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What's On in Amsterdam April 2017


Here is our insider guide to what's on in Amsterdam, Netherlands during April 2017. There's lots going on in the city and whilst the weather can vary there should be a few good, sunny days. The month ends with the new King's Day (formerly Queen's Day) celebrations.

King's Day (formerly Queen's Day) in Amsterdam

King's Day 2017 - Koningsdag 2017 is the Dutch national holiday to be held on Thursday 27 April 2017. Following the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013 and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander, Queen's Day (30 April, the birthday of former Queen Juliana) has become King's Day (27 April, birthday of Willem-Alexander). On King's Day morning each year the Dutch Royal family (House of Orange-Nassau) visit a chosen town in Netherlands which is shown live on state television.

Despite the name change it is business-as-usual with one of the world's greatest open-air parties - an event everyone should try and experience at least once in their life! Amsterdam goes completely orange crazy with revellers on the streets, in parks and afloat the water. Up to 800,000 visitors cram into the centre temporarily doubling the city's population.

Celebrations actually start the evening before on Wednesday 26 April (King's Night or Koningsnacht) and then continue all of the next day.

kings day amsterdam

One of the main highlights of King's Day is the citywide free market (vrijmarkt). This is where people set up stalls and sell clothes, food, drinks and just about anything else - from plants, old electronics, vintage items, bric-a-brac and a load of old tat. Prices are negotiable which is all part of the fun. Many Amsterdam residents set up shop directly outside their own houses - days before they mark their territory with tape ("bezet" meaning "occupied"). There are also professional traders and opportunists who take advantage of the tax-free trading. The free market in Amsterdam officially starts from 06:00 on King's Day and goes on all day until 20:00. Bargain hunters should get to the free market early.

For fun and games, children's clothes, toys and young performers head to the main children's market at Vondelpark (Amsterdam's main park) which opens at 09:00. Other children's markets can be found (amongst others) at NDSM-wharf (250 stalls), Artisplein (09:00-13:00), Amstelveld, Bellamyplein, Dappermarkt, Frederiksplein, Leliegracht, Sarphatipark and Westerpark.

Note that the city of Utrecht (30 minutes south of Amsterdam by train) starts its free market on King's Night (26 April) from 18:00 - with an authentic and friendly atmosphere, it's well worth a visit.

On King's Day the festivities continue throughout Amsterdam with the free market, food/drink stalls, concert stages, impromptu street entertainers, party boats and all sorts of weird and wonderful fun.

A number of large dance parties (tickets required) are also set to be announced.

The best way to get around Amsterdam on King's Day is on foot - temporary signposts can guide you to areas of interest. Be aware that public transport - buses, trams and taxis - do not operate during King's day in the city centre; transport services are running around the outskirts of the city and you require a ticket as normal.

Train services from Amsterdam Central are also restricted, so double check with NS Dutch Railways if planning international travel or going to the airport. If coming to Amsterdam from other parts of Netherlands by train it is preferable to arrive at Amsterdam Zuid or Amsterdam Amstel station and walk in. Amsterdam RAI station will be closed. Expect Amsterdam stations to be extremely busy with up to a quarter of a million people arriving by train.

Supermarkets do open on King's Day though hours can be restricted in some branches. Shops in the city centre tend to remain closed.

Museums open on King's Day are the Anne Frank house, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and Van Gogh Museum. Note that most museums including Amsterdam Museum, Hermitage, Maritime Museum and Tropenmuseum are closed.

Be aware that the city centre can get extremely crowded in some places - expect large crowds to gather on Dam Square and Museumplein. Watch out for pickpockets and be vigilant to new perceived security threats.

koningsdag amsterdam

King's Day events are observed all over the Netherlands including Arnhem, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Groningen, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

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Museums & Exhibitions

Rijksmuseum – Reopened in April 2013 after 10 years of renovation, the Rijksmuseum's rich collection (including Rembrandt's Night Watch) is a must-see in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum 2017 exhibitions yet to be announced.

Hermitage Amsterdam – Exhibition 1917. From Romanov to Revolution is expected to open 11 Feb and runs until 17 Sep 2017. Outsider Art Museum (in the Hermitage) includes world-class art works by Dutch and international outsider artists.

StedelijkJordan Wolfson - Truth/Love - presentation (part 2) of work from the American artist who explores the increasing digitalisation of society. Runs 4 Mar to 7 May 2017. Ed van der Elsken - Camera in Love, large retrospective of the most important Dutch photographer of the 20th century. Scheduled for 4 Feb to 28 May 2017.

Amsterdam Museum100 years of Schiphol - Ready for take-off, exhibition tracing the history of Amsterdam's world famous airport. Runs 16 Sep 2016 to 7 May 2017.

National Maritime MuseumDrive | 100 years of Collecting, exhibition about the history of the museum's unique collection. Runs 1 Oct 2016 to 2 Jul 2017.

Nieuwe Kerk – The Masterpiece 2017 series exhibition runs 25 Feb until 25 Jun 2017.

