August in Amsterdam


August is a time for celebration in Amsterdam, as locals and visitors alike embrace the sheer diversity of the city's festival scene. 

From Gay Pride to Opera in the Garden and the European Championships Sand Sculpture Festival to the World Rowing Championships, there's a festival or event to suit everybody's cultural, culinary and sporting tastes.

Graachtenfestival and opera

The Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival, 15-24 August) is a celebration of classical music and budding young artists. Performances and recitals are given by full orchestras, quartets and soloists in diverse venues around Amsterdam, including secluded spots along the canals, privately-owned canal houses and boats, and Westergasfabriek, the city's former gas works. 


On a smaller scale, Opera in the Garden (20-24 August) will see Sir William Turner Walton's opera The Bear performed in the beautiful Van Loon Museum gardens.

amsterdam parade
Theater and Pride parade

Some events run throughout the summer: the Vondelpark Open Air Theatre hosts free events every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May through August and the Amsterdamse Bostheater (Amsterdam Forest Theater) hosts international performers at its intimate open-air stage from June through September.

But August is ushered in with style by Gay Pride (26 July - 3 August), which culminates in a canal parade with over 80 boats carrying thousands of revelers in fancy dress, all dancing to live DJs.

Open-air and World Cinema

The Pluk de Nacht (Seize the Night) open-air cinema runs from 6-16 August on the Westelijke Eilands (Western Islands). A pop-up multiplex set up by the water shows films of all genres and languages (with English subtitles), which are enjoyed from deckchairs, cocktail in hand. 

World Cinema (14-24 August) then hosts indoor and outdoor screenings of international films at a venues across Amsterdam, accompanied by debates, Q&A sessions and parties.

Restaurant Week and Uitmarkt

As August draws to a close, the biannual Restaurant Week (28 August - 7 September) will return to Amsterdam, with many of the city's finest restaurants, including its Michelin-starred establishments, offering three-course menus for €25. 

It's also time for one of the Netherlands' most popular cultural events: Uitmarkt (29-31 August). This free festival attracts over 450,000 visitors for musical, dance and theatrical performances given in various outdoor venues by 2,000 artists with an accompanying book market, Uitmarkt Junior for kids and hundreds of food and craft stalls.