With most every summer festival cancelled in 2020, all hope is set on 2021. Fingers crossed! With a bit of luck this will be the best festival year ever thanks to everyone's renewed hunger and appreciation for the magic that happens when people get together to be together. Enjoy!
Every year, more than 55,000 pilgrims make the trek to the middle of the Dutch countryside for this musical mecca. The line-up invariably features some of the world’s best performers and musicians from the more alternative side of the spectrum. There are also restaurants, a market, relaxation rooms, arts, theatre, literature and a sauna and hot tub area.
20-22 August 2021 | Lowlands | lowlands.nl | Biddinghuizen
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.
13-22 August 2021 | Grachtenfestival | various locations
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.
26-27 June 2021 | Awakenings | Awakenings.com | Spaarnwoude
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.
27–29 August 2021 | Uitmarkt | Various locations
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.
7-8 August 2021 | Loveland | Sloterpark
Over het IJ Festival
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.
9-18 July 2021 | Over het IJ | NDSM Wharf
Comedytrain International Summer Festival
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. The exact dates for 2021 were still unclear at press time.
Every Wednesday to Saturday from through July | Comedytrain International Summer Festival | Toomler |
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).
24-25 July 2021 | Milkshake Festival | Westerpark
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. The exact dates for 2021 were not yet clear as of press time.
July | Festival Trek | festival-trek.nl | Amstelpark
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.
13-29 August 2021 | De Parade | Martin Luther King Park
Currently scheduled for 5 September, ZeeZout brings together top DJs for a day of killer tunes. The focus is local, which means you’ll get an in-depth perspective on the Dutch electronic music scene. Keep an eye on their website for all the details.
4 September 2021 | ZeeZout | zeezout.info | Tuinen van West
Haarlem Jazz & More
Great news for fans of jazz music, the Haarlem Jazz Festival is going ahead this year but with an amended programme. The free sit-down event will unfold in the city’s historic centre, and easily is accessible for everyone. What’s not to love?
19-22 August 2021 | Haarlem Jazz & More | various locations in Haarlem
Join the LGBTI community and celebrate. While the focus is always on the Canal Parade on 7 August, there are 100s of other events to join in on. And it's not all parties: you can take the Pride Walk and find out about all the important LGBTI locations in Amsterdam. Happy Pride!
31 July - 8 August 2021 | Pride Amsterdam | various locations
Amsterdam Fringe Festival
It’s all about undiscovered and untamed makers at Amsterdam Fringe Festival. The varied programme features a wide range of artists and performers with an independent spirit. Thankfully, the 2021 edition is going ahead which means 11 big days of inventive theatre and dance. About half of the programme is suitable for non-Dutch speakers.
2-12 September 2021 | Amsterdam Fringe Festival | various locations
Dutch Theatre Festival
Each year the Dutch Theatre Festival presents a stellar selection of theatre, talks and workshops as part of this exciting festival devoted to creativity. It’s all about providing audiences with ground-breaking performances and stage shows that immerse, challenge and enchant. Don’t worry, many performances are in English or don’t require you to be a master of the Dutch language.
3-13 September | Dutch Theatre Festival | various locations
On the roof
Head to HoogtIJ in Amsterdam Noord this summer for a series of intimate concerts on the roof. Sit back as local musicians treat your ears to an aural experience as you take in exceptional views, hopefully with a stunning sunset as a backdrop on the evening you attend. Seats are limited.
July through September | On the Roof | HoogtIJ
Check What’s On for more festivals.