Festivals and Annual Amsterdam Events
Thoughout the year there is a variety of cultural Amsterdam events and Amsterdam festivals. Many of them with an English-speaking public in mind. You can have a look at our Dutch holidays page. Also each month, there are also maller and less regular events listed in our What's On in Amsterdam section. Also many events out of Amsterdam listed at the bottom of this page are worth the travel. Have a look at our Amsterdam events calendar:
Every year, on the third Saturday of January
Official launch of the tulip season. Every year, on the third Saturday of January, Amsterdam’s Dam Square is filled with approximately 200,000 tulips. These tulips are specially arranged to make a giant temporary garden, which is open to the public for flower picking.
mid-January of each year, 15 January - 18 January 2015
A lively art fair conveniently located near the Central Station, dedicated to exclusively the figurative art. It occupies one big hall of the new Passenger Terminal Amsterdam.
end of January each year
Twice a year, these Amsterdam events present young and upcoming fashion in Europe. AIFW tries to establish Amsterdam on the existing fashion map where Paris, Milan and London dominate. The idea behind the Amsterdam International Fashion Week is to make a step towards art, and while showing new fashion collections and to create the whole range of events like fashion photography exhibitions, museum exhibits about clothing, meetings of retailers and of course parties.
Chinese New Year
19 February 2015
Festival through Zeedijk and Chinatown.
changing dates each year, 4 March - 8 March 2015
Probably the loudest of events in Amsterdam, "5 Days Off" is a festival of electronic music taking place at the beginning of July in several venues in Amsterdam, like Melkweg, Paradiso and Heineken Music Hall. While it has been at its beginnings an annual indoor dance event, "5 Days Off" has become last years a cultural event of international reputation, an important occasion to present what is new in the field of the electronic music, with participation of music bands from all over Europe and the US.
one week in March and September each year; 27 March - 5 April 2015
Two times a year, restaurants all over the Netherlands organize a week long event, during which they offer to their clients a full 3 course dinner for a mere € 25,-. The National Dining Week is a truly great idea giving the opportunity to taste the food at some of the best Amsterdam eating places. A list of the participating restaurants changes – to check for the place of your interest look at: www.restaurantweek.nl/en/cities/amsterdam/restaurants
Sunday night around March 15 each year, in 2015: 21 of March
In the Middle Ages, Amsterdam was an important city for the Catholics. It is here that in 1345 the Eucharistic miracle took place. To memorize this marvel Amsterdam events take place each year around March 15. The Silent Procession (Stille Omgang) of believers walks at night through the Old City. Last years the Silent Procession draws thousands of believers.
The Open Tower Day (Open Toren Dag)
last Saturday of March each year; in 2015: 28 March
Netherlands is flat but the Dutch like towers for centuries perfecting building them on their muddy uncertain land. Each year a special event - De Open Toren Dag opens for one Saturday at 10 A.M. the doors of most celebrated Amsterdam towers - historical and modern. While modern skyscrapers have lifts, to enjoy the unique view of The Old Amsterdam be prepared to climb very long stairs. Check the organisers website for the list of towers accessible.
8 April - 18 April 2015
31st edition of the Imagine Film Festival promises ten days full of fantasy, anime, thriller, cult, horror and sci-fi Amsterdam events. Screenings are at the EYE Film Institute.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Amsterdam King’s Day (Dutch: Koningsdag, formerly Queensday) is officially the national celebration of the birthday of the King, but is also an occasion to festive parties all over the country. The celebrations take place all over the Netherlands, but have a special atmosphere in big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague.
In Amsterdam, King’s Day is by far the largest open-air festivity, with estimated 750 thousand people arriving to the city, mostly by train. Places in the city centre like Dam, Museumplein, Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein and the whole Jordaan area are bursting with crowds wearing orange and celebrating. On King’s Day, all street trade all over the city is unregulated, so it is also the time for second-hand shopping. In Vondelpark the children show their talents offering various attractions.
27 May - 31 May 2015
Attempt to give the larger international meaning to the Amsterdam Art fair failed and this important modern art event presents again carefully selected Dutch modern art galleries. Held for five days in May each year in the RAI exhibition and conference centre in the south of Amsterdam, Kunst RAI is a big and interesting fair, with more than 60 galleries and hundreds of mostly young artists participating. The accent is on new developments in art.
