Amsterdam’s Nuit Blanche (White Night) is the biggest underground and avant-garde festival in The Netherlands, showcasing all that is leftfield and innovative in theater, food, music and clubbing in a single night of nocturnal excess.
The biggest and best-established arts festival in The Netherlands brings international musicians and actors into Amsterdam every June – 2013 dates are June 1 through 26. Encompassing all genres of music from classical to garage, drama, dance, film, and opera, the festival spreads across the city into every sizeable venue from the mainstream Muziektheater and the Royal Theatre Carré to the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and the home of leftfield music and drama, the art-house venue Westergasfabriek.
There is plenty to see in laid-back Amsterdam, from world-class museums to vintage markets and more canals than Venice. And if that is not enough, any of the suggestions below make a diverting day trip from the city of cool.
Amsterdam in spring means flowers; Keukenhof Gardens near Lisse only open for a couple of months a year – in 2013 from March 21 to May 20. Every year seven million bulbs are planted here, forming a psychedelic carpet of flowers, with some 100 varieties of tulip as well as daffodils and hyacinths. The Gardens are xxx from Amsterdam and there is a direct bus from Schiphol Airport Plaza.
Amsterdam has a long and relaxed tradition of bar and café culture; little can beat a pit stop in a canal-side bar for a beer and a plate of fries after a day’s sightseeing. All my recommendations are open daily.
It’s the end of a long cold winter and time to get back outside and dance off those winter blues. To do that Amsterdammers will be heading to their iconic music venues Milkveg and Paradiso for 5 Days Off, an electronic music and art festival running from March 6 – 10. The art part is basically to make sure that people do see some daylight hours by providing 5 Days On, a non-music based part of the programming.
With some of the best markets, specialty stores, and boutiques in the world, Amsterdam’s shopping streets are easily explored on foot, from the pedestrianized Nieuwedijk-Kalverstraat to the cobbled side streets, canal-sides, and squares. You’ll find everything from big department stores to specialty stores glittering diamonds, crumbly Gouda cheese, and the famous blue-and-white Delftware.
The tulips are coming out in Holland – it must be springtime. Every year, March is eagerly awaited by gardeners everywhere, not just because it’s the time when things will actually start growing again and they can get back outside with their buckets and spades, but because March is the month when the Keukenhof park opens each year for its short two month splendor.
I have to say it feels like the Rijksmuseum has been under renovation forever.
In 2000 the decision was made to modernise the 1885 building designed by Pierre Cuypers, and now the date given for the gallery fully reopening is 2013. It does sound like the new-look Rijksmuseum will be worth the wait – the architects are staying faithful to the lovely Cuypers fairytale building, but they are opening it up a bit, adding a couple of new buildings, and modernising visitor facilities, security and climate control for the art works.
One of the best things about Amsterdam is the art history. So many significant artists lived, worked, were born and/or died here. One of my favorites is that tormented genius Vincent van Gogh. Living through the second-half of the nineteenth century, van Gogh was actually born in the southern Netherlands, only coming to Amsterdam to study theology before he really took up painting. Most of his career as an artist was spent in France.Nonetheless, Amsterdam is the location of the museum dedicated to his work and it is well-worth braving the often very long queues to see his paintings in the flesh, as it were.