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Keukenhof - which is both a tourist attraction and a showcase for the Dutch flower-growing industry - displays millions of blooms every spring.
Image from Laurens Lindhout

Reasons to visit Amsterdam in spring

If there’s one season of the year that brings out the best in Amsterdam and its surrounding countryside, then spring must be it. As the city awakens from its wintry spell, trees along the canals burst with greenery, tulips bloom, and the parks and terraces fill with people seeking out those first rays of sunshine. Spring is often referred to as the best time of year to visit the Amsterdam area, so let’s look at some of the reasons why.

Flowers are blooming everywhere

Keukenhof Windmill and Tulips
Image from Laurens Lindhout

Tulips are one of Holland’s most famous exports, and come springtime in Amsterdam, you can’t move for these pretty petals. You’ll find plenty of flowers around the city, but for the entire floral experience, nothing beats a trip to Holland’s world-famous flower strip, or ‘bollenstreek’. Head to Keukenhof Gardens between March and May for the best blooms, or get involved in Amsterdam’s annual Tulip Festival, which runs throughout April.

It's cherry blossom and picnic season

There are 400 cherry trees in the Blossom Park in the Amsterdamse Bos.
Image from Cris Toala Olivares

The cherry blossoms in Amsterdam warrant their own mention because they're just that spectacular. From late March to early April, the pink blooms wash over the Blossom Park in Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest). It's a gorgeous view and a lovely picnic setting if the sun is out. Later in May, the cherry blossoms are surrounded by blooming rhododendrons, which add a splash of purple to the otherwise pink scene. You'll find other spots to see the blossoms – Westerpark, Museumplein, Hortus and the Rijksmuseum gardens – but time your visits well in late March – after all, beauty is fleeting.

You can dress in orange and run amok for the day

Koningsdag or King's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April, the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander. 

Celebrations: Partying, wearing orange costumes,  and traditional local gatherings.
Image from Koen Smilde

Nothing can quite prepare the unsuspecting visitor for the utter chaos of King’s Day. This citywide annual carnival takes place on 27 April and sees over a million revellers spill out onto the streets and canals to paint the town orange. Expect boat parties, street parties, house parties, bar parties and every other sort of party imaginable. Find out all there is to know about King’s Day in Amsterdam.   

You're less likely to need your raincoat

A person walking through the Sarphatipark on a sunny autumn day.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Yes really. Put all ideas of April showers out of your mind because, statistically, April is the driest month of the year in Amsterdam. Which just makes everything (including cycling) so much more pleasant. Not that you should let a bit of rain spoil your fun, though – take a look here for our pick of the best rainy-day things to do in Amsterdam, just in case.  

You can hang out in the park all day long

Vondelpark Openlucht open-air theatre classical music
Image from Vondelpark Openlucht Theatre

Amsterdam’s parks are beautiful at any time of year, but spring time really is something else. Maybe it’s because everyone is so happy to be out in the sunshine after the winter. Maybe it’s because the spring flowers and blossom-filled trees make everything feel like a painting. Or perhaps it’s down to events like Vondelpark Open Air Theatre and regular Sunday markets. Either way, parks + spring = good times in Amsterdam.

It’s cute season at the petting zoos

Image from geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve

As anyone familiar with Bambi knows, spring is traditionally the time of year when baby animals are born. And you don’t need to leave the city to witness this adorable spectacle; head to one of Amsterdam’s many petting zoos or urban farms, surrounding yourself with furry bundles of joy, including baby goats, lambs, rabbits, piglets and more.   

Festival season gets going

DJ's in the booth during DGTL Festival 2022.
Image from Kirsten van Santen

With more than 300 festivals in and around the city annually, Amsterdam’s festival programme spans all tastes and genres. And spring is when things get going on the festival front, with a host of film, music and culinary events happening practically every weekend throughout April and May.

Check out our cultural tips for spring and weekend guide to stay up-to-date on what’s on.  

You can celebrate freedom (for free) on Liberation Day

The traditional 5 mei concert on the Amstel river to celebrate Liberation Day in the Netherlands.
Image from Joël van Houdt

Every year on 5 May, Amsterdam and the Netherlands pause to celebrate the country’s liberation from German troops in 1945. To celebrate the country’s continuing societal freedoms, Liberation Day sees the city come alive with various festivals, concerts and special events, including public banquets known as Freedom Feasts and a vast floating concert on the River Amstel, attended by the King and Queen.

You can bike (almost) anywhere

De Twiskemolen in Het Twiske is located between Landsmeer and Oostzaan.
Image from Koen Smilde

While the Dutch are known to take to their bicycles in even the most treacherous of weather conditions, for those less used to the notoriously temperamental weather in the Netherlands, the spring marks the first period where there's more good weather than not. That means taking to your two-wheeled friend and exploring Amsterdam and the region beyond. Head to Twiske, the bountiful and windmill-dotted nature reserve to Amsterdam's north; head east to Muiden and quiet, dreamy Weesp or head south to Amstelveen, dubbed the green city of the region.

There's art for everyone

There's no shortage of art fairs and exhibitions throughout the year, but spring has a few more extra accessible options for anyone. Amsterdam Art Week launches towards the end of May and is the place to discover what the capital has to offer in contemporary art. For five days, discover the latest developments and debates in the field at more than 50 participating galleries, project spaces, museums, and residencies dotted around the city. Elsewhere in May, Art on Paper Amsterdam begins too, where around 50 galleries and 15 art dealers take part to show how an artist – whether with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, watercolour, gouache or collage – can bring paper to life.