Top Dutch events in 2018

Visiting Amsterdam is best during major events and there are some that are breathtaking especially those related to flowers, cheese and King’s Day the orange day. I found official resources on for the events not to miss, by month.

Holland offers many, many events. Festivals, markets, parades, expositions and events are organised throughout the country in every season. Spring mainly offers flower parades and cheese markets. In summer, there’s a wealth of dance, music and theatre festivals; autumn is the time for art and culture, and Sinterklaas and the Christmas markets bring warmth to cold winter months. The largest national event is celebrated every year on 27 April: King’s Day. It’s a must to come and see Holland turn orange for this event!

Also on I found the top festivals. There is an abundance of lively Dutch festivals, from the colorful to the quirky Dutch celebrations alongside world-renown Dutch music festivals. Several festivals in the Netherlands have been celebrated for decades, and have strong cultural ties to their local regions far beyond the main festivals in Amsterdam.


The only problem will be choosing which Dutch festival to attend. The Festival Atlas report, compiled by Hogeschool van Amsterdam, recorded 1,340 different food, dance and film festivals in the Netherlands in 2016, which included more than 1,000 music events and 150 food fairs.

In true Dutch style, every Dutch festival is a reason to celebrate, eat Dutch food and party, so grab your calendars to mark the best of the Netherlands’ festivals, not least Dutch carnival and King’s Day.

Top 10 Dutch festivals

1. Flower parade, Noordwijk to Haarlem

Celebrate spring with flowers. Not just the famous tulips but hyacinths and daffodils also adorn the spectacular floats and cars that make up the annual flower parade in the bulb growing area of western Netherlands. Look on the website to view the routes and arrive early to find a good spot to watch the parades – it’s extremely popular.

Top Dutch festivals: Flower parade

2. Mardi gras

Each spring, just before Ash Wednesday, mardi gras or carnaval celebrations take place all over the Netherlands but the best are in Maastricht. Giant papiermâché caricatures of local figures, ornately decorated floats and brass bands parade through the city and everyone downs loads of beer, sings bawdy carnival songs and dances in the streets.

3. Pinkpop, Landgraaf

Three days, three stages – the South Stage, the Northern Stage and the 3FM-tent ­– a superlative line-up and 60,000 music fans: that’s Pinkpop, the world’s longest running rock festival. You can buy a day ticket but the three-day ticket also entitles you to camp.

4. Flag Day, Scheveningen

Come and celebrate the first herring catch of the season on Flag Day at Scheveningen. While you’re waiting to see the flag-covered fishing boats race back, you can sample the classic dish of Dutch raw herring with chopped onion, listen to shanty choirs, browse stalls selling traditional Dutch arts and crafts, visit a lighthouse or watch one of the many musical performances near the harbour and elsewhere in the town.

Top Dutch festivals: Dutch herring

5. The Hague Festivals

Take your pick from more than 200 exciting shows and events which are part of the annual summer Hague Festivals: music of all genres, literary, art, food, drink, and sport.

6. King’s Day

Come to the King’s birthday party on April 27, and wear something orange – everyone else will be. King’s Day (Koningsdag) is the annual holiday in honour of King Willem-Alexander. There are celebrations throughout the country but the biggest and best are on the streets of Amsterdam.

7. Gay pride

Amsterdam’s canals host the world’s only floating gay pride. Around 100 flamboyantly decorated barges, with their own resident DJs, are the highlight of this most liberal of city’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender annual celebrations, traditionally held around the first weekend in August.

8. Scheveningen Fireworks festival

You really do get a lot of bangs without paying a buck at this festival – the night sky is filled with the sights and sounds of thousands of fireworks for the two weekends of the free Scheveningen International Fireworks competition. Watch as competitors from all over the world try to outdo each other with ever more spectacular displays.

Top Dutch festivals: Scheveningen Fireworks

 9. Canal Run, Haarlem

What could be more enjoyable than a run (or walk) around the picturesque canals of Haarlem on a midsummer’s evening? This annual event attracts all ages and levels of ability.

10. St Nicholas (Sinterklaas), Amsterdam

Watch a white-bearded St Nicholas or Sinterklaas arrive by boat in Amsterdam’s harbour at the beginning of the holiday season in mid-November. He parades through the streets on a white horse accompanied by his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten (the Black Peters), who throw sweets out to the crowds. These men are supposed to be Moors and with their blacked up faces are becoming increasingly controversial. Read more: Who’s that with Santa?




Photo credits: (Dutch carnival, thumbnail), Marcel de Jong (flower parade), Janericloebe via Wikimedia Commons (Dutch herring)Antonio Olmedo (Queen’s Day), Maurits Verbiest (Scheveningen fireworks), Sander van der Wel (Sinterklaas and Pieten).



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