New Year's Eve
New Years Eve, (or as the perverse Dutch like to call it; 'Old Year's
Night') is one of the few occasions that the Dutch really lose their inhibitions
and go wild in public. The red pulp littering the streets on 1st January
is the result of Chinese firecrackers being thrown at everything and everyone
the night before, (so don't take your favourite Dachshund out for a walk
at midnight on 31st December anywhere in Holland). The whole of Amsterdam
turns into a friendly war zone with many bars staying open until 3am,
but revellers don't seem to get too unruly. However, it can feel a bit
scary with fireworks being lit in the middle of crowded squares and some
visitors miss the spectacular professional displays organised by city
councils elsewhere in Europe.
New Year's Day North Sea Dive
If you manage to survive the gunpowder and anarchy the night before, you
can always get up at the crack of dawn on New Year's Day to go to Scheveningen
Beach near Den Haag. You can watch the brave (eccentric?) divers with
their red pom-pom hats take their annual dip in the sea. Check out www.nieuwjaarsduik.nl
for photographs of some freezing but happy Dutch people.
Rotterdam International Film Festival
Rotterdam hosts a strangely unseasonable Film festival at the end of January.
It may not be as glamorous (or as warm) as Cannes, but you do get to see
some impressive new releases, and the film world certainly takes it seriously.
(Actually, cold, dark winters are ideal for sitting in a warm auditorium
watching a movie, followed by a drink of hot mulled wine). Over two hundred
films are shown, and as there isn't much else going on at this time of
year, most of the work on show is a welcome distraction from post Christmas
blues. Talks and media seminars are also held, so budding filmmakers and
students find this an ideal opportunity to mingle with up-and-coming directors.
Tickets for screenings are very cheap, too.
HISWA Boat Fair
The most magnificent sailing boats, beautiful yachts, speedboats and motorboats
can be found under one roof every February in Amsterdam. There will also
be all the latest information about the best sailing routes, the world's
finest yacht harbours and hundreds of stalls selling water sport accessories.
Come and get some advice on how to sail round the world or where to find
a little boat to just sail along the canals. The Dutch are passionate
about boating and so you'll find some of the most up-to-date floating
Exhibition Centre De RAI, Europacomplex
Tel 020 549-1212 www.hiswa.nl
European Fine Art Fair
One of the most important events in the year for art dealers and serious
buyers is the European Fine Art Fair. For ten days around 200 galleries
from 13 countries will be presenting fabulous paintings, antiques, and
objets d'art from the top end of the market. This is not a car boot sale
(You have to wait until April for the world's biggest second hand street
market in Holland), but a unique opportunity to view some finely crafted
items whilst enjoying one of the loveliest cities in Europe.
The fair takes place at Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands, in
the MECC exhibition centre.
Tel 043 38386666 or www.tefaf.com
Binnen en Buitenhuis (Home and Garden Fair)
In early March Rotterdam hosts a huge home and garden festival. This won't
be your boring frilly lampshade and garden gnome event but fashionable
interior design stores showing work by their hottest talent. If you are
moving house or just want a new bath towel, this is the place to come
and be inspired. Everything is under one roof, so even if the Dutch March
rain is pelting down outside, you can wander round the stylish displays
and sample Dutch coffee at the many bars inside the hall.
Rotterdam Centraal Station and metro
From March to May every year seven million bulb flowers bloom in this
32-hectare park. This 'kitchen garden' was opened in 1949 and has been
one of the main attractions for visitors to Holland. The tulips are planted
in layers, so for eight weeks there is a constant supply of stunning flowers.
Take a train to Leiden and bus 54 direct to Keukenhof every half hour.
If there is one day in the year when you really want to party in Amsterdam,
it has to be 29th April, Queen's Day. The entire country was given a bank
holiday for the Queen Mother's birthday many years ago and ever since,
the Dutch turn the entire country into a huge street market and knees-up.
The festivities start with hundreds of live bands playing in the street
the evening before, and for serious clubbing, everyone goes to Panama
or other large venues. (Posters can be found plastered up all over the
city for the hottest raves). Leave your bicycle and credit cards at home,
as these won't be needed. (It gets very crowded, as at least an extra
million visitors descend on Amsterdam for a couple of nights). There won't
be many trams running, but everyone is good-natured, if rather inebriated.
