Amsterdam Weekend Guide – July 14-16
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through July, but don’t fret; we’ve still got a summer full of amazing festivals and events ahead of us, and it’s all kicking off this weekend.
This time we’ve got four very different festivals – each one highlighting a distinct part of Amsterdam’s unique culture. Whether you’re seeking something artful, cultured, foodie, danceable or boozy, the Dutch capital has you covered this weekend.
Rembrandt Art Festival
Rembrandt is widely seen as one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art, so it’s only natural that Amsterdam’s celebrating the 411th anniversary of his birth in style. This Saturday, the Rembrandthuis – the historic art house where the Golden Age artist lived between 1639 and 1656 – is celebrating the momentous occasion with Rembrandt Art Festival and Street Art Festival.
The artistic and culinary neighbourhood party sees local residents, renowned artists and visitors alike coming together for a street art showcase. This year’s theme is all things colourful, so expect demonstrations, etching workshops, food and art stalls, and child-friendly activities galore across the whole day.
A Day at the Park
Well, it wouldn’t be a weekend in Amsterdam without another high-octane dance event, would it? This time we’ve got an extra-special one: the 10th – and final – edition of A Day at the Park. The festival, which takes place on the lush and grassy meadows of Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam Forest), boasts five eclectic stages of the best DJs in house, dance and techno – local and international.
This year’s line-up features Erick Morillo, Benny Rodrigues, Tensnake and many other big names on the dance scene. But it’s not just about the music: the party has a whole bevy of fun events, including karaoke, a silent disco, cabaret shows and – of course – the festival’s quintessential carousel ride. A tonne of beer and a high-speed ride – what ever could go wrong?
Kwaku Summer Festival
This traditional multicultural gathering returns to Amsterdam each year, bringing cultures and people together for a celebration of dance, sports, food and drink. It’s one of Amsterdam’s largest annual events, attracting a whopping 300,000 people a year, and it’s for a worthy cause. Kwaku – taking its name from a statue in Paramaribo of a chain-breaking slave – marks the Surinamese people’s emancipation from slavery in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
It all started out in 1975 as a football tournament for disadvantaged young children, and the event still commemorates this with the Kwaku Cup, which sees teams of varying ages and nationalities competing for the coveted trophy. Where Kwaku Festival really shines, though, is in its food; it boasts a range of the highest-quality street vendors, offering delectable delicacies from across the globe, including Korean tacos, ribs slathered in exotic Surinamese sauce and a Carribean market crammed with rich, unfamiliar tastes. The event also offers a range of dance workshops, live music and DJs.
TREK Food Truck Festival
This weekend, TREK Food Truck Festival is making its annual stop at Amsterdam-Zuid’s expansive Amstelpark, bringing a caravan comprised of Dutch and international food trucks with it. These aren’t your typical meals on wheels though (they’re not chewy for a start): the trucks offer everything from sushi and stir fry to fusion dishes spanning the whole culinary spectrum. There are even dedicated wine and cocktail bars to help you wash down all that good grub.
There’s more than enough entertainment at TREK to keep visitors going between bites, too. As well as an array of musical artists, entertainment and theatre talent, the festival sets up classic fairground rides to get your adrenaline going – just make sure you give it 30 minutes after eating, eh? As always, once night falls, the best funk, soul and cheesy dance hits from the Eighties can be heard blasting throughout Amstelpark. Gezellig!
Cider Tasting at Waterkant
With so much going on this weekend, you’ll probably be worn to a frazzle by Sunday. Not to worry; Waterkant has you covered. The hip hotspot in the Jordaan exudes tropical vibes and boasts one of the coolest waterside terraces in the area (complete with an excellent view of the canal ring.) You can’t go wrong with the food, either; naturally, there are pub classics such as burger and fries on offer, but the menu’s full of Surinamese favourites such as roti and saoto soup, too.
Thanks to a seemingly endless number of kick-ass local microbreweries, the beer scene in Amsterdam is pretty much perfect. Naturally, you can fully take advantage of this at Waterkant, but – as a Brit – I can’t help but notice a drink that’s missing across the city as a whole: cider. Luckily, Waterkant will be offering a mouth-watering selection of the fruity stuff this Sunday, including Old Mout Passion Fruit, Apple Bandit and Old Mout Kiwi. What a refreshing way to end yet another action-packed event in Amsterdam!