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Festivals and Annual Events in Amsterdam

Thoughout the year Amsterdam offers variety of cultural events and festivals, many of them with an English-speaking public in mind. Each month, there are also smaller and less regular events listed in our What's On in Amsterdam section.

Calendar of annual events in Amsterdam: April 2014 - May 2014 - June 2014 - July 2014 - August 2014 - September 2014 - October 2014 - November 2014 - December 2014 - January 2015 - February 2015 - March 2014

  • Events outside of Amsterdam
  • January

    Realisme Art Fair
    mid-January of each year, 2015 not confirmed yet
    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.

    Amsterdam International Fashion Week
    Grachtenfestival end of January each year
    Twice a year, an event presenting young and upcoming fashion in Europe, takes place in Amsterdam. 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.

    February

    Chinese New Year
    19 February 2015
    Festival through Zeedijk and Chinatown.

    March

    National Restaurant Week
    The next Restaurant Week will take place from August 22nd - September 7th, 2014!
    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: http://www.restaurantweek.nl/lang/en

    5 Days Off Amsterdam
    5 days off Amsterdamchanging dates each year, 5 March - 9 March in 2014
    Probably the loudest event 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.
    www.5daysoff.nl

    BlijBurg
    from Saturday, 22 March 2014
    Ijburg, (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!
    www.blijburg.nl

    Silent Procession
    Sunday night around March 15 each year, in 2014: on March 22
    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 event, 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.
    www.stille-omgang.nl

    April

    Queensday Amsterdam

    Koningsdag - King's Day
    Saturday, April 26, 2014
    Day before the King Willem-Alexander birthday, because the King’s birthday falls on Sunday.
    Amsterdam Kingsday (formerly Queensday) is officially the national celebration of the birthday of the King, but this in reality is only an excuse to party hard. The celebrations takes place all over the Netherlands, but have a special atmosphere in big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague.
    In Amsterdam, Kingsday is by far the largest open-air festivity, with estimated 750-thousend people come to the city, wisely arriving by train. Places in centre like Dam, Damrak, Rokin, Rembrandtplein, Spui, Leidsestraat and Leidseplein are bursting with crowds celebrating and wearing orange.. On Kingssday, 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 business talents offering various attractions.

    Imagine Film Festival
    9 April - 18 April 2014
    30th edition of the Imagine Film Festival promises a week full of fantasy, anime, thriller, cult, horror and sci-fi. Screenings this year are at EYE Film Institute.
    www.imaginefilmfestival.nl

    May

    Taste of Amsterdam
    Taste of Amsterdam 15 May - 18 May 2014
    A culinary festival during the prolonged weekend in Amsterdam. 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.

    June

    Holland Festival
    Art Amsterdam exhibition 1 June - 29 June 2014,
    tickets may be ordered from March 4, 2014

    Holland Festival is the biggest in the Netherlands performing arts festival of international character. It brings events 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.
    www.hollandfestival.nl

    Art Amsterdam
    4 June - 9 June 2014
    Art Amsterdam (previously known as Kunst RAI) is a modern art fair, which is organised each year for five days in May in the RAI exhibition and conference centre, in the south of Amsterdam. It is a big fair, with more than 120 galleries from the Netherlands and an increasing number of the foreign galleries, mainly from Western Europe and the United States. The accent is on new developments in art.
    www.kunstrai.nl

    Vondelpark Open Air Theater
    the program for 2014 will be known at the end of April
    Openluchttheatre, 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.
    www.openluchttheater.nl

    Nuit Blanche Amsterdam *TIP
    there is no confirmed date in 2014 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 in Amsterdam.
    www.nuitblancheamsterdam.nl

    The Open Garden Days (Open Tuin Dagen)
    every year third weekend of June
    The next Amsterdam Open Garden Days will be held on June 21, 22 and 23, 2014
    GrachtenfestivalAmsterdam’s gardens are perhaps its best kept secret as they’re rarely visible from the street. For this 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.
    www.opentuinendagen.nl

    International Theatre School Festival – ITS
    20 June - 27 June 2014
    Art Amsterdam exhibitionThe 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.
    www.itsfestivalamsterdam.com

    Inside Design Amsterdam
    3 days in June each year, in 2014: 27 June - 29 June
    Organized by a Dutch interior magazine Elle Wonen, the Inside Design Amsterdam event presents 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.

