Amsterdam’s Free Summer Festivals

Events, Things to Do — By Scott Roane on June 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Amsterdam Free Concerts - Harbour Festival Ijmuiden

Amsterdam might not be the cheapest city in Europe for a holiday, but with just a little bit of effort, there’s plenty to discover that won’t cost you a cent. And at the same, this added effort will probably take you to many wonderful parts of Amsterdam and its outskirts that other visitors completely miss out on. Below you’ll find three of my favourite free summer concerts in Amsterdam.

Vondelpark Open Air Theatre
Until the August 28, the famous Vondelpark’s open air theatre, which is located in the trees about 10 minutes walk from the Leidseplein entrance, presents three days (Friday-Sunday) of free music, dance, youth performances, musical theatre and stand-up comedy, every week.

Entrance is free, but during the break they do ask for a small donation as you see fit. It’s advisable to get there early and claim your space as the performances are extremely popular. For Euro 2.50 you can also reserve a seat via the website (the tab labeled reserveren). Dutch language is used for most performances involving text, however the music and dance will be largely language neutral.

There’s a small catering pavilion next to the theatre serving drinks and light meals such as salads, filled rolls and tapas.


26-28 August, Leidseplein, Museumplein and Vondelpark.
Uitmarkt Amsterdam is the opening of the national cultural season, and offers a preview of the many upcoming events including dance, theatre, literature, cabaret, sing alongs, big bands and classical music.

The three day event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city and the three locations, which host huge temporary stages, are quickly packed with people to watch the televised performances. The location in the Vondelpark is aimed at younger children.

In addition to the main stage, there are also numerous performances held in the theatres around these venues. An English language guide is available from the Uitburo’s International Service Point which is located on Museumplein, near the Van Gogh Museum. Here you’ll find all you need to know about the festival.

Website: (also in English)

Harbour Festival, Ijmuiden
27-28 August, Trawlerkade and Halkade, Ijmuiden
Ijmuiden is a historical harbour, complete with a historical lighthouse, located about 30km to the west of Amsterdam. And in keeping with the location it combines cultural activities with a nautical theme. All day long the air is filled with music from shanty choirs to the swinging rhythms of Caribbean singers and orchestras. Hundreds of boats, new and old gather from all around the world to create a party atmosphere, together with street theatre and art. Many performances also take place in old factory premises and onboard peculiar ships and include pop, world and classical music, fine arts, poetry and film. There is also an extensive programme for children.

To get there take bus 82 from Amsterdam Central Station. The journey takes around 35 minutes.
Website: (also in English)

More Free Things in Amsterdam
If you’ve had your fill of concerts and need more inspiration for other free or low cost adventures in Amsterdam, then take a look at one of my previous blogs that covers free things in Amsterdam that are available all year round.

Tags: amsterdam, free concerts, free events, ijmuiden harbour, uitmarkt, vondelpark