The best festivals in the Netherlands

The best festivals in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a wide and amiable range of festivals to choose from. Music, food, film, theatre... and much more! Read on and find out which festivals are simply unmissable!

The Netherlands has a huge variety when it comes to festivals. Music, food, film, theatre or art, you name it! From small-scale festivals geared towards the subculture to massive events catered for thousands of visitors. Most festivals are held during the spring and summer months but there’s plenty of choice throughout the rest of the year as well. We summed up the best festivals especially for you!
Dutch Ice Sculpture festival
During this frozen spectacle, the ArenA Boulevard in Amsterdam is transformed into a sensational paradise made of ice. Revolving around ice sculptures, artists from around the globe gather to carve their best creations out of immense chunks of ice. Pieces range from individual models to entire cities! Each year holds a different theme for a fresh dose of inspiration and artwork. The Dutch Ice Sculpture can be admired from mid-December to early February.
Liberation Day festival
On May 5, 1945 the Netherlands was liberated from the Germans during the Second World War. This significant day in the country’s history is still celebrated each year during Liberation Day. Nowadays the festival also shares its historical value together with the celebration of our freedom of democracy and human rights. Reason enough for a party! Several cities including Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, The Hague, Groningen and Rotterdam are host to major festivals. Added bonus is that most of them are free to visit! Different bands and DJs usually take care of the musical element and there is also plenty of room for other art forms. Each city organises their own program so be sure to check for a full overview beforehand! One thing is for sure, it all takes place on the 5th of May.
TREK Food festival
TREK is a travelling food festival held in cities throughout the country such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Numerous food trucks are on site to serve a mouth-watering array of different dishes. Entrance is entirely free and several bands also perform during the festival. The food trucks journey their way through the Netherlands from May to September. Visit the website for more information by date and city!
De Parade theatre festival
De Parade theatre festival mainly revolves around theatre but performances also include dance, music and mime. This festival also travels around the Netherlands and is held in cities like The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. All acts seen during the festival are entirely new and some even created especially for the festival itself! It serves as a great platform and unique gathering of different art forms where a bite to eat and drinks can be enjoyed too. The festival pops around from late June till the end of August.
The Dutch Film Festival
The Dutch Film Festival, locally known as the NFF, is held in Utrecht each year. New releases can be seen which vary from art house to mainstream. Foreigners are not left aside as  many films include English subtitles. Towards the end of the festival, the Dutch Oscars are awarded, known as De Gouden Kalveren. The festival is showcased halfway through September. Looking for more movies and documentaries? Be sure to visit the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) mid-November or the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in late January.
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