With the tulips in bloom and spring in the air, there is no better place to be than in Amsterdam during the long Easter weekend (18 to 21 April 2014).
Enjoy an exquisite brunch in one of Amsterdam’s finest hotels, hunt for eggs in a historical zoo, visit one of the city’s museums or simply come to admire the flowers – there’s plenty to do from Friday to Monday for a fun and relaxing weekend break.
Flowers, flowers everywhere
Easter perfectly coincides with the best time to see Dutch flowers in their full glory! The fields in the countryside bloom with crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips from the end of March through to the beginning of May. For the ultimate flower experience, take a day trip to the Keukenhof – the world’s largest outdoor flower expo. To surround yourself in flowers without leaving the city, pay a visit to the Hortus Botanicus, the Amsterdam Tulip Museum or the famous floating flower market.
Amsterdam’s weekly outdoor markets are also open during the Easter weekend. You can pick up supplies for your own Easter brunch, dinner or perhaps (fingers crossed!) even a picnic. Keep your eyes open for traditional Easter treats like paasstol (bread with dried fruit and almond paste), coloured eggs and spring lamb. The Albert Cuypmarkt, Dappermarkt and Ten Katemarkt are open on Friday and Saturday, while the organic markets at the Noordermarkt and Nieuwmarkt are open on Saturday. Pure Markt will also host a special Easter edition on Sunday 20 April at Beatrixpark.
Fun for the kids
On Easter Sunday, local petting zoos in Amsterdam often host special Easter parties with an egg hunt, egg decorating, festive treats and fun activities. Around Easter, farms in the Amsterdam area also hold 'lamb days' where kids can cuddle and feed new-born lambs.
Artis Royal Zoo always has a fun line-up of activities scheduled during the Easter holiday. This year’s programme has yet to be confirmed, although there will be special (educational) egg hunts taking place between 14 and 21 April.
For big and small kids, head to Dam Square, which is once again home to the Kermis (funfair) from 17 April to 1 May. Be it a casual trip on the Big Wheel, or some of the faster rides, you'll definitely catch a unique view of the city centre!
Easter brunches & family-friendly meals
During Easter weekend, you'll find special brunches and dinners to suit every taste and budget. The Hard Rock Cafe hosts a Hip Hop Party for the kids on Easter Sunday (10:00-11:30), with egg and face painting and a buffet breakfast. On Sunday and Monday, the Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat) will host brunch and Easter cruises including all-you-can-eat pancakes plus other festive treats.
A few impressive locations offer brunches or lunches including the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Sofitel Amsterdam The Grand, Andaz Amsterdam, Amstel Intercontinental Hotel and Grand Hotel Amrâth. Advance reservation is highly recommended.
On Monday 21 April, from 12:30, families can enjoy puppeteering with a difference during an Easter lunch in combination with a performance of The Magic Flute at the Amsterdam Marionette Theatre.
One famous classical composition tends to dominate Amsterdam’s concert halls and churches around Easter time: Johan Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion. But classical music fans can also embrace a variety of momentous Christ-inspired works, check out our Passion concert listing to find out what’s in store.
Away from those traditional works, other classical treats can be found in Amsterdam, such as the Schellingwouder Festival in the Schellingwouderkerk in Amsterdam-Noord. This picturesque waterside church hosts an intimate classical music festival from 18 to 21 April. Due to the restricted capacity, reservations should be arranged by emailing email@example.com.
Major events and performances
If you're after grand spectacles, there are two major family-friendly, language-no-problem theatrical performances taking place throughout the weekend. Riverdance, the Irish stepdancing classic, returns to Amsterdam's Heineken Music Hall from 18 to 20 April, some 20 years after going global. Then there's the Chinese National Circus, who'll perform their Shanghai Nights show at RAI Theater from 18 to 20 April.
Or, for adults with energy to burn, the DGTL Festival returns to the NDSM-Wharf to present around 80 DJs and live acts from the underground electronic music scene. Read more about the two-day event.
A number of churches in Amsterdam conduct English services for both visitors and international residents, especially during Easter and Christmas. Have a look at the overview of English services in Amsterdam if you’d like to attend an Easter service.
Shopping & sightseeing
The majority of Amsterdam’s museums and attractions are open during the Easter holidays. In the city centre most shops will be open, but they may close earlier than usual. If you would like to visit a specific attraction or shop, please confirm the opening times with each individual location.
Spring is a lovely time to explore the many attractions that are just a short trip from Amsterdam. Here are a few tips for places to visit during your Easter break:
- Zaanse Schans: The Zaans Museum & Verkade Pavilion typically organise a variety of Easter activities like decorating chocolate eggs and an Easter treasure hunt.
- Keukenhof: In addition to the amazing flower gardens, the Easter Bunny makes an appearance each day from Good Friday to Easter Monday (11:00 – 15:00) to hand out eggs.
- Duin & Kruidberg Estate: On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, visit this sprawling country estate for Easter brunch, high tea or dinner.
For more information about visiting Amsterdam during the Easter break or for assistance booking accommodation, contact the Visitor Information Centres:
Tel: +31 (0)20-702 6000 (closed on Monday, 21 April)