What's on Amsterdam May

What's On in Amsterdam May 2018

May is a great time to visit Amsterdam, with pleasant late-spring temperatures and plenty to see and do. Check out our insider guide to other things going on in and around the city for May 2018...

Museums & Exhibitions in Amsterdam

For a comprehensive selection of museums, activities and tours in Amsterdam book here

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. 8 Mar to 3 Jun 2018. A journey to 18th century Canton, paintings of the Chinese city. At the Asian Pavilion 8 Nov 2017 to 27 May 2018.

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. 23 Mar to 24 Jun 2018.

Beurs van BerlageMy Name Is Prince, official retrospective exhibition of the legendary pop superstar. It includes hundreds of items from the late singer's private estate in Minnesota. 8 Mar to 8 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 ongoing at the Hermitage: Panorama Amsterdam. City Time Lapse, a visual projection of Amsterdam through the ages as seen from the Amstel river; and 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.

Stedelijk – Amsterdam's main modern and contemporary art museum. I Am a Native Foreigner exhibition explores different aspects of the migration theme. Runs 23 Sep 2017 to 2 Jun 2018. Canopy Keith Haring Returns to the Stedelijk, the restored velum canopy by the American graffiti artist is on display above the grand staircase. 12 Oct 2017 to 3 Jun 2018. Freedom is Recognized Necessity, exhibition of art from the former Soviet Republics and satellite states, runs 3 Mar to 12 Aug 2018.

Amsterdam Museum Paradiso 50 Years, exhibition about the iconic music venue in Amsterdam which has hosted many noted artists and bands. Runs 30 Mar to 19 Aug 2018.

Rembrandt House Rembrandt Observes People, features 24 etchings by Rembrandt of daily life in the 17th century, from the Rembrandt House collection. The exhibition runs in 2 parts due to the light sensitive nature of the etchings which need to be switched over. Part one runs 3 Mar to 27 May 2018; part two runs 2 Jun to 2 Sep 2018.

MOCO Museum – This modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. Banksy: Laugh Now (includes Beanfield) is now a permanent exhibition; Roy Lichtenstein: Lasting Influence exhibition runs 3 Nov 2017 until 23 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. Dare to Discover is a virtual reality exhibition (ongoing) which takes visitors back to the Golden Age.

Tropenmuseum – Ethnographic museum featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures. Body Art, an exhibition about body decorations from different cultures. Runs until 26 Aug 2018. Fashion Cities Africa explores the urban fashion scene in Casablanca, Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi as well as Africans in the Netherlands. Runs until 6 Jan 2019.

Huis MarseilleBernd, Hilla and the Others / Photography from Dusseldorf, images from the German city. 9 Mar to 3 Jun 2018.

FOAM Seydou Keïta, Bamako Portraits, colourful collection of Mali photos from the 1950s and 60s. Runs 6 Apr to 20 Jun 2018. Daniëlle van Ark, Artist's Proof, solo exhibition of the Dutch photographer. Runs 20 Apr to 10 Jun 2018.

Van Loon Museum Pastels, exhibition featuring pastel portraits from the 18th and 19th century. Runs 8 Mar to 4 Jun 2018.

Nieuwe KerkWorld Press Photo 2018 is a photo exhibition (61st edition) showcasing the best in news photography. Categories include Daily Life, General News, Contemporary Issues, Long-Term Projects, Nature, People, Spot News and Sport. Runs 14 Apr to 22 Jul 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. Art to Remember: Post-War Work from our Museum Collections, works by 27 artists featuring wartime persecution of the Jews. Runs 26 Mar to 2 Sep 2018.

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. Jews and The House of Orange, exhibition examining the relationship between Jews and the Dutch monarchy. Runs 17 Apr to 30 Sep 2018.

Stadsarchief (Amsterdam City Archives)Rapenburgerstraat 1940-1945, exhibition about wartime persecution of Jews in Amsterdam during the Second World War. Runs 23 Feb to 17 Jun 2018.

EYE FilmHito Steyerl, Ben Rivers, Wang Bing, exhibition featuring 3 filmmakers from Germany, UK and China respectively. Runs 24 Mar to 27 May 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.

Check out our comprehensive Amsterdam museums section

Sport in Amsterdam

Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 11 May 2018.

