In a literal sense, Amsterdam is the city of festivals. Hundreds of festivals celebrate everything from lights to music and culture every year. It’s not surprising, given the city’s diverse population. Many of the festivals available here are even internationally renowned.
Many of the festivals here are family-friendly and enjoyable for everyone. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway for two or an annual family vacation, there’s a festival in Amsterdam almost every time you visit. Check out some of the best Amsterdam festivals for your next trip.
1. King’s Day
The arrival of the Male monarch in the region is among the Events in Amsterdam celebrated as King’s Day, also known as Koningsdag in Dutch. It is one of the Netherlands’ national festivals. In April 2013, the first male Dutch monarch was welcomed. Previously, the citizens of the Netherlands celebrated Queen’s Day. The festivities for Queen’s Day and King’s Day are essentially the same, with minor differences.
This annual celebration of the Dutch monarch’s birthday should not be missed because the streets of cities and towns in the Netherlands have become very vibrant and colorful, providing a mind-blowing visual treat. The best celebrations can be seen in Amsterdam, where the massive celebrations are accompanied by several flea markets, concerts, picnics, and other activities that all can enjoy.
2. Amsterdam Dance Event
The Amsterdam Dance Event, or ADE as it is known locally, transforms the capital city into a hotbed of electronica, with parties, workshops, concerts, and events taking place throughout the city. You can hear your favorite DJs worldwide, including old-school legends, the newest up-and-comers, and underground icons.
You can buy memorabilia, meet industry figures, and watch live performances. If you’re a raver of any kind, this is the event to attend, and thousands of people flock to Amsterdam to see the artists and events on display.
3. Amsterdam Gay Pride
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people attend Amsterdam’s citywide gay pride festival, which takes place the first weekend in August. The Canal Parade, which takes place on Saturday, is one of the unique parades in any pride festival.
Around 80 decorated boats filled with female and male partygoers add to the excitement of the 300,000+ revelers. Street parties, such as the Friday night Drag Queen Olympics at the Westermarkt, are a big part of the weekend event. On Sunday, the traditional Pride Closing Party takes place on a massive stage at the Rembrandtplein, featuring many Dutch artists and awesome DJs.
4. Amsterdam Light Festival
If you’re planning a winter trip to the Netherlands, take advantage of the Amsterdam Light Festival, which runs for 55 nights from late November to early January. Explore the nearly 40 large-scale light installations that dot Amsterdam’s already picturesque canals. Because winter days are short, it will begin to get dark as early as 4 pm, allowing you to attend the festival while also planning a night out in Amsterdam. A free 90-minute walking tour called “The Illuminade” and a paid boat cruise takes you alongside and even under some installations.
5. Open Garden Days
During the third week of June, Amsterdam celebrates Open Garden Days, highlighting the city’s beautiful private gardens open to the public. These gardens are considered some of the best-kept secrets and hidden gems along the city’s canals. Seeing them in person is a breathtaking sight to behold, with brilliant colors and elaborate layouts.
Around this time, about 30 gardens are open to the public annually. Tickets are required, but one ticket grants access to all participating gardens. You can also book passage on a special boat that will take you from one garden to another along the canal.
Rotterdam International Film Festival
This major Netherlands event in 2023 promises to be an exciting experience for all moviegoers. This festival features some of the best short films and clips portraying diversity and encouraging interaction between directors and viewers. There are many events and performances during the film festival, and visitors can mingle and interact with the actors and filmmakers. Local and international films are shown here, and the best of the best advance to compete in more significant competitions. This festival would be enjoyed by all travelers and is a must-see in Rotterdam during January and February.
Other Fun Things to Do in Amsterdam
Admire the Architecture of the Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum opened in 1895 and is the most renowned Dutch museum for contemporary designs and arts.
Although the museum isn’t open during night hours, take a stroll to see the contrast between the historic wing, which dates back to 1895, and the new wing, which has bathtub-like architecture.
During the day, you can stroll through the Stedelijk Museum’s gallery, which contains furniture, ceramics, posters, jewelry, and other items depicting the evolution of design from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. Over 90,000 artifacts by world-renowned artists like Cézanne, Chagall, Picasso, Kandinsky, Marlene Dumas, Malevich, and Matisse are housed in this museum.
Visit NXT Digital Art Museum
You can interact with and immerse yourself in audiovisual artworks at the NXT Digital Art Museum in Amsterdam.
This is the first museum in the country dedicated to new media art. The museum has ten separate art installations, allowing you to interact mentally, physically, and emotionally with the art.
Large-scale art ambitious commissions and installations by renowned and emerging designers, technologists, artists, and scientists are among the exhibitions at NXT Museum. Aside from the exhibition space, the museum has a residency program that encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge and skills.
Stroll Through the Red-Light District
The Red-Light District (or De Wallen in Dutch) is Amsterdam’s most well-known tourist destination. At night, you can explore the famous neighborhood’s winding alleyways and red-lit windows while learning about its long history. In addition to street-side brothels, this area is home to a few notable museums, including the Red-Light Secrets Museum and the Erotic Museum. The Amsterdam Red Light District also has well-lit canals, bustling restaurants, and several bars and Dutch coffee shops where visitors can relax.
Only adults are permitted on the district’s various tours, which share the history of Amsterdam’s oldest neighborhood and the ladies who work behind the famous red-lit windows. A stroll through this neighborhood provides a glimpse behind the scenes of Amsterdam’s rich history and relaxed atmosphere.
So, yes, there are some fantastic events in Amsterdam! And if you don’t have set dates to visit Amsterdam, we strongly advise you to plan your trip around one of these events. Remember that most of these festivals draw a large crowd to the city. So, if you intend to stay in Amsterdam, make your reservations as soon as possible.