Here is our insider guide to what’s on in Amsterdam, Netherlands during April 2021. There’s normally 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…
The Dutch Government continues bringing in ‘precautionary’ measures to contain the ‘coronavirus’. Some events are cancelled [X] or may be cancelled/rescheduled at short notice with limits on capacity.
King’s Day in Amsterdam
[?] King’s Day 2021 – Koningsdag 2021 is the Dutch national holiday to be held on Tuesday 27 April 2021. 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.
Note, due to the current ‘coronavirus’ measures, it is not known whether this event will take place in 2021 in its previous form (as described below). The 2020 event was cancelled.
King’s Day is 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 Monday 26 April 2021 (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.
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, Noorderpark, Rembrandtplein, 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 4 large dance parties planned which are held outside of the centre. These are: Kingsland Festival (RAI Amsterdam), Urban Music Festival (Stadspodium, Turbinestraat), Loveland van Oranje (Meerpark) and Oranjebloesem (Olympic Stadium). Entry is only for ticket holders, no at-the-door sales.
Street Art Today organises the King Spray Street Art Festival on 27 April with over 20 renowned international graffiti artists painting live on 4 enormous installations. Location is at the NDSM-wharf, free entrance.
The best way of getting around Amsterdam on King’s Day is on foot – temporary signposts can guide you to areas of interest.
GVB public transport – Ferries, metro and some buses will operate on King’s day with a standard Saturday timetable. You do require a ticket as normal! Trams run a Saturday timetable with some lines running alternative routes and avoiding the inner centre.
Train services run on a special King’s Day timetable so double check with NS Dutch Railways (ns.nl) if planning travel or going to the airport.
If coming to Amsterdam from other parts of the 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, NEMO 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.
|The Iamsterdam City Card (1-5 days) offers free entry and discounts to numerous Amsterdam attractions and also includes a free transport pass as well. It costs €65 to €130.
You can order the Iamsterdam City Card online here
Museums & Exhibitions in Amsterdam
Museums in the Netherlands are closed until at least 9 February 2021. Once open again visitors need to buy a ticket (and time-slot) online in advance, masks are mandatory.
For a comprehensive selection of museums, activities and tours in Amsterdam book here
Rijksmuseum – The Rijksmuseum’s rich collection (including Rembrandt’s Night Watch) is a must-see in Amsterdam. Slavery, exhibition focuses on slavery in the Dutch colonial period from the 17th to the 19th century. Runs 12 Feb to 30 May 2021. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here
Rijksmuseum Schiphol – Amsterdam airport hosts 10 paintings of the Dutch Golden Age from the Rijksmuseum collection. The Rijksmuseum Schiphol is located on Holland Boulevard (between Lounges 2 and 3 in non-Schengen departures) and is open 24 hours a day to passengers free of charge.
Van Gogh Museum – Popular museum with the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings. Here to Stay, exhibition about the artworks the museum has acquired in the last decade. Runs 5 Feb to 24 May 2021. Book Van Gogh Museum tickets here
Anne Frank House – Visit the canal house on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal where Anne Frank wrote her famous teenage wartime diary whilst hiding from German occupation.
Hermitage Amsterdam – Showcases an exhibition every 6 months from the vast collection of the grand State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. Exhibition Tsars & Knights, a unique collection of suits of armour and antique weapons. 17 Oct 2020 to 31 Jul 2021.
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 17th Century.
Museum of the Mind (Outsider Art) – This museum at the Hermitage showcases extraordinary art by unconventional artists who have not been formally trained.
Stedelijk – Amsterdam’s main modern and contemporary art museum. STEDELIJK BASE is the permanent installation featuring around 700 pieces. Surinamese School, Painting from Paramaribo to Amsterdam, exhibition presenting 100 artworks by 35 artists on Surinamese history, spirituality and everyday life. Expected 12 Dec 2020 to 31 May 2021. Book Stedelijk tickets here
MOCO Museum – This modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. THE KID: The Future Is Old, an exhibition by the contemporary American artist on social issues runs 19 Nov 2020 to 31 Jul 2021. Banksy: Laugh Now (includes Beanfield) is now a permanent exhibition. Book MOCO Museum tickets here
Tropenmuseum – Ethnographic museum featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures.
Rembrandt House – Hello Rembrandt! – an interactive exhibition for young explorers from 7 to 12 years old. Runs 19 Dec 2020 to 11 Apr 2021.
Stadsarchief – Breitner, Israels and contemporaries. Amsterdam in watercolor and pastel, cityscape masterpieces from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Runs 2 Mar to 30 May 2021.
