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Koningsdag 2018 King's day 2018
Image from Koen Smilde Photography

2024 events in Amsterdam

A new year in Amsterdam means new possibilities and events that are set to keep you entertained and excited. From staple celebrations such as Queer & Pride and King’s Day to food and wine festivals, art exhibitions and incredible theatre offerings, there’s no lack of choice in the capital. Check out this year’s Cultural Agenda to stay updated on all the city has to offer.

January 2024

Picking tulips on Dam Square
Image from Edwin van Eis

January might be a typically bleak month for many, but Amsterdam’s cosiness makes the city a little more bearable than most. New Year’s Day (1 January) is a restorative one with walks, shops and even an icy but rejuvenating plunge to enjoy. It’s a good month to explore some of Amsterdam’s cosiest neighbourhood bars, like those in snug De Pijp, or one of the many candlelight concerts that take place throughout the winter. The third Saturday of January (19 January) marks National Tulip Day, where you can pick your own tulips from a flower field on Dam Square. If you still fancy braving the cold, this is your last chance to take in the starry lights of the Amsterdam Light Festival, which runs until 21 January

Best month for: Frosty boat rides and cruises on the city centre’s quiet canals


Chinese dragon show on Chinese New Year at night
Image from ImageHit via Adobe Stock

One of the hardest things about February is that it’s basically January again, but luckily, Amsterdam has a wealth of events running that will tide you through the month. The Lunar New Year kicks off on 10 February, which is a great chance to explore historical Nieuwmarkt and Zeedijk while also sampling some of the city’s best dim sum restaurants. Romance descends on 14 February, but much of what makes Amsterdam so romantic can be enjoyed alone or with friends, as it can be with partners. Head to one of the city’s most atmospheric restaurants, stroll along the canals or take in a classical concert at the Concertgebouw or Bimhuis. And while you’re in the Dutch capital, it would be wrong not to celebrate Pancake Day (21 February); these are the pancake houses to tuck in at.

Best month for: Escaping to the riverside town of Weesp


Image from Koen Smilde Photography

The first days of spring are some of the best the capital has to offer, as our culture guide to spring proves. Ramadan begins on 10 March, and it’s worth exploring Amsterdam’s choice of spots for iftar. The National Holocaust Museum opens in March, which is set to be a reflective and essential stop for museumgoers. St Patrick’s Day (17 March) marks the moment right before the flower season hits, making it a prime opportunity to explore Amsterdam’s best Irish pubs. The major event of March, however, is the opening of the Keukenhof (21 March), a sprawling park of tulips and daffodils best explored by foot. It’s also the time when the cherry blossom season begins in Amsterdamsebos. And what better way to mark the end of March with something synonymous with Amsterdam: techno. DGTL lands (29-31 March) an environmentally sound dance music festival where you’ll find heavy hitters in the underground electronica scene. 

Best month for: Exploring the flower-filled areas in and around the city


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, flea markets, concerts, and traditional local gatherings.
Image from Cris Toala Olivares

With spring underway, most people have a pep in their step, and that’s not just because of the free-flowing caffeine at The Amsterdam Coffee Festival (4-6 April), where the capital’s best roasters come together. It’s the weather and everything happening, like the Kaboom Animation Festival (5 April) and 10 years of the Tulp Festival, which blooms across the capital throughout April. Amsterdam Wine Festival (18-21 April) cracks open the cases for a four-day fruity affair, just in time for King’s Day, which arrives on 27 April, a massive, country-wide party commemorating the reigning monarch. 

Best month for: Wandering through Amsterdam’s buzzy City Centre, dressed in orange naturally


Rollende Keukens food festival live music
Image from Luciano de Boterman

May is a contender for the best weather in Amsterdam so make the most of it by celebrating out in the city’s parks. Liberation Day (5 May) marks the Netherlands’ freedom from German occupation and sees the city celebrate with a host of concerts and activities, from Dam Square to the Jewish Quarter and beyond. Art on Paper arrives on 9 May, while for food lovers, the Rolling Kitchens (15-19 May) come to town, a food truck festival that turns part of Westerpark into an enormous open-air restaurant. Speaking of West, 24H West lands, meaning for one day in May, the capital’s westerly neighbourhood is alive all day with events that embody what it stands for. The month ends with Amsterdam Art Week (29 May-2 June).

Best month for: A visit to the cobbled streets and canal-cut towns of Old Holland


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

Summer’s arrival means Amsterdam can finally embrace its alfresco side, and the cultural agenda capitalises on the outdoors. Taste of Amsterdam June marks the start of festival season in the Netherlands and Amsterdam itself, with music at the Vondel Park Open Air Festival, rooftop screenings at On the Roof Film Festival and a little bit of everything at the Holland Festival, all kicking off and running for most of the month and in some cases, the whole summer. Taste of Amsterdam serves up its annual selection of tasty morsels, kicking off the summer food festival season (1 June), while Bacchus Winefestival takes place over two weeks (7-9 June, 14-16 June) and Red Light Jazz Festival (8-11 June) celebrates Amsterdam’s jazz heritage. And while you’re outside, you might as well savour some of Amsterdam’s green spaces – Open Garden Days begins, where visitors can explore the city’s picturesque canal gardens. 

