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If there’s one thing Amsterdam loves, it’s a party, and there are plenty of world-famous events in Amsterdam every year which celebrate various aspects of the city’s cultural make-up. Whether you’re visiting for arts, music, cultural events or culinary expertise, there’s a festival for you.
Music is a big deal in Amsterdam, particularly dance music, so it’s no surprise to see that there are plenty of musical events on the calendar each year.
Every October there is Amsterdam Dance Event, which includes shows, concerts, conferences, workshops and more, culminating in an event at the Amsterdam Arena where the current best DJ in the world is named.
For something completely different, try the Opera in the Garden festival. More classical music can be found at the Grachtenfestival, which focuses on younger, up-and-coming talent.
Meanwhile, underground music fans can enjoy the Sound of the Underground festival (SOTU) every April, which highlights the best new music.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids busy on your trip to Amsterdam, then you’re in luck!
Cinekid is the largest international film, television and new media festival in the world, and is held every autumn. Children get to experience over 500 media productions including feature films, documentaries, short films, animations and more.
Science Weekend is an educational weekend designed to teach kids the wonders of science. Taking place at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Science Park and NEMO Science Centre, there will be special events covering biology, chemistry and physics.
Every June, visitors can take part in the WESTwaARTS festival in Amsterdam’s Erasmuspark. Offering family-friendly theatre performances, food, drinks and music, as well as craft and dance workshops!
The biggest of cultural events is King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day), which is celebrated on 27 April to commemorate the birth of King Willem-Alexander. Visitors can take part in the flea markets, festivities and parties throughout the city.
Every winter the arrival of Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) marks the beginning of pre-Christmas festivities in the city. Sinterklaas arrives in the city by steamboat or on horseback with his servant Zwarte Piet and parades through the city for a truly magical winter experience.
The Light Festival sees wonderful illuminations take over the city each year in the winter.
Holland has a large population of Indonesian descent, and INDOmania – a celebration of all things Indonesian – is growing in popularity every year.
Food Festival Amsterdam takes place each March in the colossal Europahal. You can sample street food and light bites from a number of pop-up restaurants and cafes. The festival is free to attend, although you pay €5 to rent a glass
Another fantastic food festival is Taste of Amsterdam, which takes over Amstelpark each summer for 4 days of food-related frenzy. Jazz music plays in the background while Amsterdam’s top chefs fashion sample-sized portions of their best dishes and live cook-offs take place. General entry costs €12 and you have to pay for your food in tokens.
The Amsterdam Craft Beer Festival also takes place in June, with breweries coming from all over the country to partake in tasting sessions and set up shop while revellers enjoy live music, DJs and food.