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 2020…
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. Caravaggio-Bernini. Baroque in Rome, exhibition exploring the beginnings of European baroque in Rome, with masterpieces from painter Caravaggio (1571-1610) and the sculptor Bernini (1598-1680). Runs 14 Feb to 7 Jun 2020 in the Philips Wing. 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. In the Picture, exhibition featuring 75 portrait works from Vincent van Gogh and the likes of Edvard Munch, Charley Toorop, Gustave Courbet, Paul Cézanne and Helene Schjerfbeck. Runs 21 Feb to 24 May 2020. 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. Jewels! an exhibition which is part of the 10th anniversary of the Hermitage Amsterdam. It features highlights from the fabulous jewellery collection of the State Hermitage. Runs 14 Sep 2019 to 3 May 2020.
New exhibition:Tsars & Knights, exhibition about how 19th century Europe developed a growing nostalgia for the Middle Ages and how the Russian Tsars obtained a significant collection of medieval artworks, suits of armour and display weaponry. Opens 26 May and runs until 8 Nov 2020.
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.
Outsider Art Museum – This museum at the Hermitage showcases extraordinary art by unconventional artists who have not been formally trained.
Nieuwe Kerk – World Press Photo 2020, renowned photo-journalism exhibition held annually at Amsterdam’s New Church. Runs 18 Apr to 26 Jul 2020.
Stedelijk – Amsterdam’s main modern and contemporary art museum. STEDELIJK BASE is the permanent installation featuring around 700 pieces.
Amsterdam Museum – Beer, exhibition charting the history of the alcoholic beverage in Amsterdam covering many facets such as brewing, consumption, advertising and changing attitudes. Runs 9 Apr to 30 Aug 2020.
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. BALI – Behind the scenes, an exhibition about the island on the Indonesian archipelago which looks at the environmental impact of tourism and the island traditions and culture. Runs 14 Feb 2020 to 10 Jan 2021. What a Genderful World, an exhibition which looks at cultural influences on gender around the world. Runs 11 Oct 2019 to 23 Aug 2020.
Verzetsmuseum – Fashion on a Ration, exhibition at the Dutch Resistance Museum examining how fashion changed during the wartime period due to fabric shortages – in stark contrast to the throwaway society we live in today. Runs 11 Oct 2019 to 2 Jun 2020.
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.
Huis Marseille Photography Museum – Viviane Sassen Venus & Mercury, solo exhibition of the Dutch artist. Runs 14 Mar to 31 May 2020.
Body Worlds – Display of human body plastinate specimens at the permanent venue on Damrak. The exhibition focuses on happiness.
|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
Sport in Amsterdam and the Netherlands
Ajax home fixtures at Johan Cruyff Arena Amsterdam:
AFC Ajax vs VVV Venlo – 3 May 2020, 1430 (Eredivisie)
Formula 1 Grand Prix – F1 returns to the Netherlands for the first time since 1985. The Zandvoort circuit will host the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday 3 May 2020, with practice and qualifying on the Friday and Saturday.
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 8 May 2020.
Amsterdam Sevens – Annual international rugby sevens tournament with over 120 teams to be played at the National Rugby Centre in Amsterdam, 30-31 May 2020.
Friday Night Skate – 20km organised skate around the streets of Amsterdam held every Friday night (2030, weather permitting) from Vondelpark Pavilion.
Invictus Games 2020 – International games for wounded and sick armed service personnel will be held in and around Zuiderpark in Den Haag (The Hague) 9-16 May 2020. With 500 participants, the program includes 10 sports: athletics, powerlifting, archery, indoor rowing, JLR Driving Challenge, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, cycling, sitting volleyball and swimming.
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 20-24 May 2020 (13th edition) at Westergas, Amsterdam.
Drinks Amsterdam – Replacing the Gin Festival, this drink event features masterclasses, seminars and tastings. 16 May 2020 at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.
Oost TAPT Festival – Beer festival with food, games and live music at Jaap Eden IJsbaan ice rink in Amsterdam, expected May 2020 (unconfirmed).
Taste of Amsterdam – Culinary festival held over 4 days with dishes from some of Amsterdam’s best restaurants and chefs. Events include tastings, workshops, a food market and live music. 29 May to 1 Jun 2020 at Amstelpark, Amsterdam.
See our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam
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. Held 29 Apr to 3 May 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 5 May 2020 at 2000. Book Amsterdam Magic Show tickets here
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv show held Wed-Sat and playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht. Book Boom Chicago here
Trevor Noah – The South African stand-up comedian plays his Loud & Clear Tour show at Ziggo Dome on 27 May 2020.
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 – Production highlights in May are Grimm (ballet), Dir Frau Ohne Schatten (opera) and Carmen (opera).
Book a concert here at Amsterdam’s renowned Royal Concertgebouw hall.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Netherlands Public Holidays May 2020 – Tuesday 5 May (Liberation Day) and Thursday 21 May (Ascension Day).
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 2019.
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.
Eurovision 2020 – The Eurovision Song Contest 2020 will be hosted by the Netherlands, following the Dutch win in 2019. The final is due to be held on 16 May 2020 at the Ahoy in Rotterdam, with the semi-finals being on 12 and 14 May 2020.
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. Concert dates are 6/20/27 May 2020.
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. Concerts this month on Tuesday 12/19/26 May 2020 running 1230-1300, doors open 1215.
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ – Free monthly concert showcasing young classical talent. The Thursday lunchtime concert this month is on 7 May 2020 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. 10 May 2020 (1100-1800) at Amstelpark, 17 May 2020 (1100-1800) at Amsterdamse Bos, 31 May 2020 (1100-1800) at Park Frankendael.
Sunday Market – Sunday market at Westergas with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. 3 May 2020 (1200-1800); Homeware Market at De Hallen 10 May 2020 (1100-1700); New Market (Deli & Lifestyle) at Nieuwmarkt on Friday 29 May 2020 (1100-1800); Sunday Market Rokin edition at Oude Turfmarkt on 31 May 2020 (1200-1800).
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music. 17 May 2020 (1000-1800).
IJ-Hallen – Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam. 9-10 May 2020 (0900-1630) with 750 stands indoors and outdoors.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
Keith Urban – 2 May, AFAS Live
Harry Styles – 6 May, Ziggo Dome
Pet Shop Boys – 6 May, AFAS Live
The Analogues – Let it Be: Abbey Road – 6/7/8 May, Carré
Fat Freddy’s Drop – 7 May, AFAS Live
Dua Lipa – 7 May, Ziggo Dome
Suzanne Vega – 9 May, Melkweg
Los Lobos – 15 May, Paradiso
Paul Weller – 21 May, Paradiso
Korn – 28 May, AFAS Live
Queen + Adam Lambert – 29/30 May, Ziggo Dome
Paul McCartney – 29 May, Goffertpark Nijmegen
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: