Here is our insider guide to what’s on in Amsterdam, Netherlands during April 2019. 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 2019 – Koningsdag 2019 is the Dutch national holiday to be held on Saturday 27 April 2019. 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 Friday 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.
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.
GVB public transport – ferries, metro, buses and trams – will operate on King’s day with a standard Saturday timetable. Note that some tram lines run an alternative route. You do require a ticket as normal!
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 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
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. Marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death the museum presents All the Rembrandts. This exhibition presents all 22 paintings, 60 drawings and more than 300 best examples of Rembrandt’s prints in the Rijksmuseum collection. Runs 15 Feb to 10 Jun 2019.
Van Gogh Museum – Popular museum with the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings. Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature, discover the parallels between the English artist and Van Gogh. Runs 1 Mar to 26 May 2019.
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 essential.
Hermitage Amsterdam – Showcases an exhibition every 6 months from the vast collection of the grand State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. Treasury! Masterpieces from the Hermitage, an exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hermitage Amsterdam. It features a cross-section of masterpieces from the entire St Petersburg collection. Runs 2 Feb to 25 Aug 2019.
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. Raquel van Haver, Spirits of the Soil major exhibition from the local artist including a series of monumental paintings. Runs 25 Nov 2018 to 7 Apr 2019.
MOCO Museum – This modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. Banksy: Laugh Now (includes Beanfield) is now a permanent exhibition. Daniel Arsham – Connecting Time, solo show from the New York-based artist incorporating architecture, design, sculpture, film and performance. Runs 18 Jan to 30 Sep 2019.
Tropenmuseum – Ethnographic museum featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures. Cool Japan showcases the world’s fascination with all things Japanese – from Hello Kitty to Tokyo fashion. Runs 28 Sep 2018 to 1 Sep 2019.
Rembrandt House – Rembrandt’s Social Network, Family, Friends and Acquaintances. Part of the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, this exhibition looks at the key figures in the artist’s life. Runs 1 Feb to 19 May 2019.
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) – Masterpiece 2019, the 8th edition of Masterpiece featuring an extraordinary piece of art with a spiritual dimension. This year showcases St Michael, a powerful 17th century work by Italian Baroque master Luca Giordano. It runs 16 Feb to 7 Apr 2019. World Press Photo 2019, the world premiere of the international press photo contest exhibition. Runs 13 Apr to 7 Jul 2019.
Het Schip (Amsterdam School Museum) – Gaudí and the Amsterdam School, exhibition will highlight the many similarities between the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and the Amsterdam School. Runs 2 Oct 2018 to 1 Apr 2019.
Stadsarchief – The Amsterdam City Archive presents Private Rembrandt, an exhibition about the life of the artist with original documents, etchings and drawings. Runs 7 Dec 2018 to 7 Apr 2019.
Verzetsmuseum – The Dutch Resistance Museum presents Nach Holland, a photo exhibition of the 1940 invasion of the Netherlands through German eyes. Runs 1 Feb to 19 May 2019.
National Holocaust Museum – Opened in 2016, this museum is under development and currently presents Tangible Memories from the Jewish Monument, exhibition of objects, photos and documents of people affected by the Holocaust. Ongoing until end 2019. The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs: The Netherlands, 1940–1945, runs 28 Jan to 6 Oct 2019.
Jewish Historical Museum – Kabbalah, The Art of Jewish Mysticism, exhibition on how ancient Jewish mystical traditions have inspired artists and performers. Running at the Jewish Cultural Quarter 28 Mar to 25 Aug 2019.
Biblical Museum – Expected: This is my story. About faith, hope and inspiration. Exhibition about young people and Christianity. Runs 9 Feb to 27 Oct 2019.
Oude Kerk – The Instrument of Troubled Dreams, installation specially made for the church by artists Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. Runs 24 Nov 2018 to 29 Apr 2019.
FOAM Photography Museum – Erwin Blumenfeld (colour photos from New York 1941-1960), 15 Feb to 14 Apr 2019. Stories by Santu Mofokeng (Soth African photography), 15 Feb to 28 Apr 2019. Scheltens & Abbenes (still-life art), 15 Mar to 5 Jun 2019.
