What's On in Amsterdam April 2018
Here is our insider guide to what's on in Amsterdam, Netherlands during April 2018. 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 King's Day celebrations...
King's Day in Amsterdam
King's Day 2018 - Koningsdag 2018 is the Dutch national holiday to be held on Friday 27 April 2018. Following the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013 and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander, the former Queen's Day celebration has become King's Day. The date was moved from 30 April, the birthday of the former Queen Juliana to the 27 April, birthday of the current King.
Despite the name change it has been 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 Thursday 26 April (King's Night or Koningsnacht) and then continue all of the next day. On King's Day morning each year the Dutch Royal family (House of Orange-Nassau) do a walkabout visit around a chosen town in the Netherlands which is shown live on state television - in 2018 this will be in Groningen.
One of the main highlights of King's Day in Amsterdam 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 0600 on King's Day and goes on all day until 2000. Bargain hunters should get there early. Note that the city of Utrecht (30 minutes south of Amsterdam by train) starts its free market on King's Night (26 April) from 1800 - with an authentic and friendly atmosphere, it's well worth a visit.
For fun and games, children's clothes, toys and young performers head to the main children's King's Day market at Vondelpark (Amsterdam's main park) which opens at 0900. Other children's markets can be found (amongst others) at NDSM-wharf, Artisplein, Amstelveld, Bellamyplein, Dappermarkt, Frederiksplein, Leliegracht, Sarphatipark and Westerpark.
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.
There are 5 large dance parties planned which are held outside of the centre. These are: Kingsland Festival (RAI Amsterdam), Urban Music Festival (Turbinestraat), Loveland van Oranje (Meerpark), Nassau Festival (Olympic Stadium Area) and Oranjebloesem (Pampuslaan-Blijburg). Entry is only for ticket holders, no at-the-door sales.
The best way of getting around Amsterdam on King's Day is on foot - temporary signposts can guide you to areas of interest. City centre public transport - buses, trams and taxis - will not operate during King's day; transport services will run around the outskirts of the city and you do require a ticket as normal.
Train services from Amsterdam Central are also restricted, so double check with NS Dutch Railways (ns.nl) 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. 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. Most shops in the city centre will remain closed. Museums which are open on King's Day are the Anne Frank house, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and Van Gogh Museum. Note that most other 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.
King's Day events are observed all over the Netherlands including Arnhem, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Groningen, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Utrecht.
Museums & Exhibitions in Amsterdam
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. High Society, exhibition with 35 life-size portraits by great masters of art history. Expected 8 Mar to 3 Jun 2018.
Rijksmuseum Schiphol – Ten Dutch masterpiece paintings are on show on Holland Boulevard at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Located in the newly refurbished zone between Lounges 2 and 3 (past security), the Rijksmuseum Schiphol is open 24 hours per day with free entry for passengers.
Van Gogh Museum – Popular museum with the world's largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings. Van Gogh & Japan, exhibition on how Vincent Van Gogh was inspired by Japanese prints. Expected 23 Mar to 24 Jun 2018.
Anne Frank House - The canal house on Amsterdam's Prinsengracht canal where Anne Frank wrote her famous teenage wartime diary whilst hiding from German occupation. The house and museum is open to visitors though pre-booking is highly recommended.
Hermitage Amsterdam – Showcases an exhibition every 6 months from the vast collection of the grand State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. Exhibition Dutch Masters runs between 7 Oct 2017 and 27 May 2018. Also at the Hermitage is the permanent exhibition Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age.
Outsider Art Museum – This museum at the Hermitage showcases extraordinary art by unconventional artists who have not been formally trained. New Masters introduces more than 70 works by 30 talented contemporary Outsider artists. This also includes Poignant Portraits by Dutch photographer Sander Troelstra who puts a face to these artists. Runs 4 Oct 2017 to 28 May 2018.
Nieuwe Kerk – Masterpiece 2018 features an important single work of religious art. This year Gazing Ball by Jeff Koons can be seen 17 Feb to 8 Apr 2018. World Press Photo is a photo exhibition showcasing the best in news photography. Runs 20 Apr to 1 Jul 2018.
Stedelijk – Amsterdam's main modern and contemporary art museum. Jump into the Future, Art from the 90's and 2000's, exhibition of contemporary art gifted by German collector Thomas Borgmann, runs 26 Nov 2017 to 8 Apr 2018. I Am a Native Foreigner exhibition explores different aspects of the migration theme. Runs 23 Sep 2017 to 3 Jun 2018. Canopy Keith Haring Returns to the Stedelijk, the restored velum canopy by the American grafitti artist is on display above the grand staircase. 12 Oct 2017 to 3 Jun 2018.
MOCO Museum – This new modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. Banksy: Laugh Now (includes Beanfield) runs until 31 May 2018; Roy Lichtenstein: Lasting Influence exhibition runs 3 Nov 2017 until 31 May 2018.
National Maritime Museum – Game Changers | Maritime Innovations, features 25 of the most beautiful, exciting and strangest inventions in Dutch maritime history. Runs 6 Oct 2017 to 1 Jul 2018.
Tropenmuseum – Ethnographic museum featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures.