You may find yourself in a cream cheese or raw egg fight near Leideseplein,
but it won't look out of place today if you take all your designer clothes
off round here. Book accommodation well in advance!
Space Expo, Space Day
Around 14th April every year a space travel fair is held in Noordwijk.
This is a fascinating day out for children or adults interested in science
and science fiction. More information available (on their premium rate
line): 0900 87654321 or www.space-expo.nl
Leidsch Dagblad Singelloop (Canal run in Leiden)
The sober citizens of Leiden organise a local canal run in mid April.
The 6.8km route goes past some lovely waterways and all the proceeds go
to charity. A good way to explore another Dutch town and see how the natives
enjoy themselves in the springtime. www.leidschdagblad.nl
The World Press Photo Exhibition
One of the major photographic exhibitions in the world: a selection of
the best documentary images shot by the world's press in the previous
year. To some, it may look like a collection of glamorous shots of other
people's tragedies, but the images are visually stunning and will offer
different perspectives on news events in 2002. Not very suitable for younger
Children's Farm Weekend
Over 150 farms open their (stable) doors to families for one weekend a
year. Throughout the Netherlands you will find special events organised,
from tractor rides to tasting homemade goats milk ice cream. There are
lots of offers, (mainly encouraging parents to buy or get free organic
produce), so it's worth picking up the special booklet from wholefood
shops for coupons, maps, country walks and further details.
Tel 030 6382423
Horse and Countryside event
This horse and rider event is quite spectacular. There are lots of four-legged
things to do, including different competitions and riders' events. Whether
or not your 13 year old is a horse fanatic, this will be a great day out.
At Ermelo-Federatie Centrum.
0577-408200 or www.knf.nl
Otters in the Ecodrome
For a week in early May, the otters are the star attraction in this innovative,
ecologically aware animal park. The otters can be seen swimming in the
new Piranha Tunnel and there is lots of other aquatic life to see. Children
can also splash their way down the stream in swan shaped paddleboats.
Tel 0384 215050
Medieval Festival in Berghe
Around 9th May every year a huge 'Middle Ages' street festival brings
to life the old Bergkwartier in Deventer. More than 350 medieval characters
show how people lived five hundred years ago. There will be street theatre
performances, market stalls in the town and concerts held in Deventer's
ancient churches. A unique experience, with some delightful streets and
historic museums to see in this beautiful town.
Five minutes walk from Deventer train station.
Tel 0900 3535355 www.deventer.nl
Art Fair Amsterdam
KunstRAI is the annual opportunity for contemporary art galleries to show
some of their wares under one roof. De RAI is the huge exhibition centre
to the south of the city and for just five days in mid May their main
hall is filled with around three hundred temporary galleries. Expect the
unusual, from fungus-like jewellery made out of tiny beads to digital,
interactive art that emits strange noises when you walk past. The work
is very varied but artists, art-lovers and the curious tourist find it
an invaluable opportunity to see the very latest work by Dutch and other
Tel 020 5491212 or www.kunstrai.nl
Heineken Take a Walk Rhythm and Blues Festival
A world-renowned musical marathon which brings together international
stars, as well as jump, swing, Cajun and every kind of blues you can imagine.
This will be a very lively way to discover another Dutch town.
Where: Sittard Centre around 10th May
Tel 046 4521485
Ten minute walk from Sittard train station
Breda Jazz festival
This four-day festival in the historic centre of Breda is one of the largest
in Europe. From gospel choirs to street parades, big band and open-air
quartets; this is the place to come and absorb the best of jazz worldwide.
Tickets range from free to around €10. Around 9th May.
Tel 076 5151471
Steam Engine Festival
For three days, Almere turns the clock back and welcomes working steam
engines, steam boats, steam trains and whatever you else that can be similarly
powered for this nostalgic trip around the harbour. Where: Almere-Haven,
on the eventemententerrein Gooimeer (event ground Gooimeer). Around 9th
May each year
Tel 036 5485041
Take the train to Almere Centrum and pick up a train taxi from there.
The oldest open air pop festival in Europe. International bands gather
to perform at this mega-camping event. Like many Dutch events, it is well
organised but needs youthful stamina to really enjoy it and survive the
discomfort of sharing a tent with exhausted revellers.
