The Dutch really know how to party, as well as what makes a festival successful. Here are ten of the many incredible festivals hosted by the country that you should not miss if you are traveling there.
1. Amsterdam Dance Event
Amsterdam Dance Event, also known as ADE, is a five-day conference and festival for electronic music held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, every October. ADE is without a doubt one of the leading electronic music platforms in the world, accompanied by the largest club festival that spans the entire spectrum and encompasses every subgenre of electronic music. Each year, the conference chooses specific countries or regions to highlight in terms of music, emerging talent, technology, and their overall dance music scene. DJ cook-offs, masterclasses, and the new ADE Playground with more than 20 pop-up events, surprise daytime appearances by top DJs, special product lines, film screenings, and discounts in shops and bars!
2. Bloemencorso Zundert Flower Celebration
Bloemencorso, the largest flower parade in the world, is entirely organized by volunteers. The annual parade is held on the first Sunday of September in the small town of Zundert. The massive floats that comprise the parade are constructed by hamlets, which are small communities of builders who dedicate three months to its completion. Because the flowers must be fresh, they can only be applied approximately one week before the parade. Prior to this year, seventeen hamlets participated in the festival, each of which constructed a float that they displayed with great pride. The 2015 parade was entirely devoted to Vincent van Gogh, resulting in a massive spectacle that was truly magnificent.
3. Cannabis Cup
Cannabis Cup is possibly the most renowned festival in Amsterdam that promotes the cultivation and use of marijuana. This five-day event will introduce you to the world of marijuana. Cannabis Cup was founded in 1987 by an American activist, Steven Hager, who has been a staunch advocate for the legalization of marijuana. It is a modern-day harvest festival where stoners and hemp enthusiasts gather to experience and learn about their favorite pastime. At the festival, you can sample various strains of cannabis, attend seminars on legalization, and eat delicious munchie foods.
4. Terschellings Oerol Festival of Theatre
Terschellings Oerol Festival, which creates site-specific theater and art projects on a small island, is one of the most innovative theater festivals. Since 1982, the island of Terschellings has been Oerol, a natural stage for dance, theater, street theater, music, and site-specific art installations. The shows are designed to create awe-inspiring experiences and to complement their surroundings. They are both communal and intimate, so you might see a string quartet in their underwear under a tree in one location, a modern dance company with the ocean as a backdrop in another, or a riveting play in a historic barn. It is inexpensive, easily accessible, and well worth every penny and second.
Redheads from around the world celebrate RedheadDay or Roodharigendag, a festival dedicated to them. Breda, in the Netherlands, hosts a festival dedicated to and organized for all the redheads in the world, as well as their non-redhead counterparts, partners, friends, and family. This enormous ginger celebration featured some pretty cool activities, such as music, a speed dating event, a scooter tour, and a fashion show featuring the stunning Dutch-African model Sterra Vlamings. At this festival, redheads celebrate their ethnicity, gorgeous hair, and vivacious personalities with wacky costumes, photo exhibits, and a great deal of fun.
6. Amsterdam Gay Pride
This is one of Amsterdam’s largest public festivals and one of the most well-known gay pride celebrations in the world. Amsterdam is renowned for being one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in Europe, and every year 150,000 people attend the festival’s highlight, the Canal Parade. A hundred or so extravagantly decorated boats cruise the city’s canals, making it the only floating gay pride in the world. This festival features street discos, open-air theatre performances, a film festival, a sports program, and highly anticipated parties. Everyone is welcome to attend this celebration.
7. Step In The Arena Graffiti Festival
Each year, over 200 graffiti artists display their talent at one of the largest graffiti festivals in Europe. The 2015 edition, held at the Berenkuil (“bear pit”) crossing on Eindhoven’s main road at the Insulindelaan, attracted artists from all over the world, including Spain, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, and the result was stunning. This festival has left its mark on several Eindhoven walls. The festival lasts for ten consecutive days, and the entire city is captivated by hip hop, breakdance, skateboarding, BMX, graffiti, and street art.
8. International Fireworks Festival at Scheveningen
This festival is actually an international fireworks competition, and the resulting display will astound you. Teams and producers of fireworks from various nations travel to Scheveningen, a quaint beach town close to The Hague, to exhibit their talent and ingenuity. For four days, the night sky is filled with a spectacular display of fireworks of all types, and tens of thousands of spectators gather to witness this noisy and bright explosion. Each evening features two performances, and the winners are announced on the third night. The beachfront cafes here offer the best views of the fireworks and are typically crowded on festival days.
9. King’s Day (Koningsdag)
On April 30, 2013, the Dutch welcomed their first male monarch since 1890: King Willem-Alexander. The people of Netherlands have been celebrating Queen’s Day on April 30 for decades. The festival will have a new name (King’s Day) and a new date (April 27) beginning the following year, but the festivities will remain largely the same. The annual Amsterdam celebration of the monarch’s birthday is an unmissable Dutch tradition. In a city known for its lax laws, these twenty-four hours have virtually no regulations. Massive flea markets (anything can be sold without a permit), picnics, concerts, and much more fill the streets.
10. Rotterdam International Film Festival
January and February
This is a film festival that you must attend if you have any interest in cinema. The festival is well-known for attracting a diverse audience, as its films promote diversity and foster a relationship between filmmakers and viewers. In addition to red carpet events and screenings, audiences also have opportunities to interact with filmmakers. The festival showcases some of the finest local and international films, which then compete at larger festivals. You should not miss this event if you are in Rotterdam at the time because it embodies the Dutch spirit of tolerance and diversity.
Topic: 10 OF THE MOST UNIQUE FESTIVALS IN THE NETHERLANDS
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