As summer approaches, Amsterdam’s cultural calendar begins to feature an increasing number of outdoor events. For instance in May, the city will host several al fresco food fairs, the first performances at Vondelpark’s open-air theater, and Het Lente Kabinet music festival in Het Twiske forest. There are also plenty going indoors in Amsterdam, including concerts and exhibitions.
TUESDAY MAY 5TH – SUNDAY MAY 6TH 2018
📅 Friday May 4th
May 4th marks Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, a nationwide memorial day where people collectively mourn for the civilians and troops who died during wars over the past century. Many memorial services are held throughout the Netherlands on May 4th at places like Dam Square in Amsterdam or Waalsdorpervlakte in the Hague.
📅 Saturday May 5th
On May 5th, the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II and the German Occupation. Spots around Amsterdam host special events during the day to commemorate the Netherlands’ liberation and honour the people that lived through the conflict. The day ends with an outdoor concert on the River Amstel near the Royal Carré Theatre, which takes place on a floating stage.
MONDAY MAY 7TH – SUNDAY MAY 13TH 2018
World Press Photo
📅 Saturday April 14th to Sunday July 22nd
From April to July every year, Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Kerk displays work from the winners and nominees of the annual World Press Photo Contest. The competition ranks among the most prestigious photography contests in the world and awards prizes to groundbreaking, contemporary photojournalists. After its debut at Nieuwe Kerk, the exhibition starts a cross-continental tour and appears in 99 other cities around the globe.
📍Nieuwe Kerk, Gravenstraat 17, Amsterdam +31 020 626 8168
📅 Saturday May 9th to Wednesday May 13th
This annual culinary festival essentially turns Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek into an enormous open-air food court. During the event, dozens of food trucks roll into town then set up camp in Westergasfabriek in order to share their signature dishes with hungry foodies. There’s always an incredible variety of street food-style fare on offer at the festival, ranging from freshly baked pizzas to gooey stroopwafels. The festival also features live musical performances and is completely free to enter.
📍 Westergasfabriek, Pazzanistraat 33, Amsterdam +31 20 586 0710
MONDAY MAY 14TH – SUNDAY MAY 20TH 2018
Vondelpark Open Air Theater
📅 Saturday May 5th to Sunday September 9th
Vondelpark’s Open Air Theatre begins its summer program in early May and hosts performances throughout the season, before its final curtain call in September. The theatre lies in the centre of the park and organises around five musical, theatrical and dance pieces every week. Although these performances are always free, the theatre appreciates donations from audience members.
📍 Vondelpark Openluchttheater, Vondelpark 5a, Amsterdam +31 20 428 3360
MONDAY MAY 21ST – THURSDAY MAY 31ST 2018
Oost TAPT Festival
📅 Saturday May 26th
During this international beer festival, craft brewers from around the world present their wares and party alongside other beer aficionados. The festival takes place in Amsterdam’s largest outdoor ice rink, Jaap Eden Baan, which is converted into an expansive open-air venue for the event, complete with beer tents and food stalls. The festival also includes spots dedicated to bar games like beer pong or shuffleboard as well as stages where musicians perform throughout the day.
📍 Jaap Eden Baan Ice Rink, Radioweg 64, Amsterdam +31 20 694 9652
Friday May 25th to Saturday May 26th
Every six months Amsterdam’s Paradiso hosts a two-day, indoor alternative music festival called London Calling. The event’s program mainly revolves around indie rock music but also leaves space for other genres like hiphop, funk and pop. Around 20 bands and solo artists perform during the festival at several stages inside Paradiso.
📍Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8, Amsterdam +31 20 626 4521
Het Lente Kabinet
📅 Saturday May 6th to Sunday May 27th
Amsterdam’s summer music festival season kicks off in late May with Het Lente Kabinet. The festival takes place in an expansive forest outside Amsterdam-Noord called Het Twiske, and always features a stellar line-up of international musicians from the worlds of disco, house and techno. The festival’s program is divided over two days and it is possible for guests to purchase weekend passe-partouts or daily tickets. Although the festival doesn’t offer accommodation, there are several campsites located nearby and other indoor lodgings available at hotels around Amsterdam-Noord.