Tel 046 4756717 Around 18th May www.wanadoo.nl/pinkpop
World Children's Festival
A multicultural event, that takes place in fourteen towns throughout the
Netherlands and Belgium. Children from all over the world are invited,
many of whom sing in open air concerts or perform their dancing skills
in city theatres. The standard is very high and tickets are cheap…so
the whole family will enjoy the planned events.
Around 25th May.
Tel 030 2361244 or www.planetjaar.nl
Blues Festival Utrecht
As visitors may have gathered by now, the Dutch don't have a very strong
indigenous music industry. (How many famous Dutch singers can you name?)
However, they are very good at importing musical traditions and this Blues
festival is typical of their ability to host some excellent musical events.
This is one of the largest open-air festivals in Holland, and you can
appreciate the beautiful town of Utrecht as a backdrop whilst appreciating
the music. Many local cafes open their doors to smaller groups and both
famous and les well-known traditions are celebrated to the full.
Most events take place around the Domtoren (the impressive tower dominating
the city) and the Domplein beneath. Around 8th June
Tel 030 2732165
Pasar Malam Besar Den Haag
A fantastic festival of Asian Music and culture. Not only are there 200
stalls with spicy Asian food and brightly coloured things to buy from
all over the world, but also five theatres with performances for all ages.
The main theatre holds 600 and the smaller Tong Tong podium is where you
will find acoustic sessions and dance performances. Music from the Cape
Verde Islands and Jakarta was heard in 2002 as well as a popular music
style from the Dutch East Indies, 'krontjong' (or keroncong in Indonesian).
This dates from the sixteenth century and has Portuguese and Javanese
roots. The main instruments used are guitar, ukulele, flute, violin, bass
and cello. Lyrics are mainly in Dutch and Malay/Indonesian, sometimes
both in one song. It is a typically Eurasian musical genre, it's lyricism
adored by audiences worldwide. There are also chefs from places as afar
as Malacca (Malaysia) and Mozambique in another tent, making this a very
special event indeed.
Tel 0900 7272762 www.pasarmalambesar.nl
National Kite Flying Festival
This is a huge kite festival where a mixture of professionals and amateurs
gather to show off their airborne creations. There are some amazing kites
to see and lots of competitions so that experts can display their talent
for flying some incredible 'vliegen'. A day of wonder for children and
their enthusiastic parents. Takes place around 15th June each year.
The event is held on Scheveningen Beach which can be reached by foot from
Den Haag Centraal Station or by bus or tram.
Tel 0900 3403505 Free entry
Open Canal Gardens Amsterdam
For just a few days a year, 25 canal houses open their gardens to the
general public. Although many can be seen individually by buying a ticket
to individual museums, this is a rare opportunity to mingle with the crowds
and see the formal gardens behind the grand facades of canal side buildings.
You won't find lush forests, but rather prim arrangements and maybe a
string quartet playing amongst the trees. Tea and cakes are served in
a few of the gardens and there is a free boat to take you from one part
of the Prinsengracht to another. (The gardens can get quite crowded so
the boat is a welcome respite).
The majority of gardens lie between the Brouwersgracht and the river Amstel.
Tel 020 4222379
Rotterdam Solero Summer Carnival
Even if Rotterdam hasn't got the quaint charm of Amsterdam, it has something
much more exciting to offer in late July each year. This wonderfully exuberant
Brazilian street parade has dancers in amazing carnival costumes writhing
and jiving to live music. Bring cameras to capture the huge, scintillating
butterfly outfits and your sequinned bikinis if you want to join in. If
the sun is shining, this is a wonderful day out, but accommodation can
get booked well in advance as this is a very popular event.
For the exact route, tel 010 4141772
Peurbakkentocht Eel festival
A unique day out in early July…watching Dutch fishermen catch eels
in the canals. Just a few minutes walk from the station you will find
some strange goings on, things that you may never see anywhere else in
Europe. Even if you are not partial to eels, the beautiful city of Leiden
and it's many museums are worth visiting. Train station: Leiden (half
an hour's journey from Amsterdam)
Free entry: Around 4th July
Tel 06 22978933
Europe's biggest pop festival with two huge stages. There are the usual
pop festival stalls and a friendly children's area.
