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Amsterdam | © pixabay
Amsterdam | © pixabay

What's on in Amsterdam in May

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 3 April 2017

As summer approaches, Amsterdam’s cultural calendar begins to include an increasing number of outdoor events, and during 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. Nonetheless, there is still plenty going on inside, with many of the city’s main cultural institutes presenting new material throughout May.

May 1-7

MUSIC: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

📅  Monday, May 1st

Funk pioneer George Clinton and his equally influential backing troupe Parliament Funkadelic will perform at Paradiso this May. With countless killer tracks under his belt and an enduringly phenomenal stage presence, Clinton’s live shows are always explosive.

Tickets: €30

📍 Paradiso, Weteringschans 6-8, Amsterdam +31 20 626 4521

CULTURE: Remembrance and Liberation Day

📅   Thursday, May 4th and Friday, May 5th

On May 4th Dutch people honour the victims of World War II and other armed conflicts by observing a nationwide two-minute silence. The next day marks Liberation Day in the Netherlands – a national holiday that pay tribute to Dutch freedom and independence. Many events will take place in Amsterdam on this date, including concerts, educational programs and local remembrance activities.

Tickets: free

📍 Locations throughout Amsterdam

THEATRE: Vondelpark Open Air Theater

📅  Friday, May 5th to Saturday, September 9th

Vondelpark’s outdoor theater opens for the season in May and offers an impressive program of live events throughout the warmer months of the year. Its summer line-up invariably includes dance, drama and musical performances and famous figures often appear on Vondelpark’s stage. Entrance is free, but donations are always welcomed.

Tickets: free

📍 Vondelpark Openluchttheater, Vondelpark 5a, Amsterdam  +31 20 428 3360

FOOD & DRINK: Amsterdam Kookt

📅  Friday, May 5th to Sunday, May 7th

Dozens of food trucks will roll up to Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium early this May for a weekend long culinary festival. Besides these edible attractions, Amsterdam Kookt will also offer culinary workshops where guests can learn how to cook up their very own gourmet dishes.

Tickets: TBA

📍 Olympic Stadium, Olympisch Stadion 2, Amsterdam +31 20 305 4400

FASHION: It’s a Men’s World

📅  Until Sunday, August 27th

The Museum of Bags and Purses will showcase a large selection of men’s wallets, briefcases and rucksacks this summer, in order to retrace the history of this fascinating aspect of fashion. Hundreds of historical objects will be on display during the exhibition alongside modern bags created by leading international designers.

Tickets: €12.50

📍 Tassenmuseum, Herengracht 573, Amsterdam +31 20 524 6452

May 8–14

ART: Seth Price – Social Synthetic

📅  Until Sunday, September 3rd

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam will present an extensive overview of American artist Seth Price’s oeuvre this summer. Price’s artwork frequently draws from digital culture and repurposes technological material in order to critique modern society.

Tickets: €15

📍 The Stedelijk, Museumplein 10, Amsterdam +31 020 573 2911

MUSIC: Free lunchtime concert

📅  Wednesday, May 10th

Like every other month, in May Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw will organise a free lunchtime concert where local music students will recite classical pieces for the public. Although it is possible to simply turn up, it is worth booking in advance to secure a seat.

Tickets: free

📍 Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwplein 10, Amsterdam


📅  Until Thursday, May 14th

Foam will organise exhibitions alongside foreign initiatives throughout 2017 in order to draw attention to young, international photographers and their cultural milieu. The first edition of this project will showcase Nelson Morales and Diego Moreno’s photographic work and explore Mexico’s rich, multicultural heritage.

Tickets: €11

📍 FOAM, Keizersgracht 609, Amsterdam +31 20 551 6500

ART: Body Art

📅  Until Thursday, August 31

This summer Amsterdam’s Tropenmuseum will delve into the history of tattoos, piercings and other aesthetic body modifications. The exhibition will explore body art via multiple perspectives and include artwork created by famous proponents of anatomical alterations such as Orlan.

Tickets: €15

📍 Tropenmuseum, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam +31 88 004 2800

DESIGN: ‘Er Verandert Niks Hoor!’