31 May - 23 June 2015
Holland Festival is the biggest in the Netherlands. Performing arts of international character these Amsterdam events bring shows from all over the world on the fields of music, opera, theatre and dance, also draws attention to chosen films and art shows. Holland Festival also organises interesting conferences and workshops.
4 June - 7 June 2015
A culinary festival during the prolonged weekend. Exhibition stands in the park with good food from the renowned Amsterdam restaurants. An occasion to meet their chefs and to drink a glass of good wine or champagne enjoying another of pleasurable events in Amsterdam
14 June 2015
The third annual Raw Food festival will offer workshops, markets and lectures from world class speakers. You will be albe to try gourmet raw cousine, juices and wheatgrass. Talk about natural lifestile and buy fresh organic produce. Also there will be raw chef's dinner held in the evening.
Vondelpark Open Air Theater
the program for 2015 will be known at the end of April
Dutch: Openluchttheater, Vondelpark, Various times
Are you trying to cool off this summer? 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. Worth a visit just for the atmosphere.
Nuit Blanche Amsterdam
there is no confirmed date in 2015 of this festival yet
This festival serves as a laboratory for the city of tomorrow where creative energy can take place and grow. A gathering of pioneers and the curious minds. The festival creates a momentum, network, time and place for those in need for exposure, discovery and creativity. We discover, export and experiment with art, experiments, parties and music from 19:00 until 7:00 at night at different locations during these Amsterdam events.
every year third weekend of June
In 2015 it will be held on 19 June, 20 June and 21 June
Amsterdam’s gardens are perhaps its best kept secret as they’re rarely visible from the street. For this Amsterdam events weekend you can visit around 30 gardens, some of which are private gardens. You can buy one ticket that gives you entry to all the gardens, and there is a special canal boat to take you from one location to another.
19 June - 26 June 2015
The ITS festival presents the work of young theatre makers, students of theatre schools from the Netherlands and some chosen European countries, different each year. During the event, not only theatre productions but also mime shows, dance performances as well as operas by young artists are presented. Workshops and attractive parties accompany the event.
3 days in June each year, no established dates for 2015 yet
Organised by a Dutch interior magazine Elle Wonen, the Inside Design Amsterdam events present best design shops in the city, adding to it a number of special presentations, exhibits, fashion shows and lectures about design as well as free sessions of interior decoration advising and festive parties. Each year, the event has new, interesting main topics as "food design" or "landscape architecture". Inside Design organizers issue a map with shops, restaurants, galleries and museums participating in the event.
unknown dates in 2015, (Monday-Wednesday, 10am – late)
Bring a picnic and a bucket and spade to Blijburg or 'Happyville,' a man-made temporary swimming beach complete with a funky restaurant–bar, DJs and bands. A vast array of hip Dutch architecture will be on show. Just check the weather in advance!
a week in July, no established dates for 2015
Each summer these Amsterdam events present a wide range of global music and non-western culture. For over 7 days in June, the audience is offered a selection of performances, masterclasses and special projects at different locations.
Kwakoe Zomer Festival
11 July - 9 August 2015
'Kwakoe' is a weekend event that takes place every Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 8pm in July and August. In Dutch terms, that makes for about 20 days of pure dancing, eating and anything else in between. Wind down on a hot summers day with theatre, music, film, literature, sport and everything on offer at this very buzzing multicultural and family-oriented festival. The admission is € 2.50.
Comedytrain International Festival
July – August 2015
Comedy Train Amsterdam LogoToomler, Breitnerstraat 2,
(Wednesday-Friday, 8:30pm – 11:30pm)
Organised by the Toomler comedy café, the 10th edition of this annual festival features the very finest in English language stand-up comedy. With the likes of Adam Hills (Australia), Eddie Bannon (Ireland), Adam Bloom (UK), Paul Provenza (US) and Ron Vaudry (Canada), you will leave Toomler in stitches, guaranteed.
July – August 2015
Each summer, informal and entertaining classical music concerts - the Robeco Zomerconcerten take place at the prestigious location of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The Summer Concerts are sponsored, so the tickets are relatively cheap– they start at € 12,50. This is an excellent opportunity to listen to classical music in one of the world’s most famous philharmonic halls.
