Explore Amsterdam, Netherlands

Festivals in Amsterdam, Netherlands

January

  • Realism Art Fair: A lively art fair in one big hall of the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, dedicated exclusively to figurative art. Amsterdam International
  • Fashion Week: showing new fashion collections and a whole range of events like fashion photography exhibitions, museum exhibits about clothing, meetings of retailers and parties.

February

  • Chinese New Year: Festival through Zeedijk and China town.

March

  • Pink Film Days. 10 days of LGBTQ films and debates.

April

  • King’s Day: (27 April, unless 27th falls on a Sunday, then it’s 26 April): The national holiday, nominally in celebration of the King’s birthday is hard to describe to anyone who’s never been there. The city turns into one giant mass of orange-dressed people (Amsterdam locals, and another 1 million or so from throughout the country visit the parties in the city) with flea markets, bands playing, and many on-street parties, ranging from small cafes placing a few kegs of beer outside to huge open-air stages hosting world-famous DJ’s. The Vondelpark is the place for children selling and performing. An experience you’ll never forget. (BEWARE: it is VERY crowded on this day, so mind your purse/wallet. Also be aware that your cell phone will be useless for most of that day as the cell network is guaranteed to break down (for both voice and data) around noon and most of the afternoon. If you want to meet up with people, schedule things beforehand. If you do not like crowds, go out of the city.)

May

  • Taste of Amsterdam: A culinary festival where you can explore the food of famous Amsterdam restaurants and their chefs.
  • Art Amsterdam: a modern art fair in the RAI exhibition and conference centre. If you want to know what the latest developments are in Dutch galleries, this is where to find them all in one place.
  • Tulip festival. Every year thousands of people come to see the tulip fields of the Noordoostpolder. The tulip bulbs that were planted a few months ago, have now transformed acres of land into a colorful spectacle.

June

  • Holland Festival: famous around the world, this Netherlands performing arts festival brings events from all over the world on the fields of music, opera, theatre and dance.
  • The Open Garden Days: Normally you can see only the front of the canal houses, but during the Open Garden Days you get to go past the entrance and see the green world behind them, many times bigger than you would have expected. You can buy one ticket that gives you entry to all participating gardens, and there is a special canal boat to take you from one location to another.
  • Amsterdam Roots Festival: an open-air (free) festival with music from non-western countries accompanied by paid film and theatre performances in the theatres of surrounding area.

July

  • Julidans (July Dance): International Contemporary Dance Festival, always showing the latest developments in modern dance.

July/August

  • Vondelpark Open Air Theatre: This free festival offers many different performances every day. Go to the open air theatre just by the fountain and let the entertainment do the work. From cabaret to drama to concerts to dance, there is something here for everyone and of all ages.
  • Amsterdam International Fashion Week: Twice a year, this event presents young and upcoming fashion in Europe and with a focus on Dutch design.
  • Robeco SummerNights: two months filled with affordable and special concerts, taking place at the prestigious Royal Concertgebouw. Genres range from Classical music to Pop and Jazz. The breathtaking Mirror Hall is transformed into the Robeco Summer Restaurant, offering 3-course gourmet dinners before concerts in the Main Hall. One of many special events, ‘SummerNights Live’, offers the opportunity to meet-and-greet musicians after the concert.

August

  • De Parade: Martin Luther King Park. Circus turns vintage, on an old-fashioned fairground with many different tents, the performers are each trying to attract their public, featuring spectacles of dance, theatre, magic, art, animation and music.
  • Gay Pride: Amsterdam gay pride on the first weekend in August. One of the biggest festivals in Amsterdam with parties, performances, workshops and a boat parade on the Prinsengracht on Saturday afternoon which is always well worth seeing.
  • Prinsengracht concert: third weekend of August each year. A free open-air classical music concert is held every year on a stage in the middle of the Prinsengracht canal. If you have a little boat, join the crowds and make sure to bring your rose wine or prosecco for full enjoyment.
  • Sail Amsterdam: tall-ships from all over the world come to visit the Amsterdam harbor every 5 years.
  • Uitmarkt: The opening of the cultural season in the last weekend of August, it offers a taste of the year to come with 30 min performances at different theaters, an extensive book market and many open-air concerts. All free.

September

  • Jordaan Festival: A big inner city street festival celebrating the diversity of this former working class district. Features can include drum bands, a children’s festival, opera and cabaret, a boules competition, a flea market and an auction.
  • Robodock arts festival: A unique festival presenting contemporary art shows in the huge, old NDSM shipyard depot, in the Amsterdam North. The atmosphere is rough, industrial, and experimental. A lot of loud music, fire, smoke, noise and heavy machinery are usually elements of these performances.
  • National Restaurant Week: Two times a year, participating restaurants offer a full 3 course dinner, allowing you to experiment a different restaurant for a change or a chance to eat affordably at one of the famous 5-star restaurants.

October

  • Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE): Usually held during the second last weekend in October, this electronic music annual festival gathers cream of the crop faces from the house and techno scenes. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid paying more at the door and queueing for hours on. Besides partying for four nights in a row, the conference offers workshops, seminars, presentations etc.
  • Amsterdam Marathon: Tens of thousands of participants run through the city, including the tunnel underneath Rijksmuseum.

November

  • Museum Night – Museumnacht: Long before the film came out; this night at the museum attracts new crowds at the traditional Amsterdam museums with special performances at unusual locations. Do as the locals do and hire a bike to go from one place to the other.
  • pAn Amsterdam – Art and Antique Fair: Third week of November. The biggest national art and antiques fair in the Netherlands.
  • IDFA – International Documentary Filmfestival of Amsterdam: screening some 200 documentary films and videos, and debates are being held.

December/January

  • Amsterdam light festival: Streets and canals decorated with lights, special boat tours, Christmas canal parade.