📅  Until Sunday, June 18th

Illustrious Dutch cartoonist Peter van Straaten sadly passed away late last year and to honor his legacy, Amsterdam’s Press Museum has decided to exhibit a large collection of his work. Van Straaten was renowned for his provocative political illustrations and sexually candid cartoons, which regularly appeared in many widely circulated Dutch newspapers.

Tickets: €7

📍 Persmuseum, Zeeburgerkade 10, Amsterdam +31 020 692 8810

May 15–21

FILM: Amongst Friends

📅  Monday, May 15th

On every third Monday of the month, cinephiles in Amsterdam flock to Het Ketelhuis theater to catch a sneak-peak of an upcoming movie. Although Amongst Friends often gives small hints about their chosen feature via social media, their programming remains largely undisclosed.

Tickets: €7

📍 Het Ketelhuis, Pazzanistraat 4, Amsterdam +31 20 684 0090

MUSIC: L.A.N.: Palmbomen II Live: Memories of Cindy

📅  Thursday, May 18th

Dutch electronic prodigy Palmbomen II is set to play at the latest edition of Subbacultcha magazine’s Local Area Network series in May. Over the past few years Palmbomen II has released a string of dance tracks, including a full length LP inspired by minor characters from the X-Files.

Tickets: €10

📍 De School, Doctor Jan van Breemenstraat 1, Amsterdam +31 20 737 3197

ART: Sarah van Sonsbeeck

📅  Friday, May 19th to Monday, September 18th

To emphasize the Oude Kerk’s historical ties to the ocean and seafaring people, Dutch artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck will install a giant, reflective emergency blanket inside the church’s main nave this summer. This project will also reflect on the European refugee crisis by employing material that is commonly associated with nautical emergencies.

Tickets: €10

📍 Oude Kerk, Oudekerksplein 23, Amsterdam +31 20 625 8284


MUSIC: Online Radio Festival

📅  Friday, May 19th

Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ will host a day-long online radio festival this May in collabration with several major digital broadcasters such as Red Light Radio, Boiler Room and Berlin Community Radio. Radio shows and panel sessions will take place throughout the day alongside live performances.

Tickets: TBA

📍 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Piet Heinkade 1, Amsterdam +31 20 788 2000

May 22-31

FOOD & DRINKS: Rollende Keukens 2017

📅  Wednesday, May 24th to Sunday, May 28th

A whole host of culinary professionals will descend on Westergasfabriek in May for this year’s Rollende Keukens (Rolling Kitchens). Thousands of gastronomic delicacies will be available at the festival from hundreds of food carts, trucks and bicycles.

Tickets: free

📍 Westergasfabriek, Pazzanistraat 33, Amsterdam + 31 20 586 0710


📅  Wednesday, May 31st to Monday, June 5th

KunstRAI is the longest running independent art fair in the Netherlands, and has taken place in RAI conference centre every May for the past 33 consecutive years. Many promising and established Dutch artists will present their work at the fair.

Tickets: €15

📍 RAI Exhibition Center, Europaplein 2, Amsterdam +31 20 549 1212

FILM: Martin Scorsese – The Exhibition

📅  Thursday, May 25th to Sunday, September 3rd

This May, The Eye Film Institute will unveil the first ever full exhibition dedicated to Martin Scorsese. Over 400 film props, documents and other important items from Scorsese’s personal collection will be on display at the museum, alongside short fragments from the director’s filmography that represent his unique, highly influential style of filmmaking.

Tickets: €10

📍 The Eye Film Institute, IJpromenade 1, Amsterdam  +31 20 589 1400

FOOD & DRINKS: Tempeh Workshop

📅  Friday, May 26th

During this workshop at Mediamatic’s Biotoop participants will learn the basics behind tempeh production and create their very own soy-based treats. Culinary expert Sasker Scheerder will supervise the session and teach participants about tempeh’s natural fermentation cycle.

Tickets: €40

📍 Mediamatic, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam +31 20 638 9901

MUSIC: het Lente Kabinet

📅  Saturday, May 27th

Amsterdam’s summer festival season kicks off in May with het Lente Kabinet – a large EDM party in Het Twiske forest. As always, many leading international DJs are set to play at this year’s het Lente Kabinet, including The Black Madonna, Antal and Mr. Scruff.

Tickets: €39

📍Recreatieschap Het Twiske, Zuiderlaaik 1, Amsterdam