25 July - 2 August 2015, Canal Parade: Saturday August 1st
The Gay pride festival presents an extensive programme with sports, cultural activities and parties. The highlight of the Amsterdam Gay Pride is the canal parade on 1 of August, which is a carnivalesque, cultural and slightly naughty boat parade through Amsterdam's canals.
Gay Pride Canal Parade
Culmination of the Gay Pride Festival: Saturday August 1st
each year 17 days in the summer, in 2015: 7 August – 23 August
The festival, which travel through the big cities of the Netherlands usually at the end of summer ending its cycle at Amsterdam events. In especially constructed colorful theater tents set up in one of the city parks, small theater and circus groups, comedians and magicians give performance addressed mainly to the young audience. During 17 days around 70 performances will be given.
14 August - 23 August 2015
For ten days, special locations in the heart of Amsterdam form the backdrop for more than 80 classical music and jazz concerts. The concerts can be enjoyed in houses and gardens of hospitable local inhabitants and in concert halls, historic buildings, museums and out of doors in the area around Prinsengracht.
third weekend of August each year, in 2015: Saturday 22 August 2015
A traditional open air classical music concert held every year on Prinsengracht canal, on a temporary built stage directly on the canal’s water. Spectators traditionally arrive on their boats with wine and snacks. Unique atmosphere, especially after the fall of the darkness.
middle of August each year, not confirmed program yet
An open air film festival taking place at two youth clubs, Het Stenen Hoofd and Studio K. Both clubs have restaurants and bars and in case of cold evening they do supply blankets for these Amsterdam events. If it rains, the screenings move inside. The selection includes by and large never widely released indie films, known only from some film festivals, but also experimental shorts and unknown pieces of archival footage. Entry at Pluk De Nacht is free.
19 August - 23 August 2015
SAIL Amsterdam is a large maritime manifestation that takes place every 5 years. For six days, of this events in Amsterdam the city will be a vibrant exhibition of historic ships and nautical heritage. About 20 tall ships are expected in Amsterdam harbour, together with 500 historic sailing and motorboats.
last weekend of August
Considered to be the largest of cultural events in Amsterdam, the Uitmarkt is definitely worth a visit. Organized every year during the last weekend of August, it celebrates the official opening of the Dutch Cultural season and offers performances, concerts, exhibitions, drama, countless workshops and a book market. And if you are in doubt, the entrance is free.
3 September -13 September 2015
The true counter-culture heart of Amsterdam is exposed every year in this festival as volunteers and artists come together to showcase everything from theatre and music, to film and video games, completely free of charge. If you are looking for the unusual in Amsterdam, then look no further.
beginning of September each year, 11 September - 15 September 2015
The International Broadcasting Convention is along with the Las Vegas NAB show, the most important yearly meeting of the television, broadcasting and digital cinema professionals of the whole world. In its exhibition, IBC shows each year the latest technology equipment from all over the world, while its conference informs participants about the dominating business ideas not only regarding broadcasting technology but also content,
management as well as new trends in all fields.
second weekend of September each year,
12 September - 13 September 2015
Two days in September duting these Amsterdam events monumental buildings in the Netherlands open to the public. Ones that are usually inaccessible to the public. Luxury canal houses, palaces, castles, old farmhouses and forgotten factories – more than 4 thousand historical monuments in the whole country are accessible and may be visited for free. Consult the organizers site for the historical buildings near you.
each year in mid-September in Jordaan (various times)
A big inner city street festival celebrating the diversity of this former working class district. Features this year include drum bands, a children's festival, opera and cabaret, a boules competition, a flea market and an auction.
each year in mid-September
This art fair is held each year in NDSM, the artist’s haven located a short free ferry ride north of Amsterdam city centre. Amsterdam Drawing focuses on original art works produced on paper. This medium, less expensive for collectors than works on canvas or other media, is becoming increasingly popular and giving a great start to many young contemporary artists.
each year in mid-September; no dates for 2015 yet
Unique Amsterdam event presenting contemporary art shows in the huge, old NDSM shipyard depot, in the Amsterdam North. The atmosphere is rough, industrial, experimental. A lot of loud music, fire, smoke, noise and heavy machinery are usually elements of these performances. New and always inspiring, under condition that you are into this kind of art.
