Amsterdam’s festival calendar is a busy one and whenever you visit, it is likely that there will be a festival taking place somewhere in the city.
For those who visit Amsterdam during the winter time it is by far the quietest time as far as festivals go but there are still a few to enjoy. The Realisme Art Festival takes place in mid-January every year at Central Station where visitors can spend hours exploring the hundreds of stalls exhibiting and selling various figurative art works.
February welcomes the Chinese New Year and revellers take to the streets in their thousands and parade through China Town and Zeedijk. Drinking and dancing as well as Chinese arts and crafts stalls are on offer.
Entrance for the 21st Century Tuba Festival is free and features a mixture of music played on a tuba and saxophones and is held in the Conservtorium van Amsterdam.
April is a busy month for festivals and one of the biggest and best is held every year; the Queensday Festival. These festivities celebrate the Queen Mother’s birthday but are actually just a good reason to take to the streets and party! Everyone wears orange clothing and one should expect loud music and partying until the early hours. Amsterdam hotels during this period are often fully booked.
5 Days Off Amsterdam is also held in April and this lively music event is loud and vibrant. Bands play from all over Europe and the US and partying often spills out onto the streets after the music has stopped.
The Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival is a week-long event that takes place in various locations around the city. It has been running for 24 years and consists of film buffs celebrating classic movies from all genres including sci-fi, horror, anime, fantasy and thriller.
The Holland Festival is another hugely popular time to visit the city and is a celebration of the arts. Dance shows, opera performances and theatre productions are on offer and this is the largest festival dedicated to the performing arts sector in the whole country.
Food lovers will enjoy the Taste of Holland Festival that takes place every June over a long weekend. Exhibition stands filled with delicious food and drink provided by some of the best chefs in the city is on offer and visitors get to meet the chefs and enjoy lots of Champagne.
The Amsterdam Roots Festival is all about music and culture and it lasts for one week at the end of June. Non-western music is the focus here and different classes and workshops are also on offer.
The three-day Capoeira Film Festival is an unusual one as it combines the celebrations of art, dance, music and martial arts practised by the black African people in Brazil.
July welcomes the Comedy Train International Festival and this is a must for any would-be comedians out there. Comedians from around the world flock to take part in this festival and partly due to it taking place in the heart of summer; if you want to book an Amsterdam hotel during this period you should book in advance.
Gay Pride is the main highlight of August and numerous parades and floats meander down the canal streets while party goers drink, eat and dance throughout the day and the night. Anything goes at this festival and everyone is welcome to join in the fun.
The Jordaan Festival is a festival that includes children’s games, stalls selling various goodies, a flea market, operas, cabaret shows and an auction.
There are no festivals but the oldest marathon in the Netherlands takes place in Amsterdam in October and attracts many visitors.
pAn Amsterdam is all about antiques as many stalls and set up exhibiting and selling old antiques. pAn is fun to wander around even if you don’t wish to purchase anything.
Although not strictly a festival, New Years Eve is well worth visiting Amsterdam for and few cities party harder than here. Parties take place on the streets and in the various bars and pubs, all accompanied by a huge fireworks display at midnight.