It is a new year and there is so much to do! In 2019, Amsterdam brims with events and festivals that cover art, culture, food and more, with enough variety to satisfy almost every interest. Whether it’s abundant flowers, fresh food, the very best electronic music has to offer or celebrating Rembrandt’s many works, there’s a lifetime of fun packed into this year’s calendar.
Revel in Rembrandt
The major event throughout 2019 centres on Rembrandt van Rijn, one of the Netherlands most beloved artists. Museums around town will be showcasing Rembrandt’s work and exploring his influence on generations of artists in exhibitions that shed light on his life and times. You can discover documents uncovering little-known facts about his life at the Amsterdam City Archives, find out all about his social network and for the first time see many of his famous works together at the Rijksmuseum. You’ll want to check out our indispensable guide about what’s on during Rembrandt year 2019.
Get your art on
Us Amsterdammers have an insatiable appetite for art, and annual art fairs are growing in number, with enough variety to cover all tastes. The Unfair Art Festival in March is the place to see the latest up-and-coming talent while the Amsterdam International Art Fair in August brings together emerging and established names with a focus on modern art. Amsterdam Art Weekend and PAN Amsterdam are another two festivals not to be missed.
Two major events for photography fans take place in April and September. The always insightful World Press Photo exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk never ceases to amaze and surprise. In September, take it up a notch with Unseen Amsterdam, a visual feast complete with exhibitions showcasing cutting-edge trends, a massive book fair and a fascinating programme of lectures and talks.
With performances in the thousands, the major event in Amsterdam’s musical calendar is undoubtedly Amsterdam Dance Event. This huge programme of DJs, events, talks and far more brings together the latest thinking, acts and issues for electronic music with events happening all over town in October. In August, Dekmantel is a must with many performances taking place in the beautiful Amsterdamse Bos. Smaller festivals are peppered throughout the year including SOTU’s focus on all things alternative and the World Minimal Music festival both around April each year. Those with a penchant for banging house & techno should head to Wonderland Festival in February while underground electronica fans should head to DGTL in March. If inclusiveness, fun and frivolity is your bag then Milkshake is for you.
Grab some popcorn
IDFA is the big player when it comes to film festivals. Held in November each year it brings together documentary filmmakers from across the globe to showcase the latest stories. Its programme includes screenings, workshops, lectures and more with theme days held throughout. Be sure to check out smaller festivals throughout the year targeting specific niches such as the Imagine Film Festival, which focuses on sci-fi.
See Amsterdam in bloom
Spring means spectacular floral displays across the land and none more splendid than the Keukenhof. In 2019, they’re taking Flower Power as their theme which can only mean fabulous flowers and vibrant colour. Closer to town you’ll also find Cherry Blossom Festival in the Amsterdamse Bos.
Foodies are in for a delectable calendar of cuisine in 2019. Every month of the year is overflowing with perfectly seasoned celebrations. February is all about chocolate with the Chocoa Festival; March amps up the energy at the Amsterdam Coffee Festival; Amsterdam Restaurant Week in April opens up the doors to some of the city’s best restaurants at discounted prices; and in May there is a smorgasbord of tasty treats, from Freedom Feast, with hundreds of locations across the city, to Rolling Kitchens, when dozens of food trucks gather to create an enormous open-air restaurant in Westergasfabriek. Later in summer, you can catch TREK Food Truck Festival as it tours the Netherlands and as winter falls the Christmas Markets heat up with all kinds of festive treats.
Celebrate good times
Every April the city comes alive – and turns orange – in honour of King’s Day. This day is all about partying and hunting for bargains at the vast free markets. Pride in July/August broadens the colour spectrum with every shade of the rainbow taking over the city, all leading up to in the gorgeous technicolour Canal Parade. Kwaku Summer Festival celebrates all things diverse and cultural in the south of the city culminating in an open-air party with performances, tasty food and a fun vibe.
There’s no better way to close the year than with the Amsterdam Light Festival, which starts in November and runs through to January of the following year. This cutting-edge festival illuminates the city with fantastic lit-up artworks in the canals. It’s magical and the perfect teaser for the general glow of the holiday season.
When it comes to amazing things to do in Amsterdam, we really are spoiled for choice, and this is just a bite-sized taste of 2019’s plus-sized docket of events! Be sure to search the cultural agenda for the longer list and latest additions.