Den Haag (The Hague) Zuiderpark
Tel 0900 3403505 (€34c per minute)
Take the tram or bus from Den Haag HS
Around 30th June
A surprising international theatre festival held in different indoor and
outdoor locations in the picturesque city of Amersfoort. Be prepared for
something dramatic taking place in this historic city next summer, as
the street performances can be outstanding.
Tickets range from free to around €10. Around 4th-7th July each year.
Tel 033 4625432
In Amersfoort city centre.
Ten minute walk from Amersfoort Station
Deventer op Stelten (Deventer on stilts)
For three days in early July, different acts from all over the world meet
and precariously perform their tall acts in the centre of this very appealing
The costumes are spectacular and you might catch some amazing open-air
performances, which may be incredibly funny or totally spellbinding.
Around July 5th to 7th
Trains to Deventer from Amsterdam take about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Kwakoe Zomerfestival (Kwakoe Summer Festival)
This is one of Amsterdam's hidden secrets. The most green, tree-filled
housing estate in Western Europe hosts its very own music festival in
a large field for six weekends every summer. Musical acts range from local
Arabic singing to bands with well-known artists. There are also sporting
activities which keep teenagers occupied, and lots of ethnic food stalls
and barbecue grills to keep visitors happy.
Take the metro to Biljmer from Centraal Station and the festival is about
five minutes walk away. (You will hear the music from a long way off).
TNT Open Golf Championship
From around 25th to 28th July, golfers from all over the world compete
to win the 1.8 million euro prize. This is one of the top ten European
tournaments, so is an important stop on the PGA tour
Take the train to Hilversum and then a train taxi to the Hilversumsche
Sneekweek (boat festival)
It is difficult to come to Holland and not spend some of the summer messing
about on boats. There is lots to see and enjoy during this famous sailing
festival. Some traditional boats even make it down the canals and there
are stupendous fireworks to open the water sports competition.
Martiniplein Sneek and Sneekermeer
Take the Sneek bus or train taxi from Station Sneek (2 ½ hours
train journey from Amsterdam)
www.sneekweek.nl around 2nd to 9th August (pronounce Sneek as 'snake').
Tel 0515 414 096
Latin Dance Beats Festival
In early July, the temperature hots up in Amsterdam as everyone comes
to this energetic three day long festival of Latin Dance. There is a wide
variety of dance forms on offer, from folk music, tango demonstrations
to modern and crossover music.
Tel 020 6264521 or www.oyelisten.com
Deventer Book Fair
The biggest book fair in Europe usually takes place on the second weekend
in August. This architecturally impressive city hosts over 850 stalls,
mainly along the Ijsselkade and the City Centre. There are hundreds and
second hand titles for sale and the fact that book dealers come from all
over the Netherlands make this an annual event not to miss.
Amsterdam (Gay) Pride
On the first weekend in August something rather fantastic occurs in this
liberal, eclectic city: the entire place turns into a massive street party,
including a spectacular convoy of decorated people and boats sailing down
Prinsengracht. Everyone, transsexual or bisexual, straight or gay, young
or old, has a whale of a time, and the clubs seem to cater for every taste
with non-stop dancing for a very long, hot summer weekend. (If you wondered
where the word 'float' came from, (those carnival lorries slowly moving
along the street with revellers aboard), think of the boats on the canals
in Amsterdam which were the first 'floats').
For further details: www.amsterdampride.nl
Tel 020 6208807
Free views for the procession of boats, but many clubs charge entry fees
for dance events in the evening.
This massive (and massively hyped) outdoor event is the annual launch
of the Dutch cultural season. It's the opportunity for hundreds of theatre,
cabaret, dance, pop, classical, opera, mime, children's theatre and street
theatre acts to give a preview of what they will have to offer in the
coming year. There are hundreds of stalls on Museumplein with information
on what's happening in museums, theatres, dance companies and music venues
for the next twelve months. Hundreds of thousands attend and give the
city an especially playful feel. And the best thing about it all is, just
about everything is free…
Tel 0900 400 4040
Utrecht Early Music Festival
The Dutch Early Music Festival is a world-renowned week-long event. Musicians
and audiences gather to play together in this beautiful old town or listen
to some rare performances. The Early Music Organisation was founded in
1982 to support early musical activity and organise concerts ranging from
the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 19th Century. The latest research
into historical performance practice becomes the basis for these exceptional
performances, but despite the high level of scholarship involved in their
production, the music still can be enjoyed by anyone.
