A superb month to be in town, May in Amsterdam rewards tourists with warm, sunny weather, new bulbs in bloom, and an explosion of festivals and other events. The somber commemorations of Dutch Memorial Day (May 4) are followed by nationwide tributes to freedom on Liberation Day (May 5), while the rest of the month celebrates art, music and culture in all its forms.
- Ever warmer weather means more quality time outdoors in Amsterdam's wonderful squares and parks, like Dam Square and the Vondelpark
- Music and performance festivals, both indoors and outdoors, are more frequent
- Keukenhof, the Netherlands' tulip and bulb flower park, is open for most of the month and delivers plenty of late-season attractions
- As Amsterdam draws nearer to its peak summer tourist season, airlines and accommodations hike their prices
- Amsterdam's top attractions can become crowded, especially on weekends, and the end of the school year means an influx of backpackers to add to the masses
- Average high: 63°F (17.2°C)
- Average low: 45°F (7.2°C)
- Average precipitation: 2.4 in (61 mm)
Yearly Festivals & Events in May
See event web sites for this year's visitor information.
- Memorial Day (Dodenherdenking)
The Dutch Memorial Day commemorates the soldiers and civilians who perished in World War II, subsequent wars and peace missions. Hundreds participate in a "silent tour" (Stille Tocht) from Museumplein to Dam Square, where the Queen and prince place a wreath on the National Monument; at 8 p.m., two minutes of silence is observed.
- Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)
Liberation Day is a nationwide celebration of the Netherlands' emancipation from Nazi Germany by Allied troops in 1945, an event that's fêted with concerts, exhibits and more.
The free, yearly "Liberation Pop" festival takes place in nearby Haarlem, whose pristine Frederikspark is taken over by musicians, music lovers and market stalls.
- Amsterdam Open Air
The Amsterdam Open Air outdoor electronic music festival is bound to entice audiences with its focus on Amsterdam's latest favorite acts, set in the Gaasperpark recreation park.
- Beeld voor Beeld Film Festival
The documentary film festival Beeld voor Beeld, held at Amsterdam's Tropics Museum, explores cultural diversity by means of cinema. Filmmakers, both students and professionals, join in to discuss cultural themes with their audiences.
- EuroSong Travestival
The ninth edition of the "Travestival" features Eurovision hits re-envisioned by the Travestie Cabaret, a troupe of transvestite performance artists.
Performance venue Paradiso, an Amsterdam institution, introduces a new festival to celebrate indie music talent from the Netherlands and abroad.
- London Calling
This semi-annual music festival showcases new alternative acts from the UK and elsewhere; Franz Ferdinand made their Dutch debut here in 2003.
- Moulin Blues International Blues & Roots Festival
The Netherlands' premiere blues festival, held in the southeastern town of Ospel since 1986, features international acts like the Jon Amor Blues Group and more in 2012.
Amateur soccer teams compete to the soundtrack of live alternative pop and rock bands, for a unique festival concept that combines two popular passions.