There is already plenty to do in Amsterdam, but there are some days visiting the city might be even more enjoyable. We made a selection of some yearly festivals and holidays to keep in mind when picking the perfect travel date.
Koningsdag (King’s Day)
Previously known as Koninginnedag ( Queen’s Day), having had three consecutive queens, the day was renamed Koningsdag in 2013. Eventhough renamed and moved to an earlier date, it still remains one of the most popular holidays of The Netherlands. It’s a national holiday and pretty much every Dutchman has the day off. On April 27th we celebrate the fact that we are a monarchy and have a king, but for most Dutch people it’s just another excuse to go out and party. And like we love to do at major sports events a lot of people wear something orange .
You’ll find festivities in every Dutch city and being the capital, Amsterdam is where most of the events and parties take place. The Vrijmarkt (literally ‘free market’) is a nationwide flea market, at which many people sell their used goods. Koningsdag is the one day of the year that the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit and without the payment of value added tax. It’s especially popular with children, trying to earn an extra buck selling stuff or performing.
Next to the Vrijmarkt the city offers many concerts and a lot of cafes and pubs organise parties, often mostly outdoors in front of the venue. For some you need tickets, but most parties are held in the streets with DJ’s. The whole Koningsdag celebration is pretty much an outdoor experience, so the Dutch weather can be a real killjoy sometimes.
Koningsdag is a unique experience that you should visit at least once if you love to party and wear orange well.
When? April 27th every year. Unless the 27th is on a sunday, then the day will be moved to April 26th.
Pride Amsterdam is a citywide gay-festival held annually during the first weekend of August. The festival attracts several hundred-thousand visitors each year and is one of the largest publicly held annual events in the Netherlands.
The peak of the festival is during the Canal Parade, a parade of boats of large variety on the first Saturday of August. A lot of different organisations, political parties and cultural demographic groups participate in the parade. In 2014, the first Jewish boat and the first Moroccan boat participated. Also the Dutch Police participate every year since 2008 with a colorful boat.
When? Every year end of July an/or the beginning of August.
Grachtenfestival (Festival of the Canals)
Each summer in the middle of August, a unique festival of classical music and jazz takes place. Having as venue different public buildings, museums, theaters, open space places, pontoon boats on the canals, and even private houses and apartments. Some of the concerts may be attended on private boats and viewed from water, while other are held indoors and sometimes even combined with the meal.
If you’re a real music lover then visiting the city during the Grachtenfestival is a definite plus for your city trip experience.
When? Every year in the middle of August.
Only held once every 5 year, SAIL Amsterdam is a festival worth mentioning. The next edition will be in 2025 and the edition of 2020 was unfortunately canceled bacuse of Covid-19. During the last edition over 600 ships sailed into the North Sea Canal from the river IJ. The fleet usually contains a couple of dozen large ships and vessels and numerous smaller ones from all over the world.
There’s a lot to see and do during SAIL Amsterdam. Throughout the event, the city centre area will be split into zones or ‘Oceans’, each hosting themed events. If you’re looking for a family friendly event with lots to see and do for young and old, SAIL Amsterdam is the ideal celebration!
When? Once every 5 years, usually during the month of August