Amsterdam is very proud that so many fantastic occasions will take place in and around the city this year, but it will also result in some busier-than-normal periods. If the buzz of crowds and big names gets you excited, great! Read on and plan accordingly. But even if you’d prefer to avoid the masses and keep it lower key, don’t worry, we still have you covered.

Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix 2020 – 1-3 May 2020

Max Verstappen racing at Circuit Zandvoort.  

Dutch motor racing fanatics have loved watching the rise of Max Verstappen in recent years, boosting the profile of Formula 1 even higher. So it’s extra special that Formula 1 is stopping off at the renewed Zandvoort circuit this year, just a short hop outside of Amsterdam. It’s actually the first time that a Formula 1 GP will take place in the Netherlands since 1985, so every session and side-event is sure to be electric.

What can you expect?

Huge crowds are expected at and around the circuit, with fans travelling from all over the Netherlands and beyond. Keep in mind that during the race weekend, no cars or motorbikes will be allowed in Zandvoort, so if you plan on getting close to the action, please travel by train, bike, moped or on foot. And plan your journey well in advance, taking into account that everything will probably take longer than usual because of the popularity of the event.

What are the alternatives?

Most of the great F1 drivers started in the world of karting, which offers its own fast and furious thrills. So if you’d prefer to be behind the steering wheel, zooming around the track, head to Race Planet Amsterdam. Or even seek out a racing experience without risk, such as the classic racing arcade games found at TonTon Club and Gamestate

Of course, if you prefer Zandvoort for its super beach and expansive sea views, this might be a weekend to skip. Perhaps dip your toes into the sand at one of Amsterdam’s urban beaches, which are just getting into the swing of things for the new season. You can still break out your swimming costume and enjoy a dip, if the weather permits. Or if your heart really is set on the seaside, IJmuiden is a little bit further north and has other historic attractions like the Fortress Island.

 

UEFA Euro 2020 – various dates in June

  

UEFA’s roaming Euro 2020 is set to be the first time that a major men’s international football competition has taken place in the Netherlands since the European Championships in 2000. With this new tournament taking place across a number of European footballing cities, it’s no surprise that the Johan Cruyff ArenA was chosen to host four matches – three group matches featuring the Dutch national team, plus one round of 16 match.

What can you expect?

Tickets for the matches themselves will be hard to come by, but this football feast can be experienced all over the city. For example, the Football Village will be established on Museumplein, hosting lots of extra entertainment for local and international fans – think art, music, sporting activities, food and drink. And if you’re seeking a big match atmosphere, all of Amsterdam’s Euro 2020 matches will be broadcast live at the Fan Zone in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium. Or head to pubs and venues throughout the city – such as the viewing parties in Q-Factory. Understandably, the area around the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Zuidoost will be very busy, potentially affecting access to the shopping areas around the stadium on match days.

Het Bacchus Wijnfestival

What are the alternatives?

If you prefer the thrill of slotting a shot into the top corner, well there’s no need to miss out in Amsterdam. Grab a ball and head to one of Amsterdam’s parks for a run around. Or for something more organised, visit Powerleague Amsterdam to rent a field and host your own championship with friends.

Erm, do you actually hate football? That’s okay. If you’d love to get as far away from the matches as you possibly can, worry not. Overlapping events include the Bacchus Wijnfestival at Amsterdamse Bos, where you can indulge in quality wine amidst the beautiful forest setting, Church Night, in which special programming will take place in monumental churches, and there’s also the Luminosity Beach Festival at Bloemendaal aan Zee.

 

Pride Amsterdam – 26 July-2 August

Canal Parade

Get set for the 25th edition of Pride Amsterdam, stretching across nine glorious days of parties, events, parades and almost anything else that could float your boat. Its most spectacular gathering is undoubtedly the Canal Parade, taking place on 1 August, but the wealth of (street) parties and mini-festivals will see all of Amsterdam decked out in rainbow flags for the duration.

What can you expect?

Nine full days of LGBTI parties, concerts, comedy events, debates, lectures, marches, mini-festivals and much more. Of these, the Canal Parade attracts the biggest crowds, taking over the waterways as 80 glamourous floats make their way through the city centre. Remember that it gets extremely busy along the parade route, so stake out a spot early on. And boating traffic on the canals is also greatly affected – it’s no longer possible to follow the route with your own boat and many diversions will be in place to bypass the route.

Pride at the beach 2018 Cris Toala Olivares

What are the alternatives?

Pride Amsterdam has much more going on than just the Canal Parade. Take a good look at the Pride Amsterdam programme and get inspired by events taking place in every corner of the city (and outside it). For example, Pride at the Beach in Zandvoort offers a host of seaside treats and festivities, the Javaplein in the Oost neighbourhood will host a colourful mini-festival, and the Mercatorplein in West is a great spot to catch open-air movies this year.

 

SAIL Amsterdam – 12-16 August

This major maritime event literally sails into the centre of Amsterdam every five years and it’s a very big deal. In fact, SAIL Amsterdam is the biggest free event in the Netherlands. Marvel at the wealth of maritime history on display, from grand tall ships like the 109-metre Dar Mlodziezy from Poland and the four-masted schooner Santa Maria Manuela from Portugal, through to smaller working vessels of all shapes and sizes.

What can you expect?

It gets very busy on and off the water during SAIL, especially around the River IJ where the spectacular tall ships are moored. It pays to check out the various walking routes before you visit, and these will also be well sign-posted throughout the city. Good news: the free public transport ferries will keep sailing across the River IJ as usual and will be used by lots of SAIL visitors.

Ijsselmeer

What are the alternatives?

The SAIL In and SAIL Out parades are spectacular sights and draw huge crowds. But you can also get ahead of the game and visit PreSail IJmond (9-11 August). Many of the ships will gather here and there will also be special events, but crucially, it’s all on a smaller scale, making it a bit more accessible for some visitors. 

If you’re feeling inspired by all this maritime magic, you can leave the crowds behind by renting a boat and heading out onto the IJmeer lake, which often offers perfect sailing conditions and all the peace and quiet you could desire.

Get set for a sparkling spring and summer in the Amsterdam Area. Check out what’s on during specific dates or get inspired by the monthly highlights!