Best month for: Uncovering the region’s history in its castles and gardens


The 'Bigi Spikri' march during Keti Koti 2022.
Image from Jan de Ridder

The middle of summer might see Amsterdammers flee for warmer shores, but the roster of events in the city’s parks entices many to stay and even more to visit. Keti Koti takes place on 1 July,  a day the capital commemorates the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Antilles. There’s plenty on, both educational and festive, all in and around Amsterdam’s oldest park: Oosterpark. Elsewhere, the contemporary dance festival Julidans takes centre stage, where you can expect magic in choreographed form and Kwaku in Zuidoost brings multicultural flavour to Nelson Mandela Park. July ends with a bang courtesy of Milkshake, a weekend-long festival (26-28 July) for the open-minded and those unafraid to show it.

Best month for: Heading out to pioneering Oostvaardersplassen in New Land


A crowd of people on the streets and in a boat with flags and signs - Pride Canal Parade
Image from Jan de Ridder

The end of summer is a sunny affair on all fronts. August is in full swing courtesy of Queer & Pride (27 July-4 August), which generously applies all manner of rainbow hues to the canals and their houses in the Canal Parade (3 August). It’s a two-week celebration which celebrates Amsterdam in all its diversity. For the techno heads, Dekmantel arrives in leafy Amsterdamse Bos (5-7 August), while classic and jazz lovers have the Grachtenfestival (9-18 August) to look forward to, where orchestras and bands play along Amsterdam’s canals. If film is your preferred medium, you’re in luck: H’ART Museum begins its open-air cinema in August, while the Bijlmerbios film festival sets up in Zuidoost. Finally, fairytales and techno combine at Mysteryland (30 August-1 September).

Best month for: Outdoor cinema rendezvous atop the roofs and along the canals


CC Amstel Theatre Theater De Pijp
Image from CC Amstel Theater

Autumn’s cool but often sunny skies set in motion the gradual shift from outdoor to indoor cultural events. The Dutch Theatre Festival (5-15 September) stages an array of spectacular performances at the same time as Amsterdam Fringe Festival invites the avant-garde to its shores, while Open Monuments Day (7-8 September) lets you take a peek inside the city’s many architectural wonders. Before the temperature drops, some Amsterdammers jump into the canals to raise money for an ALS charity in the City Swim or sign up for the Dam tot Damloop – a 16km run from Amsterdam to Zaandam. If the weather is still a little cold for you, lose yourself in storytelling at Read My World and get a glimpse of groundbreaking photography at Unseen Amsterdam (19-22 September).

Best month for: Diving into Oost’s diverse cultural agenda during 24HR Oost


People in line for Paradiso during Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 2022.
Image from Jan de Ridder

October marks the beginning of Black Achievement Month, showcasing Black achievers and their contribution to the Netherlands through performances, exhibitions and more – so head to the Black Archives as a starting point. Another big-hitter in October is Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) which descends for five days (16-20 October) of lectures, workshops, debates and, of course, parties, all centred around dance and electronic music. Elsewhere, runners not at ADE (or those with serious stamina) mobilise for the Amsterdam Marathon (20 October), while the Cinekid film festival (22-25 October) is dedicated to kids, with interactive exhibits, games and even a chance to meet the filmmakers. End the month with a trip to forest-filled Amstelveen to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. 

Best month for: Dipping your toes into Amsterdam’s thriving electronic music scene


Speaker storytelling on stage at Mezrab
Image from Mezrab

Even as everyone moves indoors, Amsterdam’s cultural agenda never stops. The International Storytelling Festival Amsterdam unfolds in late October and early November, with many of its events in English, while the city’s cultural institutions come alive on Museumnaacht (4 November) with a unique programme running well into the night. For those that celebrate, Sinterklaas arrives (18 November) to spread festive cheer. Though open to all, you might find the more serious-inclined visitor and resident at the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) from 13-24 November, which features a jam-packed programme of some of the world’s most searing documentaries. 

Best month for: A trip on the ferry over to the ever-fashionable Amsterdam-Noord


Amsterdam Light Festival lights along the canal ALF
Image from Koen Smilde

As the winter darkness descends, Amsterdam lights up, literally. Amsterdam Light Festival (1 December-20 January) is the capital’s annual banishment of the shadow, with a different theme attached to the light installations that cling to the canals and the city’s many crooked corners for December and most of January. Christmas fever well and truly descends, meaning Christmas markets, The Amsterdam Winter Paradise (14-30 December) and plenty of opportunities to ice skate pop up. When New Year (31 December) hits, be sure you’re in good view of the city’s (electric) fireworks display or save room for a night and day out partying, in true Amsterdam style. 

Best month for: A festive day trip to cosy Haarlem

And that’s it for the year – we’ll see you in the next one, destined to be just as good and possibly even better than the last.