Highlights include: Medieval Music from Venice and other Towns across
the Adriatic, Recently Discovered Baroque Music from China and Bolivia
and John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Monteverdi Choir and the English
Baroque Soloists in Handel's L'Allegro ed il Penseroso. Rare treats are
on offer, as well as exquisitely scored films and an annual early music
market for fans and performers. In Utrecht, (where the festival is held),
it will almost feel as if you are in a living museum, surrounded by ancient
buildings and people who are passionate about interpreting some of the
most exquisite sounds on earth. The Early Music Organisation also arranges
concerts throughout the year in historic buildings throughout the Netherlands.
This is an ideal opportunity to visit an old castle or an 18thC palace
and listen to the wonderful music that was written and played at the time
it was built.
3500 AS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Phone: 030 230 3838
Fax: 030 230 3839
Marlboro Masters of Formula 3
This is the high point of the circuit calendar. The quiet sandy beaches
of Zandvoort will be transformed as crowds flock to watch the 'speed devils'
take the course in record time. There are also sideshows, exhibitions,
public competitions and amazing demonstrations (mostly involving sports
Tel 023 5740750
'A Camping Flight to Lowlands Paradise'
This three-day event is one of the highlights of the year for anyone who
wants to listen to non-stop music, theatre, stand-up comedy and new writing.
Like Glastonbury festival in the UK it has become something of an institution,
but you may want to chill out in a comfortable bed in Amsterdam after
three nights on hard earth in a tent…
Take the train to Lelystad Centrum and catch the 't Harde mini bus (called
a Pendle bus around here). Ask for Biddinghuizen-Evenemententerrein Six
Tel 0900-3001250 or www.lowlands.nl
International Firework Festival
From Scheveningen Pier lots of firework competitors from different countries
will be showing their spectacular evening displays. An expert jury will
judge which one is the best. A stunning evening out by the sea.
Tel 0900 340-3505 www.scheveningen.nl
Around 20th-23rd August
Balloon Festival in Twente
Over 35 hot air balloons, from the usual pear shaped to some special shapes,
such as a huge chicken will be floating above the lake and the recreation
ground near Twente. There will be parachute jumps, flying demonstrations
and ancient aeroplanes to look at with the family. An exhilarating day
out, even for people who like to watch rather than fly.
Tel 074 276-1100 www.twenteballooning.nl
Prinsengracht Concert Festival
This is a popular inner city Festival for music lovers who like to listen
to classical music along the canals, or from bridges and boats. Famous
soloists will be performing under the beautiful trees of the Western Church
Tower (Westerkerk) in this unique outdoor location. A civilised way to
enjoy Amsterdam in summer.
Prinsengracht: Opposite the Hotel Pulitzer
Tel 020 523-5235 www.grachtenfestival.nl
Harley Davidson Day, Breda
A relaxing day out for fans of this famous brand of bike.
Above the noise of the bikes there will be 12 bands performing on six
stages. In the market square you can also buy Harley-Davidson memorabilia
and accessories. There will be lots to do and some fantastic bikes to
watch in this pretty town.
Around 18th August each year
Tel 076 521-4285 www.harley-dag.com
The Netherlands Film Festival
The best entries win awards, and there are some odd, intriguing short
films to see as well as documentaries.
Or tel 030 2303800, fax: 030 2303801
For a programme write to:
3500 BN Utrecht
Major Art Exhibition: Per Saldo
One of the largest Dutch banks celebrates its 25th anniversary this year
by hosting a special exhibition of works from their private collection.
www.noordbrabantsmuseum.nl Tel 073 6877800 Open Tuesday to Friday 10.00-17.00
and Weekends 12.00-17.00 Closed Mondays
Noord Brabants Museum in Den Bosch
Le Corbusier Meets Berlage
An overview of the contrast between the groundbreaking Frenchman le Corbusier
and the Dutch architect Berlage, in the building Berlage designed around
1903. Although Berlage is less well known, he had considerable influence
on the style known as the Amsterdam School and many of his impressive
designs still stand today, (De Burcht, Trade Union Museum near Artis,
for example). This exhibition is worth catching, if only to see inside
the monumental former Beurs (stock exchange) next to Dam Square.
