Summer Activities in Amsterdam

June 21, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Free Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

Gay Pride in Amsterdam. Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS via Flickr.

Gay Pride in Amsterdam. Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS via Flickr.

Here is a list of six events happening in Amsterdam this summer:

1) Vondelpark

Amsterdam’s largest and favorite park, Vondelpark, comes alive during the summer. You will see people picnicking under the trees, feeding the ducks in the pond or joining the Friday night skate through town, which starts outside the Filmmusuem in Vondelpark at 8:30pm every Friday. The Film Museum based in the Vondelparkpaviljoen has outdoor screenings and the Open Air Theater has productions running from June through August. You can also simply sit on the balcony at the café/bar, Blauwe Theehuis, and enjoy those long twilight evenings when it stays light until 9 or 10pm.

2) Festivals

During August, the city comes alive to celebrate summer and bring in the cultural new year (September to June). Grachtenfestival is a series of classical music events in the third week of August, based around the canals and IJ harbor with performances both on boats and in waterside venues. In the final week of August, Uitmarkt turns the city into a stage with musical and theatrical performances turning up on temporary stages in parks and squares. Even museums and churches cut their entry fees as the whole city celebrates culture. Uitmarkt Junior is a program of events, especially for kids. In the more traditional venue of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the classical music Robeco Summer Season of sponsored performances offers low cost ways to hear excellent musicians.

3) Open Garden Days

When walking around Amsterdam, it’s easy to think that Amsterdammers don’t have gardens – you’d be wrong. It’s just that all the gardens are tucked behind the houses in inner courts. Open Tuinen Dagen, held in late June, is a three-day opportunity to get behind the facades and see inside the stately houses and gardens of Amsterdam. It’s not expensive – around €15 euro – and you get to see the other side of this historic city.

4) Gay Pride Amsterdam

Held in the first weekend of August, this parade takes to the canals, with decorated barges heading up Prinsengracht and along the Amstel River, blaring loud music and carrying colorfully-clad revelers. Gay or straight, everyone turns out to sit on the canal edge and party. Around 350,000 people take part and watch each year.

5) De Parade

In the tradition of a traveling circus but definitely not a circus, De Parade traveling festival has entertained the Netherlands during the past 22 summers, and this year it’s coming to Martin Luther King Park in Amsterdam from August 10th-26th. There are over 75 spectacles of theater, music, dance, magic and art for all ages, plus cafes and bars. Before hitting Amsterdam, it begins its season in Rotterdam from June 21st until July 1st, moves on to Den Haag on July 6th until July 15th, and heads to Utrecht from July 20th until August 5th.

6) Jordaan Festival

Seeing the summer out is the three-day festival in the lively and historic district of Jordaan. From September 14th through the 16th, this small island of narrow streets is filled with music, children’s events, a flea market and games of boules on the streets.

-Philippa Burne

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Amsterdam tours and things to do, Amsterdam attractions, and Amsterdam travel recommendations. Or book a private tour guide in Amsterdam for a customized tour!

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