Amsterdam Tip: Free festivals and summer events

Posted in: Amsterdam Sights

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A concert at Uitmarkt; Photo by Riemer Palstra
A concert at Uitmarkt; Photo by Riemer Palstra

Be it summer or winter, Amsterdam celebrates life with a passion. And it’s no secret that the locals crave those sunny spells of July and August, considered some of their favorite times of the year. And for travelers on a budget, the offerings aren’t so bad either. These balmy days offer free citywide music events, opportunities to sip coffee on canal terraces, and more.  So, what particular events will make this summer extra special—and are free for the taking? Read on for more info.

De Parade

Looking for fun and games with a dash of music thrown in? Check out De Parade. This exciting carnival-style festival boasts a variety of music styles and dance forms, amusing theater events, and delicious food types. Remember those quirky stalls at Renaissance fairs and such? Well, the different stages of this festival offer up some typical Renaissance fest-like acts as well as more modern acts. This place is worth a visit just for its yummy snacks too. De Parade is a great reflection of Dutch diversity and thus, provides a whole range of cuisine including Algerian, Surinamese, Japanese, Italian and Moroccan foods.

If you go-
Address: Martin Luther Kingpark, 1079 Amsterdam
Dates & opening hours: 3 PM onward  from July 31 through August 16
Admission: Most stalls are free; those with a fee range from €3 to €8. Also note that initial admission to the park is free, but entrance after 5 PM costs €6.

Pluk De Nacht

This one’s for the artistic soul. Amsterdam’s annual film festival, Pluk De Nacht, features interesting documentaries, creative animated numbers, and short flicks. Picture an open air event in the company of like-minded folk where you can indulge in your favorite hobby—arty movies! Did I mention that there’s usually good music and food as well as cozy campfires? This year’s agenda features a number of award winning flicks like Dark Days and Les Doigts de Pied (The Toes).

If you go-
Address: Het Stenen Hoofd, Westerdoksdijk 44, (Aug 6 -15)
Studio K, Timorplein 62, 1094 CC Amsterdam (Aug 18 – 22)
Opening hours: The viewing space opens at 4 PM and movies start after 9 PM.
Admission: Free!


There’s something for everyone in Amsterdam and this annual music festival is proof of that. Offering a variety of classical music performances at different locations, the Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival) caters to those with more delicate music tastes. The festival offers an interesting mix of famous musicians as well as noteworthy up-and-coming stars. The melodic music is enhanced by the choice of location, almost always on a canal or close to a beautiful monument. This year’s sites include the newly opened Hermitage Amsterdam, the Dutch Resistance Museum and Felix Meritis.

If you go-
Dates: Aug 15 – Aug 23
Locations: vVaried. Check site for details.
Admission: Some are free; others are priced from €7-10 and up


If summer in Amsterdam seems like one big celebration, wait until you get to August! That’s when one of the biggest festivals takes place. Stretching three days during the last weekend of August, the Uitmarkt is a vibrant event chock full of music and dance performances, fun and games for the little ones, theater and comedy shows, and lots more—all at various fun locations around the city. With venues set up all over the city and reeling in thousands of spectators annually, the fest is truly one of the more major events in the ‘Dam.

If you go-
Locations: Varied. Check website for full list.
Dates: 28 to 30 August
Admission: Many are free.


Hey Cheapos! Got the ‘Dam on your mind? Take a look at our new-and-improved Amsterdam hotel listings here. We recently sent writer Joel Weickgenant out to hunt for new Editor’s Picks as well stop by our favorite old budget hotel haunts. Enjoy.

About the author

About the author: Amy K Goemans is a writer and web developer based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Her travel experiences include Europe and Southern Africa with occasional visits to Asia. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Durban are currently her top favorite cities.

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  1. Pingback: Festivales de verano gratis en Ámsterdam « Viaja Blog

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