Nieuwe Kerk – History & Royalty. 600 Years of History, exhibition on the history of the church which includes the new Panorama Nieuwe Kerk, a large film installation. Runs 5 Dec 2020 to 11 Apr 2021.
FOAM Photography Museum – Shigeru Onishi – The Possibility of Existence, the first solo exhibition of the Japanese mathematician photographer in Europe. Runs 30 Apr to 25 Aug 2021. Book FOAM tickets here
Jewish Historical Museum – A Grave in the Clouds, an exhibition about Paul Celan’s poem Todesfuge. Runs 11 Dec 2020 to 16 May 2021. Book Jewish Cultural Quarter tickets here
Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.
COBRA (Amstelveen) – Under the Skin – Claude Cahun, retrospective exhibition of of the progressive French artist, activist and writer Claude Cahun (1894–1954). Runs 15 Oct 2020 to 9 May 2021.
[?] National Museumweek 2021 – Many museums in the Netherlands organise special events over 1 week. The 2020 event was online-only. Expected late April 2021.
Sport in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Ajax home fixtures at Johan Cruyff Arena Amsterdam:
Ajax vs AZ Alkmaar 25 Apr 2021 (1430)
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 9 Apr 2021.
League Finals – Ball sport (kind of netball-basketball cross) invented in the Netherlands. League finals day will be in 10 Apr 2021 at the Ahoy Rotterdam.
[X] Friday Night Skate – 20km organised skate around the streets of Amsterdam held every Friday night (2030, weather permitting) from Vondelpark Pavilion. Cancelled until further notice.
See the full annual sport calendar for Amsterdam
Festivals in Amsterdam
Tulp Festival – This festivals brings displays of tulips across the entire city during the month of April 2021.
Imagine Film Festival – Well-established international film festival (formerly Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival) showing sci-fi, cult, fantasy and horror films. Expected 7-17 Apr 2021 (37th edition) at EYE Film, Amsterdam.
DGTL Festival – Global electronic music festival with mix of art installations and sustainability projects. Amsterdam edition expected April 2021 at NDSM-wharf.
Check out our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam
IAMExpat Fair 2021 – One-day event connecting the expat community with various stands, workshops and presentations. Westergas, 17 Apr 2021.
IAMS 2021 – The International Amsterdam Motor Show is the country’s biggest motor show and features over 300 supercars, hypercars, electric and classic cars. Runs at RAI Amsterdam, 1-5 Apr 2021.
Comedy & Shows in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Magic Show – Monthly magic and comedy show with international performers. At Boom Chicago’s Rozentheater, Rozengracht in Amsterdam, Tuesday 6 Apr 2021 at 2000. Book Amsterdam Magic Show tickets here
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv shows in English playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht. Book Boom Chicago here
Classical Concerts & Theatre in Amsterdam
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) – Amsterdam’s renowned theatre company performs shows in Dutch which have live English surtitles above the stage – for Thursday night shows at the Stadsschouwburg theatre.
Dutch National Opera & Ballet – Productions in April 2021 include opera Die Lustige Witwe and ballet Cindarella.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Easter 2021 – Public holiday in the Netherlands on 2 Apr (Easter Friday) and 5 Apr (Easter Monday).
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
Keukenhof 2021 – The world famous tulip and flower park is expected to open its doors for the spring season (20 Mar to 9 May 2021), albeit under new social distancing measures. Book Keukenhof entry tickets with Amsterdam transfer here
Free Concerts in Amsterdam
Most of the free concerts offered by various venues in Amsterdam have been temporarily suspended.
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ – Free lunchtime concerts showcasing young classical talent scheduled for 1/22/29 Apr 2021 at 1230.
Market Events in Amsterdam
Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. Scheduled for 11 Apr 2021 (1100-1800) at Amstel Park and 25 Apr 2021 (1100-1800) at Park Frankendael.
Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergas with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. Scheduled for 4 Apr 2021 (1200-1800).
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music. Scheduled for 18 Apr 2021 (1000-1800).
IJ-Hallen –Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam with up to 750 stands. April dates to be confirmed.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
Céline Dion – 5/7/8 Apr, Ziggo Dome
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – 11 Apr, Ziggo Dome
Paul Weller – 11/12 Apr, Paradiso
The Mission – 13 Apr, Paradiso
Billy Bragg – 15/16/17 Apr, Paradiso
Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra – 24 Apr, Paradiso
Joe Satriani – 25 Apr, Melkweg
Hotels in Amsterdam
You should book your Amsterdam accommodation in advance if possible. During popular events (especially around King’s Day) 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:
Disclaimer: While we make every effort to keep this listing up-to-date, events can always be cancelled or re-scheduled at short notice. Please double-check with the event organisers.