Top 5 Annual Events taking place on Amsterdam’s Canals

One of the best things about Amsterdam is that there are so many fantastic annual events taking place each year in the city – and many of them take place along our beautiful canals, which have played an essential part in the formation of the city’s culture (and continue to do so). From celebrations of arts and music to Europe’s most famous Gay Pride and a number of culturally-unique events, such as the arrival of Sinterklaas in November, the Dutch capital has it all going on along the world-famous waterways. Whether you’re coming in Summer or the depths of winter, there’s sure to be something going on. Check out a few of the best annual events taking place on Amsterdam’s canals, below. If you want to jump aboard a boat, join in with the festivities and make the most of these annual events, contact us for your Amsterdam Boat Rental

Kings Day 

27th April 

Held each year on the 27th April, King’s Day is known for being the biggest and most colourful festivity in the country, and is especially so in Amsterdam. As millions of Dutchies flock to the city, dressed from head to toe in orange, you’ll find wild street parties, DJs and a giant flea market across the city, as children and families sell their second-hand belongings. 

The atmosphere in Amsterdam on King’s Day is second-to-none and there is a reason that so many people return each year for this incredible citywide party. 

Gay Pride 

27th July – 4th August (Main Canal Parade on 3rd August) 

Amsterdam’s Gay Pride event is one of the largest in the world. This festival celebrating freedom and diversity was first organised over 20 years ago in 1996 and is attended by hundreds of thousands of people each year. The party atmosphere across the city is incredible and Amsterdam Pride is enjoyed by gay and straight alike each year! 

Amsterdam gay pride boat

Prinsengracht Concert 

17th August 2019 

The Prinsengracht Concert is one of the annual cultural highlights taking place in the centre of the city. This free concert is performed by some of the country’s finest musicians and orchestras from a pontoon on the Prinsengracht canal. The large audience can watch this spectacle from the canal side or (even better) from boats. 

Amsterdam Light Festival 

28th November 2019 – 19th January 2020 

Although many of the city’s annual events take place during the summer, the Amsterdam Light Festival is a highlight of the long winter months. This annual event sees some of the world’s best artists installing some fantastic contemporary exhibitions of inspiring art along the city’s canals – at last year’s Amsterdam Light Festival, Van Gogh inspired ‘Starry Night’ was incredibly popular and we look forward to enjoying the best of next year’s exhibition. Jumping aboard a boat, and seeing these stunning light installations from the water (as they are intended to be seen) is an incredible experience and last year Starboard Boats welcomed over 2000 people onboard to enjoy this brilliant annual festival of art against the backdrop of the city’s historic and picturesque canal belt.
More information? Check out Amsterdam Light Festival 2019

Sinterklaas Parade 

17th November 2019 

This is a uniquely Dutch cultural event and is a favourite of children and adults alike, across the country. Every November, Sinterklaas travels to Amsterdam (all the way from Spain!), in order to bring gifts and treats for the children. Having arrived in the city, he takes centre stage in a brilliantly colourful and festive parade through Amsterdam – first by boat, and then by horse, accompanied throughout by Zwarte Piet! 

Sinterklaas boat Amsterdam