Huis Marseille Photography Museum – Futures Past & Present / Helga Paris, Céline van Balen, Esther Kroon & Julie Greve, 9 Mar to 2 Jun 2019.
EYE Film – A Tale of Hidden Histories: Broomberg & Chanarin, Omer Fast, Chia-Wei Hsu, Meiro Koizumi – exhibition runs 15 Mar to 26 May 2019.
Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.
Cobra Museum (Amstelveen) – Cobra 70: A multi-headed snake, exhibition celebrating 70 years of the colourful, expressive post-war art movement. Runs 8 Nov 2018 to 2 Jun 2019.
Museumweek 2019 – Many museums in the Netherlands open their doors to the public over the week 8-14 Apr 2019, 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 Excelsior (Eredivisie, Dutch League) – 14 Apr 2019, 1645
Ajax vs Vitesse (Eredivisie) – 24 Apr 2019, 2045
NN Rotterdam Marathon – Big running event in the Netherlands (39th edition) with over 20,000 competitors including a field of world-class athletes. Up to a million spectators line the streets of Rotterdam. Sunday 7 Apr 2019.
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 12 Apr 2019.
League Finals – Ball sport (kind of netball-basketball cross) invented in the Netherlands. League finals day will be on 13 Apr 2019 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 – Following the inaugural event, tulips will be on display again across the entire city for the month of April 2019.
Check out our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam
IAMExpat Fair 2019 – One-day event connecting the expat community with various stands, workshops and presentations. Westergasfabriek, 6 Apr 2019.
KunstRai (Art Amsterdam) – Longest running art fair in the Netherlands (now in its 35th year) offering contemporary Dutch art for sale with more than 70 quality galleries. On 17-22 Apr 2019 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 2 Apr 2019 at 2000.
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held Wed-Sat and playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.
Eddie Izzard – The British actor/comedian brings his live show WUNDERBAR to AFAS Live in Amsterdam on 25 Apr 2019.
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. Performances in April are: Death in Venice (4/5/7/8/10/11/13 Apr 2019); A Little Life (18/25 Apr 2019); The Wood (18/25 Apr 2019).
Dutch National Opera & Ballet – Perform opera Tannhäuser (Wagner), various shows between 6-28 Apr 2019; opera Madama Butterfly (Puccini), 23/26/29 Apr 2019; ballet Giselle, 9/10/11/17/19 Apr 2019; ballet Swan Lake, 2/4/5 Apr 2019.
Pathé Met Opera – The Tuschinski cinema hosts live streaming opera from the Metropolitan in New York. Die Walküre (Wagner) 30 Mar 2019 (1700).
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Easter 2019 – Public holiday in the Netherlands on 22 Apr (Easter Monday).
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
Michelle Obama – Ziggo Dome hosts the former first lady in Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama, 17 Apr 2019.
Keukenhof – The world famous tulip and flower park opens its doors for the season on 21 Mar 2019, running until 19 May 2019. The 2019 theme is Flower Power.
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). Concerts on 3/10/17/25 Apr 2019. 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 – Thursday 11 Apr 2019 (1230).
Market Events in Amsterdam
Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. 14 Apr 2019 (1100-1800) at Amstelpark and 28 Apr 2019 (1100-1800) at Park Frankendael.
Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergasfabriek with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. 7 Apr 2019 (1200-1800). Sunday Market Rokin edition at Oude Turfmarkt on 14 Apr 2019 (1200-1800). New Market (Deli & Lifestyle) at Nieuwmarkt on Friday 19 Apr 2019 (1100-1800).
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music, 21 Apr 2019 (1200-1800).
IJ-Hallen – Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam with 750 stands. 6-7 Apr 2019 (0900-1630).
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
Eros Ramazzotti – 3 Apr, Ziggo Dome
The Specials – 6 Apr, Paradiso
Joe Jackson – 7 Apr, Paradiso
UB40 – 10 Apr, Ziggo Dome
Giorgio Moroder – 15 Apr, Paradiso
Rufus Wainwright – 15 Apr, Carré
Jools Holland – 26 Apr, Paradiso
Glen Hansard – 29/30 Apr, Carré
Alan Parsons Live Project – 30 Apr, Paradiso
Anouk – 30 Apr, Ziggo Dome
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: