Amsterdam Weekend Guide: January 19-21
Yet again the year is flying by and we’re already more than halfway through month one, but hopefully you’ve been following my always brilliant advice (yep, I went there) about the best events in Amsterdam to fill your weekends.
This week we have a Dutch event celebrating one of the country’s most famous symbols, a film screening of an underrated gem, the final chance to see Amsterdam’s always brilliant Light Festival, a bacon-clad diva and a classic classical morning concert.
National Tulip Day
Each year the Dutch have a special day to celebrate the country’s symbol and one of its most famous exports – the tulip. In Amsterdam that means that on National Tulip Day – 20 January this year – Dutch tulip growers will create a massive temporary garden bursting with around 200,000 tulips on Dam Square. More than 10,000 people traditionally come along to pick up their own free tulip from Amsterdam every year – so don’t miss the chance to be a part of this brilliant Dutch tradition and head down to pick your own! The special theme for this year is ‘romantic’, so expect plenty of red and perhaps some floral-inspired PDAs.
Sat // Dam Square // 13:00 // Free
Lab 111: The Cat Returns – Studio Ghibli season
Look, I will be honest with you, I keep including LAB 111 events on my weekend guides. I am trying to stop, but the independent cinema just keeps putting on great events and screenings. It’s their fault really. Honest. So the latest highlight for your attention is this screening of perhaps the funniest and certainly underrated The Cat Returns from Studio Ghibli. Featuring a multitude of cute cats and Tim Curry’s incredible Cat King – perhaps my favourite Ghibli character ever – it’s one not to miss.
Lady Gaga @ Ziggo Dome
It might not be for everyone this gig, but I think the one thing you could guarantee with a Lady Gaga show is that you’re bound to witness the spectacular (and, perhaps, the bizarre). As the feisty New Yorker is due to start a startlingly lucrative residency in premier sin-centre Las Vegas at the end of the year, this mega-concert at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome is likely to be the last chance to see everyone’s favourite bacon-clad popstar for a while.
Sat // Ziggo Dome // 19:30 // €60 // Website
The Sunday Morning Concert @ The Royal Concertgebouw
Is there any better way to blow off those Sunday cobwebs than with a morning concert performed by some of the Netherlands’ top musicians? The answer is a semi-firm no. And even if there is then we’re not listening, because instead we’re daydreaming about how beautiful this Sunday Morning Concert is going to be, kicking off the day with wonderful and much-loved classical compositions performed by musicians from the Netherlands and beyond. And if that wasn’t enough, you can take a guided tour of the grand and gorgeous Royal Concertgebouw after the concert, or wash it all down with a delicious champagne brunch in the venue’s Pleinfoyer.
Sun // Royal Concertgebouw // 11:00 // €21 // Website
Amsterdam Light Festival
If you live in the city or if you’re just visiting this weekend is your last chance to check out the incredible array of weird and wonderful light art installations which have been erected all across the city centre. The fifth edition of this annual event features both Dutch and international artists, architects and designers who use light in various forms to create innovative works. Hop on a boat to get up close to the installations on a special light festival canal cruise, or explore the festival on foot, either on a guided walking tour or on your own.
Fri, Sat & Sun // Various locations // From 17:00 // Website
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