14 - 18 October 2015
Amsterdam Dance Event, also known as ADE, is a world-leading programme of electronic music conferences and parties. Every year, in the middle of October, hundreds of thousands of people come to Amsterdam to attend a range of 300 events held throughout the city.
mid-October until the end of November, every two years,
next festival will take place in 2015, no dates yet
Biannual film festival projecting interesting vintage movies, mainly American, sci-fi classics, horrors and curiosa. D-J’s and musicians are invited to compose and perform their new soundtracks live, during the screenings on these Amsterdam events.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
This 40th edition of Amsterdam marathon, one of the oldest marathons in The Netherlands.
7 November 2015
On Saturday night in a first week of November each year Amsterdam’s museums open through the night, most with special programmes and Amsterdam events.
mid-November of each year until mid-January of the year after
A series of events, evening performances and light shows as well as forty light sculptures installed for two months in the canal ring of Amsterdam. An international art festival where the light is the main medium of expression. While winter days are shorter, Amsterdam Light Festival creations reflected in water make evening walks along the canals very attractive.
third week of November, in 2015: 22 November - 29 November
The biggest national antique fair in the Netherlands takes place in Amsterdam, and lasts for the full week. No wonder, as can be no hasty decisions made in the timeless fields of art and antiques. pAn takes place at the RAI congress and exhibition center. Last years showing also more of modern art of good quality, pAn is a fun to visit Amsterdam events, even if you do not intend to buy anything.
In November each year, no dates yet for 2015
Pax Party House. Melkweg, various coffeehouses, (various times).
Five days of pure hedonism: music, Amsterdam events, forums, and tasting sessions.
18 November - 29 November 2015, Leidseplein, (various times)
International documentary festival screens 200 documentary films and videos.
Sunday in the middle of November each year; 15 November 2015
The tradition of Saint Nicholas bringing gifts to children, celebrated in many countries, is an extraordinary occasion in Amsterdam. Saint Nicholas surrounded by his black servants arrives on a deck of a ship to Amsterdam. Later, the whole parade in a festive way accompanies him to the city center. Hundreds of thousands of children greet the procession. Customarily five tons of candies are given away. The parade ends on the Leidseplein, where Amsterdam mayor welcomes Saint Nicholas.
26, 27, 28, 29 November 2015
A weekend-long art fair that showcases the best in Amsterdam contemporary art. Galleries, museums and art institutes comes together to offer exhibitions and special Amsterdam events throughout the weekend, spread across various venues. The fair is also linked to the IDFA, which happens at the same time.
December 25, December 26
If you find yourself there this Christmas here are a few suggestions to help you pass the time and incorporate a little Dutch culture into your holidays.
Saturday before Christmas each year, no 2015 date yet
A cirque animale of electronic dance music styles like deephouse and techno mix with a program of acrobatics, clowning, freak and peep shows and provide a bizarre ride through the classic circus culture and beyond. Tickets are available at the Valhalla website. Early tickets are around 50 euro.
New Year is another wild celebration. The Dutch often stay home with their families until midnight, and many bars during these Amsterdam events open just then. The spots that are seriously crowded include Leidseplein, Rembrandtsplein and Nieumarkt. Many venues offer New Year parties. From midnight the sky lights up as the whole of the city sets of fireworks.
from mid-March to mid-May each year, in 2015: 20 March - 17 May
Keukenhof is a 74 acres flower garden, probably the largest in the whole world. Typically for the Netherlands tulips are here the most important: they are usually grown in more that 100 varieties, to a total of 4,5 million flowers. Additionally there are hundreds of sorts of other flowers (all together - 7 million bulbs planted by hand) as well as beautiful sculpture park, featuring 2500 trees in 87 sorts. Keukenhof is located ca. 30 km south of Amsterdam, close to Leiden, with an easy communication to the city.
Floriade – world gardening exhibition
April to October every ten years, in 2022 in Almere
Floriade, officially called World Horticulture Fair, is a big gardening exhibition, which has been organized each ten years since 1960 in the Netherlands. The scale of the fair is enormous as Floriade usually presents almost a hundred flower shows, with participants from all over the world. The fair lasts through changing year seasons, attracting more than two millions of visitors to these Amsterdam events.
Crossing Border Festival
November in The Hague, in 2015: 12 - 15 November
International literature festival, Programme not yet available but last year’s talents included the likes of Germaine Greer, Lou Reed, Eddi Reader, the Flaming Lips, David Sylvian, Joseph O'Connor, Bob Geldof and Monica Ali.