Dutch Resistance MuseumFood in Wartime, exhibition looking at diet during the Second World War. 5 Dutch chefs make recipes from ingredients available at the time. Runs 15 Oct 2016 to to 28 May 2017.

National Holocaust Museum – The newly opened museum presents Tangible Memories from the Jewish Monument, exhibition of objects, photos and documents of people affected by the Holocaust. Opened 2 Sep 2016, ongoing until end 2019.

Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.

Museumweek 2017 – Many museums in the Netherlands open their doors to the public over the week 3-9 Apr 2017, for special events.

Kröller-Müller Museum (Otterlo, 80km from Amsterdam)The Early Van Gogh, comprehensive exhibition of Vincent's Dutch works. The museum is located in De Hoge Veluwe National Park. Runs 24 Sep 2016 to 9 Apr 2017.

Check out our comprehensive Amsterdam museums section


Ajax home matches at the Amsterdam ArenA:
Ajax vs Feyenoord – 3 Apr 2017, 14:30 (Eredivisie, Dutch League)
Ajax vs AZ – 5 Apr 2017, 18:30 (Eredivisie)
Ajax vs SC Heerenveen – 16 Apr 2016, 16:45 (Eredivisie)

NN Rotterdam Marathon – Big running event in Netherlands (37th edition) with over 20,000 competitors including a field of world-class athletes. Up to a million spectators line the streets of Rotterdam. Sunday 9 Apr 2017.

Friday Night Run – a free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 14 Apr 2017.

League Finals – Ball sport (kind of netball-basketball cross) invented in the Netherlands. League finals day on in April 2017 (date TBA).

Inline Skating:
Friday Night Skate – a 20km organised skate around the streets of Amsterdam held every Friday night (20:30, weather permitting) from Vondelpark Pavilion.

>>>See what's on in Amsterdam in May or other months
Other Events in and around Amsterdam

Easter 2017 – Public holiday in the Netherlands on 14 Apr (Good Friday) and 17 Apr (Easter Monday).

Fiesta Cubana – Join DJ Arno at Mirror Center (near Amsterdam Muiderpoort Station) for the popular monthly Cuban-style salsa night. €7 entry, Friday 7 Apr 2017 from 22:00.

Imagine Film Festival – Formerly the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, the 33rd edition will show sci-fi, cult, fantasy and horror films at EYE Film, runs 12-22 Apr 2017.

3D Print Canal House - See a canal house being constructed using 3D printing techniques and sustainable materials. The location is Asterweg 49, 1031 HM Amsterdam - get the free ferry across to Amsterdam North and walk beyond EYE Film. Every first Wednesday of the month at 15:00 is a walk-in tour (€7.50).

Pathé Met Opera – The Tuschinski cinema hosts live streaming opera from the Metropolitan in New York. Watch Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky) on 22 Apr 2017.

Dutch National Ballet – Performs the ballet production Onegin, various shows 1-16 Apr 2017.

Toneelgroep Amsterdam – Amsterdam's renowned theatre company performs shows in Dutch which have live English surtitles above the stage - usually on Thursday evenings at the Stadsschouwburg theatre. Kings of War is performed on 13 Apr 2017.

Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held almost daily - now playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.

North Sea Jazz Club – Hosts a wide variety of jazz, funk, soul and world music every weekend at the Westergasfabriek. Dinner concerts include a 3 course meal by the in-house chef.

Other events in Netherlands:

Keukenhof – The world famous tulip and flower park is open daily during April (opens 23 Mar 2017). The theme for 2017 is 'Dutch Design'. Keukenhof closes on 21 May 2017.

keukenhof bulb fields

Music Show Scotland – Spectacular large-scale Scottish and Celtic music production featuring pipers, dancers and drummers. At Ahoy Rotterdam on 1 Apr 2017.

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Free Concerts

Bimhuis – Jazz venue has free "Workshop + Session" on Tuesdays at 20:00.

Concertgebouw – Free lunchtime concert to be held on 20 Apr 2017 at 12:30. Get there early to ensure admission.

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ – Free lunchtime concert at 12:30 on Thursday 20 Apr 2017.

Muziektheater – Free lunchtime concert in the foyer on Tuesdays at 12:30. Concerts on 4/11/25 Apr 2017. Performed by members of Opera Studio, the Netherlands Opera or Dutch Philharmonic orchestra.

Westerkerk – Free lunchtime organ concert every Friday at 13:00, start dates TBA.

Our full guide to Free things to do in Amsterdam

Market events in Amsterdam

Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. At Park Frankendael, date TBA.

Sunday Market Sunday market with fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. From 12:00 at Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek, date TBA.

NeighbourFood Market – Sunday market event featuring local food products. From 11:00-18:00 at Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek, date TBA.

Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music on 16 Apr 2017.

IJ-Hallen Huge flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam. Dates TBA.

Pop / Rock Concerts in Amsterdam

Chris De Burgh – 28/29 April, Carré

>>>See what's on in Amsterdam in May or other months
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