Amsterdam is a city of many aspects, and major events and celebrations are a dominant part of its culture. There is always something exciting going on, so you will never get bored. The most famous annual public events include ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), King’s Day, Gay Pride, Light Festival and Christmas and New Year’s eve.
King’s Day (Koningsdag)
When: 27 April (26 April if 27 April falls on a Sunday)
It is the day that the Kingdom of the Netherlands celebrates the birthday of the King. The city turns into an orange coloured (symbolizes the pride for Dutch Royal family – the House of Orange-Nassau) party ground with live music, carnivals and multiple boat parties. The funkier you dress – the better you will blend in.
Koningsdag now sees celebrations on a large scale, with multiple concerts and special events in public spaces, particularly in Amsterdam. An outdoor concert takes place at Amsterdam’s Museumplein (15 min from the hotel), which accommodates as many as 800,000 people.
Amsterdam Gay Pride
When: Sat, Jul 25 – Sun, Aug 2
It is one of the largest public events in Netherlands, attracting several hundred thousand visitors each year to celebrate gay pride. The city turns into a vibrant rainbow of events in gay and straight venues alike, with numerous dance parties, film screenings, exhibitions, sporting events and much more. One of its most famous highlights is the amazing Canal Parade. For a good view, most popular spots are on the Prinsengracht, at the Magere Brug (100 meters from our hotel) on Amstel river, and at the Eenhoornsluis at the end of the route.
The street parties after the Canal Parade start at around 16:00. Viewers of the parade often go to Amstelveld (which is directly next to the route), the large main stage on Dam square (en route towards Central Station) and of course Rembrandtplein. These are large locations so you can easily bring a family or group of friends.
ADE (Amsterdam Dance event)
When: Oct 21 – Oct 25, 2020
2 in 1 ADE represents an electronic music day time conference and a nightlife music festival, taking place in Amsterdam every year at the end of October. It is a major electronic music event that turns Amsterdam into an epicentre of live music and electronic vibes.
ADE’s festival program represents the whole spectrum of electronic subgenres, with over 2,500 artists performing in 140 of Amsterdam’s best music and nightlife spaces. In 2019 the festival hosted 400,000 visitors from over 100 countries in 140 venues, making it the world’s biggest festival for electronic music.
The daytime program brings entertainment, engagement and many surprises for the countless fans of electronic music visiting Amsterdam for ADE. It features a great variety of dance music-related exhibitions, DJ showcases, films, documentaries, gear master classes and artist MusicTalks. Taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, ADE makes the most of the historical locations and unique venues across the city.
To make the most of your ADE adventure, we recommend you create a custom ADE route. City Hotel Rembrandt Square is located in the heart of ADE and with over 500 events in total, and around 100 events per day to choose from, you will find several to attend. Since Amsterdam is quite a small city, it is achievable to get around relatively fast and attend multiple desired events on a day/night.
Amsterdam Light Festival
When: Early December until late January
The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual art festival where artists, light designers and creative agencies from all over the world bring their installations and light artworks to life. Every year has a different theme for the festival and it is always displayed in two routes along the city streets. Since 2012, Amsterdam Light Festival has organized eight exhibitions and co-created more than 260 artworks with artists from all over the world.
The best time to visit is during the night by either taking a boat along the canals or taking a walk in the designated routes of the exhibition.
When: events from 13th of December until 26th of December
The Dutch really know how to make the most of the holiday season. Christmas is a magical time in Amsterdam with its endless Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, concerts and activities throughout the city. Don’t forget to visit Amsterdam Winter Wonderland with its amazing amusement park, seasonal parties and festive food on offer.
During December, the Netherlands submerges into Christmas spirit. Markets become more than a place to buy food and trinkets – they become a place to warm up with mulled wine and “oliebollen”, find the perfect gifts for your family and friends and spend time with the loved ones. On Rembrandt Square, just outside the hotel, you will find ice skating, mulled wine and delicious street food to warm you up. These holiday markets are the perfect place to fill your stockings with presents and your hearts with Christmas joy.
New Year’s Eve
When: 31st of December
The greatest fireworks event awaits to finalize the year and welcome the new one. New Year’s Eve is generally celebrated outdoors, where crowds gather to see the amazing fireworks lighting up the sky of the coming year.
There are hundreds of parties and club celebrations taking place in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve, from black tie events to warehouse raves. Popular places to dance your way into the new year are the annual Awakenings Bash at Gashouder and Ratatouille’s Mini Winter Festival.
No Dutch New year’s Eve celebration would be complete without loads of deep-fried dough balls (“oliebollen”). Eating them at midnight is one of the most widespread New Year’s Eve traditions in the Netherlands, which originates in an ancient Germanic myth in which “oliebollen” are consumed to keep away evil spirits. You will find many vendors in Rembrandt Square and throughout the city selling this New Year’s goodness.