Huis Marseille – Bernd, Hilla and the Others / Photography from Dusseldorf, images from the German city. 10 Mar to 3 Jun 2018.
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.
Jewish Historical Museum – Maria Austria, Living for Photography, comprehensive exhibition about the famous Amsterdam-Jewish photographer Maria Austria (1915-1975). Runs 26 Jan to 2 Sep 2018.
Oude Kerk – Christian Boltanski - Na, the French-born artist uses the entire Old Church deploying several monumental installations on the end of life theme. Runs at 24 Nov 2017 to 29 April 2018.
ARCAM – ARCAM presents a crash course (€7.50) on Amsterdam architecture and urbanism every Friday 1330-1415.
Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.
Museumweek 2018 – Many museums in the Netherlands open their doors to the public over the week 9-15 Apr 2018, for special events.
Check out our comprehensive Amsterdam museums section
Sport in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Ajax home matches at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam:
Ajax vs Heracles Almelo (Eredivisie, Dutch League) – 8 Apr 2018, 1645
Ajax vs VVV Venlo (Eredivisie) – 18 Apr 2018, 2045
Ajax vs AZ (Eredivisie) – 29 Apr 2018, 1430
NN Rotterdam Marathon – Big running event in Netherlands (38th edition) with over 20,000 competitors including a field of world-class athletes. Up to a million spectators line the streets of Rotterdam. Sunday 8 Apr 2018.
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 13 Apr 2018.
Premier League – The invitational Premier League of darts event returns to the Netherlands for the 3rd time. At the Ahoy Rotterdam on 19 Apr 2018.
League Finals – Ball sport (kind of netball-basketball cross) invented in the Netherlands. League finals day will be on 7 Apr 2018 at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.
Friday Night Skate – 20km organised skate around the streets of Amsterdam held every Friday night (2030, weather permitting) from Vondelpark Pavilion.
See the full annual sport calendar for Amsterdam
Festivals in Amsterdam
No festivals scheduled currently but check out our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam
Unfair 2018 – Unfair Amsterdam is an art fair and festival presenting an emerging generation of new artists, 29 Mar - 2 Apr 2018 at Westergasfabriek.
IAMExpat Fair 2018 – One-day event connecting the expat community with various stands, workshops and presentations. Westergasfabriek, 7 Apr 2018.
KunstRai (Art Amsterdam) – Longest running art fair in the Netherlands (now in its 34th year) offering contemporary Dutch art for sale with more than 70 quality galleries. On 4-8 Apr 2018 at Amsterdam RAI.
Comedy & Shows in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Magic Show – Amsterdam Magic Show – Monthly magic and comedy show with international performers. At Boom Chicago's Rozentheater, Rozengracht in Amsterdam, Tuesday 3 Apr 2018 at 2000.
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held Wed - Sat and playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.
Classical Concerts & Theatre in Amsterdam
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. Performances in April are: May We Be Forgiven (5/12/19 Apr 2018, 2030) and Oedipus (12 Apr 2018, 2000).
Dutch National Opera & Ballet – Perform opera Gurre-Lieder (Schönberg), various between 18 Apr - 5 May 2018; ballet Dutch Doubles, various 24 Mar - 15 Apr 2018; ballet Grimm, various 11 Apr - 27 May 2018.
Pathé Met Opera – The Tuschinski cinema hosts live streaming opera from the Metropolitan in New York. Luisa Miller (Verdi) is on 14 Apr 2018 (1830), Cendrillon (Massenet) on 28 Apr 2018 (1900).
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Easter 2018 – Public holiday in the Netherlands on 2 Apr (Easter Monday).
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
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. Visit by appointment only or take the walk-in tour (€7.50) which runs every first Wednesday of the month at 1500.
Keukenhof – The world famous tulip and flower park is open between 22 Mar 2018 and 13 May 2018.
Free Concerts in Amsterdam
Bimhuis – Jazz venue has free Workshop & Session every Tuesday at 2000.
Concertgebouw – Free lunchtime concerts usually held every Wednesday at 1230 in either the small hall (kleine zaal) or large hall (grote zaal). For concerts in the small hall, free tickets must be collected from the ticket desk. Note, only one concert this month on 18 Apr 2018.
Dutch Opera & Ballet – Free lunchtime concert in the foyer on Tuesdays at 1230. Concerts on 10/17/24 Apr 2018. Performed by members of Opera Studio, the Netherlands Opera or Dutch Philharmonic orchestra.
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ – Free monthly concert showcasing young classical talent. 12 Apr 2018 at 1230.
Market Events in Amsterdam
Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. At Amstelpark 8 Apr 2018 (1100-1800) and Park Frankendael, 29 Apr 2018 (1100-1800).
Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergasfabriek with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. 1 Apr 2018 (1200-1800).
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music on 15 Apr 2018 (1200-1800).
IJ-Hallen – Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam. Dates to be announced.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
Scorpions – 2 Apr, Ziggo Dome
Fall Out Boy – 4 Apr, AFAS Live
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds – 19 Apr, AFAS Live
Walk Off The Earth – 21 Apr, AFAS Live
Niall Horan – 28 Apr, AFAS Live
Racoon – 28 Apr, Ziggo Dome