Inline Skating:
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

Rolling Kitchens– The Rollende Keukens food festival (free entry) features dozens of mobile kitchens and food trucks offering appetising dishes plus live music. Scheduled 9-13 May 2018 (11th edition) at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam.

Oost TAPT Festival – Beer festival (formerly BierOost festival) with food, games and live music at Jaap Eden IJsbaan ice rink in Amsterdam, 26 May 2018.

See our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam

Comedy & Shows in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Magic Show – Monthly magic and comedy show with international performers. At Boom Chicago's Rozentheater, Rozengracht in Amsterdam, Tuesday 1 May 2018 at 2000.

Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held Wed-Sat and playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.

Comedytrain International – Amsterdam's Toomler comedy club presents a stand-up double bill featuring Canadian Glenn Wool and Huge Davies from UK. 13 May 2018 from 2030.

Trevor Noah – The South African stand-up comedian brings his live show to Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 20 May 2018.

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 May are: Oedipus (10/17 May 2018, 2000).

Dutch National Opera & Ballet – Perform opera Gurre-Lieder (Schönberg), various between 18 Apr - 5 May 2018; opera La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart), various between 7-24 May 2018; ballet Ode to the Master, various between 1-13 May 2018; ballet Grimm, various 11 Apr - 27 May 2018.

Portuguese Synagogue Candlelight Concert – Features the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble, 24 May 2018 (2000).

Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands

Netherlands Public Holidays May 2018 – 10 May (Ascension Day) and 21 May (Whit Monday).

National Remembrance Day – Ceremony commemorating the war dead, held in Dam Square on 4 May. A 2 minute silence is held nationwide at 2000. Theater Na De Dam are special theatre performances (mainly in Dutch) inspired by World War 2 held between 2100 and 0000 after the 4 May remembrance service on Dam Square. Various locations around Amsterdam.

Liberation Day – Various events throughout Amsterdam including the main evening concert on the river Amstel from 2100 on 5 May 2018.

Deepak Chopra – The world-renowned doctor and author gives his talk The Future of Wellbeing on the latest findings from alternative and mainstream medicine. Held at AFAS Live on 24 May 2018.

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 9 May 2018.

Dutch Opera & Ballet – Free lunchtime concert in the foyer on Tuesdays at 1230. Concerts on 1/8/29 May 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. 3/24 May 2018 at 1230.

Westerkerk – Free lunchtime church organ concert every Friday at 1300.

Market Events in Amsterdam

Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. At Amstelpark 13 May 2018 (1100-1800) and Park Frankendael, 27 May 2018 (1100-1800).

Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergasfabriek with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. 6 May 2018 (1200-1800); New Market (Deli & Lifestyle) at Nieuwmarkt on 25 May 2018 (1100-1800).

Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music on 20 May 2018 (1200-1800).

IJ-Hallen – Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam with 750 stands. 19-20 May 2018 (0900-1630).

Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam

Sam Smith – 2/5 May, Ziggo Dome
Julien Clerc – 6 May, Carré
Beth Hart – 12 May, Ziggo Dome
Fun Lovin' Criminals – 10/11 May, Paradiso
Tears For Fears – 14 May, AFAS Live
Lara Fabian – 17 May, AFAS Live
Big Daddy Kane – 24 May, Q-Factory
Katy Perry – 26/27 May, Ziggo Dome
The Damned – 27 May, Melkweg
Art Garfunkel – 29 May, Carré

Hotels in Amsterdam

You should book your Amsterdam accommodation in advance if possible. During popular events rooms can be difficult to find and prices can rise significantly! Book your Amsterdam hotel here via Booking.com, which usefully offers free cancellation if your plans change.

Some specific Amsterdam hotel recommendations:

• At the very top-end with 5 star luxury consider Waldorf Astoria, Sofitel Grand, Hotel De L'Europe and Conservatorium.

• Stylish, quality mid-range choices near the city centre include The Toren, Banks Mansion, The Hoxton, Kimpton-De Witt and Sir Adam Hotel.

• For those on a budget check out Conscious Hotel Vondelpark, The Student Hotel, Volkshotel, Jaz Amsterdam (close to Ziggo Dome/ArenA) and Motel One.

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