Daily except Mondays 11.00-17.00
020 6240141 or www.beursvanberlage.nl
Flower Parade from Aalsmeer to Amsterdam
Starting in the town renowned all over the world for it's flower auctions,
a wonderful procession of floats will wend their way to via the suburbs
of Amstelveen. Around forty beautifully decorated wagons will slowly travel
through each town and end up in the capital city. A wonderful sight and
maybe an inspiration for budding gardeners.
Ring for details of the route or check online: tel 0297 325100 www.bloemencorsoaalsmeer.nl
Rotterdam World Harbour Day
Look behind the scenes at the biggest harbour in the world. An entertaining
day out along the industrial banks of the Maas. Riverboat excursions are
the highlight of this event, but there is also a market selling things
from around the world and different bands playing. The event takes place
near to the fascinating Rotterdam World Museum, and it can be exhilarating
taking a tour around the modern bridges and architectural masterpieces
in the vicinity.
Take the metro from Rotterdam Centraal Station
Tel 010 4125353 or www.wereldhavenfestival.nl
Tel 010 2707172
Seven Bridges Jazz Festival
The Dutch are fond of jazz, and this is one of the high points of their
annual calendar. Both international and Dutch jazz artists will be performing
in and around the Reguliersgracht Canal. A fantastic opportunity to combine
a visit to Amsterdam with a musical event to enhance one's enjoyment of
the city in early autumn.
Tel 020 625 1560
Haags Uit Festival (Out and About in Den Haag)
This is The Hague's equivalent to Amsterdam's Uitmarkt. However, the emphasis
here is on street theatre and there are over a hundred free performances
all over the city. Don't miss this lively opening event of the city's
An inner city festival that celebrates the unique character of this former
working class district. This year there will be drum bands, a children's
festival, opera and cabaret. There is even a boules competition, a flea
market and an auction…but you will have to visit the Jordaan to
find out exactly what is on offer.
Tel 020 626 5587
The amazing thing about this festival is that it is free. A wide variety
of bands perform, from familiar names on the club circuit to some who've
had big Dutch hits.
Telephone 0344 620477
Appelpop Tiel -Waalkade
Take the train to station Tiel (1 hour and 12 minutes from Amsterdam)
and the music ground is 15 minutes walk away.
International Basketball Tournament (IBT)
Some of the top teams from Holland and abroad compete in this international
Take the train to station Groningen and the Martiniplaza is 15 minutes
Tel 050 360-3895
50 + fair and festival
A huge indoor fair for anyone aged over 50, around the themes of lifestyle,
interior design, free time, travel, hobbies, mobility aids, health, sport
and fitness. There are more than 50 stalls and lots of things to see and
do. Take the train to station Utrecht Centraal and the exhibition halls
(Utrecht -Koninklijke Nederlandse Jaarbeurs) are around 10 minutes walk
away. You can also take the Green Cab: www.greencab.nl 0900 4733622
Dam to Dam Run
This 10-mile route is one of the most popular running events in the Netherlands.
Come and cheer the participants on while they run from Amsterdam to Zaandam.
Sunday 22nd September
Tel 072 56162221
Utrecht Horse Event (Utrechtse Paardendagen)
Not only will you see some handsome beasts at this horse event but also
exhilarating events such as the covered wagons racing in the indoor marathon.
Tel 035 601-0167
Take the train to Utrecht Centraal Station and then order a Green Cab
taxi: www.greencab.nl 0900 4733622
Amsterdam Ideal Home Exhibition (De Woonbeurs)
This is the biggest home interiors exhibition in Holland. Come and feel
inspired, get some good advice from the experts and find some beautiful
things for yourself. There is everything for sale under one roof, from
oak dining tables to bars of olive soap wrapped in raffia. This might
be a good place to buy some early Christmas presents…Make an evening
out afterwards and have a meal at one of the authentic Japanese restaurants
nearby in Scheldestraat.
