Here is our insider guide to what’s on in Amsterdam, Netherlands during April 2020. 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 2020 – Koningsdag 2020 is the Dutch national holiday to be held on Monday 27 April 2020. 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 Sunday 26 April 2020 (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 (5th edition, to be confirmed) 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 €60 to €115.
You can order the Iamsterdam City Card online here
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. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here
Van Gogh Museum – Popular museum with the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings. Book Van Gogh Museum tickets here
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 you must pre-book online for a date/time slot.
Hermitage Amsterdam – Showcases an exhibition every 6 months from the vast collection of the grand State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia.
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.
Stedelijk – Amsterdam’s main modern and contemporary art museum. STEDELIJK BASE is the permanent installation featuring around 700 pieces.
MOCO Museum – This modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. 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.
Hollandsche Schouwburg – Perspectives of the Holocaust, a penetrating installation with audio, video, photos and virtual reality which tell of Holocaust survivors’ experiences. [Note, some images are shocking and are not suitable for under 16s.] Runs until 1 May 2020.
Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.
Cobra Museum (Amstelveen) – Sigmar Polke vs Blaudzun. Music of Unknown Origin, audio-visual exhibition expected 14 Dec 2019 to 5 Apr 2020.
Museumweek 2020 – Many museums in the Netherlands open their doors to the public over the week 20-26 Apr 2020, for special events.
Sport in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Football (new season 2019/20, fixtures to be announced):
Ajax home match at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam
NN Rotterdam Marathon – Big running event in the Netherlands (40th edition) with over 20,000 competitors including a field of world-class athletes. Up to a million spectators line the streets of Rotterdam. Sunday 4 Apr 2020.
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 10 Apr 2020.
League Finals – Ball sport (kind of netball-basketball cross) invented in the Netherlands. League finals day will be in Apr 2020 (dates to be confirmed) 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
Tulp Festival – Now in its 3rd year, this festivals brings displays of tulips across the entire city during the month of April 2020.
Imagine Film Festival – Well-established international film festival (formerly Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival) showing sci-fi, cult, fantasy and horror films. To be held Apr 2020 (36th edition, dates to be confirmed) at EYE Film, Amsterdam.
DGTL Festival – Global electronic music festival with mix of art installations and sustainability projects. Amsterdam edition expected in Apr 2020 at NDSM-wharf.
Check out our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam
IAMExpat Fair 2020 – One-day event connecting the expat community with various stands, workshops and presentations. Westergas, 4 Apr 2020.
KunstRai (Art Amsterdam) – Longest running art fair in the Netherlands (now in its 36th year) offering contemporary Dutch art for sale with more than 70 quality galleries. Expected Apr 2020 at Amsterdam RAI.
Comedy & Shows in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Magic Show – Monthly magic and comedy show with international performers. At Boom Chicago’s Rozentheater, Rozengracht in Amsterdam, Tuesday 7 Apr 2020 at 2000.
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held Wed-Sat and playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.
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 – 2019/20 season shows to be announced.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Easter 2020 – Public holiday in the Netherlands on 10 Apr (Easter Friday) and 13 Apr (Easter Monday).
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
Keukenhof – The world famous tulip and flower park opens its doors for the season on 21 Mar 2020, running until 10 May 2020. The 2020 theme is A World of Colours.
Free Concerts in Amsterdam
Bimhuis – Jazz venue has free Workshop & Session every Tuesday at 2000.
Concertgebouw – Free lunchtime concerts held on occasional Wednesdays 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.
Dutch Opera & Ballet – These lunchtime concerts in the Opera & Ballet foyer present music by small groups of musicians, including members of the Chorus of Dutch National Opera, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Almost every Tuesday 1230-1300, doors open 1215.
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ – Free monthly concert showcasing young classical talent.
Market Events in Amsterdam
Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. Dates to be announced, at Park Frankendael.
Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergas with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. Dates to be announced.
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music. Dates to be announced.
IJ-Hallen – Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam. Dates to be announced.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
Luka Bloom – 11 Apr, Paradiso
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: