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 2021…
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.
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 – Hansken, Rembrandt’s Elephant, the story of Haksen, the most famous elephant of the 17th century who was drawn a number of times by Rembrandt. Runs 1 May to 25 Jul 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.
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.
|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:
Ajax vs FC Emmen 2 May 2021 (1430)
Ajax vs VVV Venlo 13 May 2021 (1430)
Friday Night Run – Free monthly 1 hour run organised by running group Phanos. Meet at Olympic Stadium Amsterdam at 1930 on Friday 14 May 2021.
[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.
Invictus Games 202One – International games for wounded and sick armed service personnel. 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. The postponed Invictus 2020 event is now rescheduled for 29 May to 5 Jun 2021 at Zuiderpark in Den Haag (The Hague).
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 12-16 May 2021 (14th edition) at Westerpark in Amsterdam.
See our complete festival calendar for Amsterdam
Fairs & Expos in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Huishoudbeurs 2021 – Large Dutch household event expo at RAI Amsterdam, 3-9 May 2021.
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. Rescheduled to 27-30 May 2021 at RAI Amsterdam.
TEFAF Maastricht 2021 – World’s premier fair for fine art, antiques and design. Held at MECC in Maastricht, 31 May to 6 Jun 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 4 May 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
Trevor Noah – The South African comedian brings his Loud & Clear Tour to Ziggo Dome Amsterdam on 27 May 2021.
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 May 2021 include operas Die Lustige Witwe and Anna Bolena.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Netherlands Public Holidays May 2021 – Wednesday 5 May (Liberation Day), Thursday 13 May (Ascension Day), and Monday 24 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.
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
Eurovision 2021 – The Eurovision Song Contest 2021 (postponed from 2020) will be hosted by the Netherlands, following the Dutch win in 2019. The final is due to be held on 22 May 2021 at the Ahoy in Rotterdam, with the semi-finals being on 18 and 20 May 2021.
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 concert showcasing young classical talent scheduled for 27 May 2021 at 1230.
Westerkerk – Free lunchtime church organ concert every Friday at 1300. Reservations are now mandatory to limit numbers.
Market Events in Amsterdam
Pure Markt – Regular market event with high quality produce, music, food stalls and other activities. Scheduled for 9 May 2021 (1100-1800) at Amstel Park and 30May 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 2 May 2021 (1200-1800).
Museum Market – Museumplein hosts this Sunday market with arts and crafts, food and music. Scheduled for 16 May 2021 (1000-1800).
IJ-Hallen –Huge weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam. May dates to be confirmed.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam
A-Ha – 5 May, AFAS Live
Pet Shop Boys – 11 May, AFAS Live
Los Lobos – 16 May, Paradiso
Melanie C – 19 May, Melkweg
Queen + Adam Lambert – 29-30 May, Ziggo Dome
Skunk Anansie – 30 May, AFAS Live
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:
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.