Take the train to Amsterdam RAI and the exhibition halls are five-minute
walks away. Take tram 4 from
Amsterdam Centraal or the Metro to RAI
American Beauty: Van Gogh Museum
If you are curious about what was collected by American galleries during
the last few centuries, or just want a glimpse of some gorgeous artworks,
this exhibition is the one to visit in Amsterdam this autumn.
American Beauty will show paintings and sculptures from 1770 -1920 from
the Detroit Institute of Arts.
info: 020-570 52 52
tel: 020-570 52 00
Model Railways Exhibition
Den Bosch (s'Hertogenbosch) -Brabanthallen
Tel 073 629-3293
Tickets cost €9 and for children aged from four to 12 years €4.50
Crossing Border Festival
This exciting festival breaks down the borders between literature, music
and film. Not only can everyone see their favourite writers in the flesh,
there are also singers, songwriters and world music events to see in 17
different venues around the city centre. Last year Douglas Copeland spoke
movingly about his memories of the pop singer Kurt Cobain and the African/Indian
band Trilok Gurtu amazed audiences with their crossover mix. The packed
audiences enjoy every minute and its wise to book early to avoid missing
this stimulating and lively event. More than 150 artists get involved
and participants can buy a single ticket that allows them into any event.
Tel 020 627-4985
Take the tram from Amsterdam Centraal train station to Leideseplein
Rock around the Jukebox
An international event for dealers and collectors to bring out their jukeboxes,
music and cars from the 1950's and 60's. There will be over 250 stands
and lots of things to do. Don't forget your winkelpickers.
Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October
Take the train to Rosmalen Station and catch a train taxi from there to
Delta Lloyd Amsterdam marathon
The Amsterdam marathon route goes right through the old city centre, passing
by the right museum and the Vondelpark. Athletes from over 40 countries
participate and it is quite a spectacle to see so many runners surviving
Sunday 20th October 2002
The marathon starts and ends at the Olympic Stadium in the south of the
city. Take the tram to Amsterdam Zuid and then a bus Metro or the tram
to the Stadium.
Free entry for onlookers.
De Nacht (Museum Night)
An annual event, now widely copied elsewhere in Europe. This is the one
evening during the year when 36 museums in Amsterdam open their doors
for a late night event. Last year visitors could watch the 1920's version
of The Phantom of the Opera shown at midnight in the 12thC Oude Kerk,
with the lights turned off. Organ music accompanied this silent movie
and the warmly dressed made it until the early hours without feeling too
scared by the ghostly presence as they huddled in the pews.
You might discover a rare opportunity to hear klezmermusic in the Jewish
Historical Museum, dance the tango at the Amsterdam Historical Museum
and sing along with some famous Dutch cabaret stars. Have you ever been
round a zoo when the animals are asleep? This is your one chance to experience
what happens when the gates are usually shut at the end of the day…
Around 36 museums are to stay open from 7pm to 2am, offering the public
a chance to view their collections and join in a range of surprising late
Tickets from major museums in the city, AUB ticket shop, Leidesplein and
De Uitlijn, tel 0900 0191 (88cents per minute)
www.uitlijn.nl (for tickets for most ticket-only events in Amsterdam)
www.de-n8.nl (for museum night)
St Martin's Day
November the 11th is St Martin's Day and many children in the Netherlands
decorate handmade paper lanterns and go knocking on people's doors singing
a traditional song. This isn't a late Halloween trick or treat, but you
should offer these young people a handful of sweets when they ring your
'Sint Maarten' was the patron saint of soldiers and the first Bishop of
Utrecht built a Church and dedicated it to him, so the Dutch are particularly
fond of this important figure. In fact, the Domtoren is the biggest tower
in Holland, constructed on top of the largest medieval church. Legend
has it that generous St Martin tore his cloak in half for a beggar who
was cold in the middle of winter so it seems a pity that children don't
wear these symbolic warm garments while singing at your front door.
International Doll and Teddy Bear Fair
Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd November 2002
This is one of the few international fairs were you can look at and buy
dolls and teddy bears from different ages. Many will be for sale and there
will be lots of advice on how to make your own toys as well.
