Lowlands CC BY 20 Graham of the Wheels via Flickr

Every year, more than 55,000 pilgrims make the trek to the middle of the Dutch countryside for this musical mecca. This year’s line-up features some of the world’s best performers and musicians. As well as headliners Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz and N.E.R.D, stand-outs for 2018 include Bonobo, The War on Drugs and Maribou State. There are also restaurants, a market, relaxation rooms, arts, theatre, literature and a sauna and hot tub area.

17–19 August, Biddinghuizen, www.lowlands.nl

Grachtenfestival Amsterdam

Amsterdam Grachtenfestival Jeroen C. van Zijp

Held annually on Amsterdam’s picturesque canals, the magnificent Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival), is one of the cultural highlights of summer in the city. Numerous classical music events take place on stages at special locations around the city’s waterways during this 10-day festival.

10–19 August, various locations, www.grachtenfestival.nl


Johan Vivie Awakenings Amsterdam

Awakenings features more than 100 acts and DJs from across the spectrum of techno and house. As well as established international superstars, this year’s line-up features a host of up and coming talent. Eight futuristic stages transform the area into one huge audio arena.

30 June–1 July, Spaarnwoude, www.awakeningsfestival.nl/en


Cris Toala Olivares Uitmarkt festival Amsterdam

This free festival is one of the country’s most popular cultural events and the traditional opening of the cultural season. It features more than 300 performances across 30 stages, from classical music to hip-hop.

25–27 August, Oosterdok, www.uitmarkt.nl


Niels de Vries Loveland festival Amsterdam

Held in the beautiful surroundings of Sloterpark on a peninsula jutting out into the Sloterplas lake, this event boasts six stages of international stars and the freshest Dutch acts.

11 August, Sloterpark, www.loveland.nl

Over het IJ Festival

Saris en den Engelsman Over het IJ festival Amsterdam

This festival boasts amazing theatre, poetry, improv, dance and delicious food. Specialising in location-specific theatre, you can catch one-off performances in the most unexpected of places.

13–22 July, NDSM Wharf, www.overhetij.nl

Comedytrain International Summer Festival

Amsterdam standup comedy

This world-famous event features sensational stand-up comedy performances. Featuring top stand-up talent from around the world, each week two comedians perform across four nights.

Every Wednesday to Saturday from July 4–Aug 4, Toomler, www.comedytrain.nl

Milkshake Festival

Milkshake Festival Amsterdam

Milkshake is an event with a clear message about respect, freedom, love and tolerance. Each stage has its own defining character and acts. Expect everything from top DJs to drag acts and performance art (and loads of glitter).

28–29 July, Westerpark, www.milkshakefestival.com

Trek Festival

Trek food truck festival Amsterdam

Amstel Park transforms into a magical open-air restaurant where you can sample everything from sushi and Surinamese to vegetarian snacks and burgers. There’ll also be cocktails, theatre acts, a line-up of ‘80s tunes and classic fairground rides.

13–15 July, Amstelpark, www.festival-trek.nl

The Parade

Merijn Roubroeks Parade festival Amsterdam

There’s something for everyone at the Parade – whether you’re a die-hard theatre devotee or just along for the ride. Expect to see unique theatre, dance, mime, and musical acts in open-air and secret locations.

17 August–2 September, Martin Luther King Park, www.deparade.nl