas);
  • Westpoort: Westelijk Havengebied;
  • Weesp: Weesp and Driemond.

Municipalities bordering Amsterdam

Adjacent municipalities (and towns) include Zaanstad (a.o. Zaandam), Oostzaan, Landsmeer, Waterland (a.o. Broek in Waterland), Almere, Gooise Meren (Muiden), Diemen, Ouder-Amstel (a.o. Duivendrecht and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel), Amstelveen and Haarlemmermeer (a.o. Badhoevedorp and Zwanenburg).

Magician Michel van Zeist
Magician Michel van Zeist regularly performs in Amsterdam. This illusionist has been seen in venues including Koninklijk Theater Carré, Pathé Tuschinski, the Rijksmuseum and the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
Photo: Melissa Beckker (Selijn Fotografie)

Incorrect spellings of the word goochelaar are googelaar, gogelaar, choogelaar and chogelaar.