Rotterdam Ahoy' Exhibition Halls
Tel 0578 620502 ww.nieswolters.nl
Christmas Market in Maastricht
Saturday 7th December to 23rd December 2002
A cosy, welcoming Christmas market in the centre of this beautiful town
in the south of Holland. Every day heavily laden stalls will be selling
their Christmas gifts and homemade delicacies. There will even be a Christmas
stable with real live animals. But will there be a real-life baby in the
crib? Come and have some hot mulled wine on a frosty day and find some
beautiful Christmas decorations for your tree.
Maastricht -Vrijthof, Dominikanerplein and Church
Tel 043 325-2121 www.vvvmaastricht.nl
Take the train to Maastricht Station and the city centre is ten minutes
walk away. (Maastricht is 1 hour 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal).
A temporary ski run with environmentally friendly snow will be built just
for three days for this winter event. Expert teams will give ski-ing demonstrations
and there will be off-piste skiing for members of the public. Enjoy the
lively après ski in the evenings in the specially constructed winter
Tel 010 435-4046 www.snowswing.nl
December 5th St Nicholas Eve (Sinterklaas)
The Dutch don't celebrate Christmas quite so extensively as elsewhere
in the West. They tend not to give presents or go to town quite as much
as the British or Americans. Instead, they meet together with their families
on the 10th December for some homegrown entertainment. This is the night
when St Nicholas is meant to arrive on a white horse with his trusty servant,
Black Peter. Children put out tasty things in wooden clogs in the fireplace
at the foot of the chimney, and supposedly find presents the following
Earlier on in the day, 'Zwarte Piet', (Sinterklaas's assistant) then hands
out small spiced biscuits and sweets to everyone. Alphabet chocolates,
chosen to represent the first letter of someone's name are bought for
friends and family. (They are on sale everywhere). Everyone writes a satirical
poem about one person they know and reads their composition out to the
attentive gathering. The Dutch seem to take this very seriously, but it
might be fun for visitors to participate with their own compositions...
If you are out shopping, it can be slightly disconcerting to see tall,
white bearded men in bishop's robes (Sinterklaas) walking into supermarkets
and bookshops handing out small edible presents. (Don't expect to get
efficient service this afternoon; the festive activities are considerably
more important for the shop assistants than serving customers). Everything
will close early and the city feels very festive and cheerful. Children
will enjoy seeing St Nicholas on his live horse walking in a procession
along the river Amstel, but apparently it has been psychologically distressing
for Dutch offspring to receive presents on both December 10th and Christmas
Day. It is all a bit too overwhelming!
December 25th: Quiet streets and empty cafes
It is worth visiting Amsterdam at this time of year if you want to escape
the overwhelming buying frenzy elsewhere in the world. Instead of the
cult of consumerism you will find Amsterdam streets and shops nicely empty
and museums uncrowded. Warm yourself up with some jenever (Dutch gin)
in the brown cafe Hoppe on Spui. This building consists of two adjoining
properties. The part on the right has been a bar since 1670, the interior
reflecting its rich history. There is a civilised atmosphere, perhaps
induced by the fact that no music is played but there is virtually standing
room only. During the festive season it will be heavily decorated with
real branches of Scots pine and feel like a very grown up version of Santa's
Grotto. This traditional building even has sand on the floor, so you won't
have to worry about shaking the snow off your boots.
Spui 18 to 20
Trams 1,3,5 to Spui.
Tel 020 420 4420
Christmas Day Concert
In Amsterdam there isn't that total shutdown that adds to the feeling
of being trapped indoors with unwelcome relatives. There will be Christmas
Day concerts in the Concertgebouw, for example, and many cafes stay open,
making it feel less dead than elsewhere in Europe. The Dutch are so laid
back, they don't even take Christmas that seriously and the city doesn't
turn into a total cultural desert, although most museums will be closed
on 25th and 26th December and on New Year's Day. Concerts will also be
held on Boxing Day and throughout the festive season.
Christmas Market Haarlem
A traditional Christmas market will be held in the stunning Grote Markt
in the centre of this beautiful city. Many stalls will be beautifully
decorated and Christmas cheer will be added with the sound of carillon
and ringing bells. The one-day market will have lots of beautiful Christmas
things to buy as special gifts or take home at this festive time of year.
Tel 023 511-3845 www.haarlem.nl