    July

    Amsterdam Roots Festival
    1 July - 6 July 2014 (unconfirmed)
    Each summer, the Amsterdam Roots Festival presents 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.
    www.amsterdamroots.nl

    Kwakoe Zomer Festival
    12 July - 10 August 2014
    '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 2014
    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.
    www.comedytrain.nl

    Robeco Summer Concerts (Robeco Zomerconcerten)
    July – August 2014
    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.
    www.concertgebouw.nl

    Gay Pride
    26 July - 3 August 2014, Canal Parade: 2 of August 2014 from 2 P.M.
    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 2 August, which is a carnivalesque, cultural and slightly naughty boat parade through Amsterdam's canals.
    www.amsterdamgaypride.nl

    August

    De Parade Theater Festival
    each year 17 days in the summer, in 2014: 8 August – 24 August
    De ParadeThe festival, which travel through the big cities of the Netherlands usually at the end of summer ending its cycle in Amsterdam. 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.
    www.deparade.nl

    Grachtenfestival
    15 August - 24 August 2014
    GrachtenfestivalFor 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.
    www.grachtenfestival.nl

    Prinsengracht concert
    third weekend of August each year,
    in 2014: Saturday, 23 August 2014

    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.

    Pluk De Nacht – Open Air Film Festival
    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. 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.
    www.plukdenacht.nl

    Sail Amsterdam
    Next Sail will be held in August 2015.
    SAIL Amsterdam is a large maritime manifestation that takes place every 5 years. For six days, Amsterdam 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.

    Uitmarkt
    last weekend of August, in 2014: 29 August - 30 August
    Considered to be the largest cultural event 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.

    September

    IBC Amsterdam
    IBC Amsterdam Logobeginning of September each year, 12 September - 16 September 2014
    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.

    Open Monuments DaysOpen Monuments Days
    second weekend of September each year, 13 September - 14 September 2014
    Two days in September, when many of usually inaccessible monumental building in the Netherlands open 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. Please consult the organizers website for the historical buildings near you.
    www.openmonumentendag.nl

    Jordaan Festival
    each year in mid-September, in 2014: 14 September - 16 September
    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.
    www.jordaanfestival.nl

    amsterdam drawing logoAmsterdam Drawing
    each year in mid-September, in 2014: 18 September - 21 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.
    www.amsterdamdrawing.com

    Robodock arts festival
    each year in mid-September; no dates for 2014 yet
    A unique festival 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.
    www.robodock.org

    National Restaurant Week
    one week in March and September each year
    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

    October

    Rocket Cinema Festival
    mid-October until the end of November, every two years,
    next festival will take place in 2015

    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.

    Amsterdam Dance Event - ADE
    four days in October each year, 15 October - 19 October 2014
    Huge festival of the electronic music - the most important event of its kind in the world with 700 artists participating – concerts, parties and an important ADE’s Conference. Includes the ceremony of the International Golden Gnome Awards for different achievements on the international club scene.
    www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl

    TCS Amsterdam MarathonTCS Amsterdam Marathon
    Sunday, 19 October 2014
    This 39th edition of Amsterdam marathon, one of the oldest marathons in The Netherlands.
    www.tcsamsterdammarathon.nl

    Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam
    30 October – 2 November 2014

    November

    Museum Night – Museumnacht
    1 November 2014
    On Saturday night in a first week of November each year Amsterdam’s museums open through the night, most with special programmes.
    www.n8.nl

    pAn Amsterdam – Art and Antique Fair
    third week of November, in 2014: 23 November - 30 November 2014
    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, even if you do not intend to buy anything.
    www.pan-amsterdam.nl

    High Times Cannabis Cup
    In November each year, in 2014: 23 November - 27 November 2014
    Pax Party House. Melkweg, various coffeehouses, (various times). Five days of pure hedonism: music, events, forums, and tasting sessions.
    www.cannabiscup.com

    IDFA - International Documentary Filmfestival of Amsterdam
    14 November - 25 November 2014
    Leidseplein, (various times)
    International documentary festival screens 200 documentary films and videos.
    www.idfa.nl

    Shadow festival
    end of November each year, accompanies IDFA, see above
    Art Amsterdam exhibition A small film festival, which functions in the shadow of the bigger event – the Amsterdam international documentary film festival - IDFA. The Shadow Festival concentrates on unusual and creative documentaries with an original style. It often presents the work of the students of the film schools. There are open discussions with the film author after each screening. An interesting event, which promotes exchange of new ideas.

    Arrival of Saint Nicholas
    Sunday in the middle of November each year, in 2014: 16 November
    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.

    Amsterdam Art Weekend
    28, 29, 30 November 2014
    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 events throughout the weekend, spread across various venues. The fair is also linked to the IDFA, which happens at the same time.
    www.amsterdamartweekend.nl

    December

    Christmas Day and Boxing Day
    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.

    New Year's Eve
    December 31
    New Year is another wild celebration. The Dutch often stay home with their families until midnight, and many bars 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.

    Important events outside of Amsterdam

    Keukenhof – a historic flower garden
    from mid-March to mid-May each year, in 2014: 20 March - 18 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 visitorsi.
    www.floriade.com

    Crossing Border Festival
    November in The Hague, in 2014: 13 - 15 November
    Crossing Border International Literature FestivalInternational 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.
    www.crossingborder.nl



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