10 Most Special Events In The Netherlands
(Last Updated On: 24/12/2021)
If you have just moved to the Netherlands or are thinking of jumping on a train to visit for a few days, you are probably wondering what the 10 Most Special Events In The Netherlands are. You will be pleased to know there is a lot to look forward to, no matter what time of year you visit.
As well as epic pop festivals, there are unique Special events in the Netherlands that you will not find anywhere else: celebrations related to the Dutch monarchy, windmills, and tulips. These events are all fantastic ways to enjoy yourself and get immersed in the Dutch way of doing things!
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Special Events In The Netherlands 1: New Years Day Dive (Nieuwjaarsduik)
This is one of those special events in the Netherlands that is not for the faint hearted! If you want to start the year fresh, take a chilly dive taken on New Years Day (Nieuwjaarsdag). This Dutch festival was started by a swim club in 1960. There are 209 dive locations in the Netherlands you can take a dive. Although, diving into the North Sea at Scheveningen, The Hague, is the most popular location with up to 60,000 people. Afterward, shivering swimmers are presented with a cup of erwtensoep, a warm meaty pea soup.
Special Events In The Netherlands 2: Chinese New Year
Did you know that the Netherlands has one of the largest Chinese communities in Europe? We think that is definitely worth a spot on our top 10 Most special events in the Netherlands! They predominantly live in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, in which there is a range of events celebrating the Chinese New Year. In Amsterdam, head to Dam Square and the Nieuwmarkt/Zeedijk to see dragon parades, lion dances, and fireworks. You can also attend special activities in the De Bijenkorf department store, including calligraphy workshops, music performances, and tea ceremonies, or in the Buddhist temple Fo Guang Shan He Hua.
The day is also about food, and in Amsterdam, you can eat tasty food at street markets, at the Sea Palace (Europes first floating Chinese restaurant), or at one of the many Chinese restaurants along the Stormsteeg and Geldersekade. In the Hague, you will find Chinese festivals in the atrium of the city hall and in Den Haags Chinatown around Wagenstraat. You can find events in Rotterdam leading up to the Chinese New Year, topped off by a day of Chinese celebrations around Wijkpark het Oude Westen and West Kruiskade Chinatown. If you are superstitious, on Chinese New Year’s Eve eat a raw fish salad (yu sheng) to bring good luck or fai hai, a type of seaweed, for prosperity. Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Happy New Year!)
Special Events In The Netherlands 3: Keukenhof (March To May)
The Keukenhof is arguably the most famous garden in the Netherlands. Gaze in awe at millions of multi colored tulips blooming in this beautiful Dutch park from late March to mid May. The Keukenhof, which means kitchen garden, has been around since the 15th century and covers a whopping 32 hectares. These days, the Keukenhof welcomes 800.000 visitors annually.
One of the highlights of the 2018 theme was the gigantic flower bulb mosaic, covering an area of 250m2 and consisting of 50.000 tulips, grape hyacinths, and crocuses. What will the next edition entail?
If Special Events in the Netherlands includes free food, you can count me in! At 50% off, it is practically a steal! Visit this Dutch festival for foodies, where you can dine in some of the top restaurants in the Netherlands for crazy discounts.
Hundreds of participating restaurants in many Dutch cities offer a surprise three course dinner menu for the special rate of 28,50 euros. Michelin starred restaurants charge an extra fee, and restaurants listed in the top 250 also require a small supplement. Whether you are a foodie with a limited budget or simply curious to try out some different fine dining options without putting too much of a hole in your wallet, then you will love Restaurant Week. This special offer takes place twice a year in the Netherlands.
To make it easier to book a table, the organizers of the event have made a list of the 500 restaurants participating, per city, on the Restaurant Week website.
5: Kings Day (April 27)
One of the most special events in the Netherlands, if not one of the most fun and chaotic, is On Kings Day, which is King Willem Alexander’s birthday. Dutch cities host street parties, flea markets, and activities, turning the whole of the Netherlands into the biggest festival of the year. You can definitely add this to one of the most special events in the Netherlands! People head out to celebrate, play music, dress up in orange, and have an all-round good, if not chaotic, time. Kings Night is celebrated the night before Kings Day, with wild parties in the city centers attracting crowds from miles around.
Special Events In The Netherlands 6: Bloemencorso
Have you ever witnessed a nine-meter tall float, covered in flowers and gliding through the streets, powered by nothing but manpower? Well, you are about to! Bloemencorso Zundert is the largest flower parade in the world entirely made by volunteers. Every year each hamlet tries to build the most beautiful float it has ever built. Visit this very special event in Zundert as you will be overwhelmed. Corso Zundert is all about seeing and, in that, believing!
Special Events In The Netherlands 7: Leidens Ontzet (Relief Of Leiden)
The 10 Most special events in the Netherlands need to include tradition, of course. The event of Leiden is one of them! It commemorates the Spanish siege and subsequent relief of the city in 1574. Leiden becomes one great festival for two days in a row. Enjoy the parade, fun fair, market, concerts, parties, fireworks, and traditional dishes.
Despite the funfair and numerous parties, Leidens Ontzet is a celebration with many traditions with historical meanings. The morning of three October starts with the reveille at the city hall. Free herring and white bread are then given out at the Leidse Waag. You can then enjoy a musical gathering in the Van Der Werf park and service in the Pieterskerk. In the evening people traditionally eat a carrot and onion stew called Hutspot. The festivities end with a grand firework show.
Special Events In The Netherlands 8: Sail Amsterdam
SAIL traditionally starts with the Parade: hundreds of ships sail into the IJ and form a unique sight that you will never forget. In the following days, several matches on the water take place, including Skutsjesilen(sailing with a typical Frisian ship). The Royal Netherlands Navy will also display its skills on the water.
Next to all the activity on the water, there is also plenty to do on the wharves, which makes it so special. The SAIL program boasts entertainment, art, culture, music, and sporting and children activities.
SAIL Amsterdam guarantees an impressive and incomparable fleet of tall ships, sailing heritage craft, modern ships, naval ships, and replicas.
Special Events In The Netherlands 9: Tenting Days
Special campsites, affordable camping, and camping in the wild are possible in the Netherlands during the Tenting Days (Uit je Tent). The organization of the Tenting Days cooperates with many partners. Namely; camping sites, the Society for the Preservation of Natural Monuments in the Netherlands, as well as the Forestry Commission. You are given the chance to camp in the most interesting, cheap, and wild locations of the Noordoostpolder. It is also super fun for adults and kids alike!
Special Events In The Netherlands 10: Parkpop
Parkpop is one of the largest pop events in the Netherlands, held annually on the last Sunday of June. What makes it so special, is that it is completely free!
A regular event since 1981, this national pop festival has put The Hague on the map. Thanks to free music festivals on a large scale. For many years, it was even the largest free pop music festival in all of Europe! You can expect over 350.000 people at this awesome festival.
If you are coming from another part of The Hague, it is a great idea to cycle to the venue at Zuiderpark.
We have named the 10 Most special events in the Netherlands, but there are countless others. Get on a train with the help of Save A Train and see for yourself!
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