Whats on in the Netherlands in May?

The month of May marks the beginning of the festival season in the Netherlands. Did you know that there are more than 1000 festivals taking place in the Netherlands every year? Take a look at our favorite events, museum visits, and happenings in this month’s round-up. 

1. Remembrance and Liberation Day

May 4-5 

May 4 and 5 mark the commemoration of the Second World War, firstly Remembrance Day (Dodenherdendinksdag) on May 4 followed by Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) on May 5. 

The commemoration starts with solemn ceremonies as a symbol of respect for all the Dutch who died in conflicts around the world followed by a two-minute silence at 8 pm in the evening. The Dutch flag (without pennant) is flown at half-mast from 6 pm until sunset. All shops close at 7 pm on this day. 

The day after, the liberation of the Netherlands by the Allied forces in 1945 is celebrated. Liberation Day is an official holiday in the Netherlands, so shops and museums are closed. To celebrate the occasion, numerous festivals, events, and performances are held around the country. Visit 4en5.nl for the entire program on both days and the complete festival program on May 5th here.

2. Amsterdam Art Fair | KunstRai – Amsterdam 

May 3-7


KunstRAI is the longest-running art fair in the Netherlands, for modern and contemporary art held at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, every May. Alongside the regular gallery-centered stands, booths are devoted to individual artists allowing visitors to delve deeper into their work. Visit the KunstRAI website for the full list of participating galleries and ticket info.

3. Rolling Kitchens | Rollende Keukens – Amsterdam

May 17-21

Free Entrance

Get ready for food heaven at Amsterdam food-truck festival in Westerpark in Amsterdam! The festival hosts a variety of food trucks and mobile kitchens with every cuisine from Taiwanese fusion to Texan BBQ. You can walk around here all day, indulge yourself in good food and drinks whilst soaking up the good vibes. Check their Instagram for more information.

4. O Festival – Rotterdam 

May 17-27

Ranges from €7.50-€179

O Festival is an international festival for opera, music, and theatre that runs at various locations across Rotterdam. It aims to open up the art of opera and make it meaningful to the lives of a large and diverse audience. Go for a day ticket, a ticket for a single show, or a passe-partout for ten whole days of opera! Get your tickets and plan your visit here

5. Lentekabinet 27-28 mei – Amsterdam

May 27-28

Weekend ticket: €94

The festival season has officially kicked off! Lente Kabinet Festival returns to Het Twiske on May 27 and 28, 2023, offering two jam-packed days of live music, DJ acts, art, and culture. With the eccentric Amsterdam art clubhouse Sexyland, they are building up a vacation park with twenty tents filled with artistic projects. The club, restaurant, and open source platform for micro pop culture Kanaal40 are joining them for the first time this year too. Read more and get your tickets here.

6. De Betonnerie – Utrecht

Every last Sunday of the month

Check out Utrecht’s new second-hand market De Betonnerie! From clothing and furniture to plants and upcycled products, the market is a perfect way to de-stress, and meet people across different neighborhoods and cultures – all while giving new life to old gems. The Betonnerie is held at Beton-T, Utrecht’s new, experimental city square. Read more about it here. 

7. Wereldmuseum– Rotterdam

The exhibition ‘The World is Yours!’ is running until May 5


Check out the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam or one of their other locations in Berg en Dal (Afrika Museum), Leiden (Museum Volkenkunde), or Amsterdam (Tropen Museum). Their most recent exhibition “The World is Yours!” highlights the impact of Hip Hop in Rotterdam, and reflects how hip-hop informs and educates, covering everything from the Kruiskade high street and the Bospolderplein to block parties and tram stops. It features contributions from local Rotterdam pioneers BANLIEUE, Brand New Guys, Concrete Blossom, and Notes, all of whom share their perspectives on hip-hop’s role in the city they call homeCheck out the Wereld Museum’s full program here.

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