FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Amsterdam

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Amsterdam each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March/April: Good Friday (national holiday)

March/April: Easter Monday (national holiday)

April 27 (April 26 if the 27th is a Sunday): King's Day (national holiday)

Celebrating King Willem-Alexander's birthday, this is the most important secular festival of the year, with parties in the streets of Amsterdam. Many of the revellers wear orange, the national colour, from head to toe, a craze called oranjegekte in Dutch. Around the country, it is also a day for vrijmarkten (“free markets”, where people sell their used items), fun fairs, concerts and other local gatherings.

Early May–late September: Vondelpark Open Air Theatre (local event)

Every summer, Amsterdam's Vondelpark hosts a programme of events at its open-air theatre, including classical music, jazz, dance, musicals, cabaret, stand-up comedy and children's shows.

Third weekend in April: Bloemencorso (local event)

A highlight of the season for the bulb-growing area of the Netherlands, this parade consists of a series of imaginative floats entirely decorated with millions of blooms, accompanied by marching bands. It follows a 40-kilometre (25-mile) route starting in Noordwijk and ending in Haarlem, just 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from Amsterdam. Each year, the parade takes inspiration from a different theme, for the enjoyment of its thousands of spectators.

Third Sunday in October: TCS Amsterdam Marathon (local event)

The oldest marathon in the Netherlands, and one of the most popular in Europe, this event draws thousands of runners from around the world each year, eager to race through the city's scenic streets, along its historic canals and the banks of the Amstel River, across the Vondelpark and past the Rijksmuseum and other landmarks. The course starts and ends at the Olympic Stadium in front of the grandstand.

Mid-November–December 6: Sinterklaas (local event)

Approximately three weeks before his feast day, festivities in honour of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) begin with his “arrival from Spain” by boat, in a different Dutch town each year, accompanied by his Moorish servants, the Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters), an event broadcast live on television. In the following weeks, Sinterklaas tours the country on a white horse, still travelling with the Zwarte Pieten, collecting the wishes of children, who are told that if they have been bad, one of the Zwarte Pieten will put them in a sack and take them back to Spain. In the days leading up to Sinterklaasavond on December 5, all children put out an empty shoe in front on the fireplace at night, hoping that Sinterklaas will leave them a few chocolates, sweets or a small toy. On the evening of December 5 itself, everyone gives each other surprise presents, often accompanied by short funny poems.

25 décembre : Noël (national holiday)

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a temperate oceanic climate influenced by the proximity of the North Sea. Summer temperatures are warm but rarely hot, around 22°C (72°F) on average in July and August. Winters are humid and relatively mild. It rains quite frequently in Amsterdam (about 187 days per year). Owing to the comfortable temperatures, spring and summer are the best seasons to visit the city, stroll around the parks bursting with flowers, and walk or bike along the canals.

Month Min. Average Temperature Max. Average Temperature Average Rains Best Time to Travel
January 1/34 6/43 78/3.1 Not the best period to go
February 0/32 6/43 57/2.2 Not the best period to go
March 3/37 10/50 73/2.9 Not the best period to go
April 5/41 13/55 46/1.8 Good period to go Good period to go
May 8/46 17/63 59/2.3 Good period to go Good period to go
June 11/52 20/68 71/2.8 Good period to go Good period to go
July 13/55 22/72 78/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
August 13/55 22/72 85/3.3 Good period to go Good period to go
September 11/52 19/66 86/3.3 Good period to go Good period to go
October 7/45 14/57 100/3.9 Not the best period to go
November 4/39 10/50 94/3.7 Not the best period to go
December 1/34 6/43 87/3.4 Not the best period to go

Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport

Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport is located about 17 kilometres (11 miles) south-west of the city centre.

  • One terminal

Getting from the airport to Amsterdam and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the A4.
    • Both short- and long-term parking facilities are available at the airport.
      • Picking up and dropping off passengers:
        • “Short Stop” in P6 for stays of less than 30 minutes (first 15 minutes free)
        • “Terminal” in P1 or P2 for stays of more than 30 minutes (EUR 1.00 per 12 minutes)
      • Stays of up to 2 days:
        • “Terminal” in P1 or P2 (EUR 32.50 per day)
        • “Valet” between Departures 2 and 3 (EUR 42.50 per day)
      • Stays of more than 2 days:
        • “Smart” parking lot near P3 (5 minutes by bus to the terminal), EUR 49.50 for 8 days
        • “Holiday Valet” parking lot near P6 (1-minute walk to the terminal), EUR 69.50 for 8 days
    • Several car rental companies have counters at Schiphol Plaza, directly behind Arrivals
  • By rail
    • Trains leave for Amsterdam Centraal (the city's main train station) from the Schiphol station directly beneath the terminal complex every 7–15 minutes. The trip takes about 15 minutes and the fare is EUR 4.10 each way.
  • Bus
    • Several bus routes connect the airport with nearby towns and central Amsterdam. All of these buses stop at Schiphol Plaza (directly in front of the arrivals and departure halls).
    • Bus 197 (the Amsterdam Airport Express) leaves Schiphol every 15 minutes from 5:11 a.m. to 12:27 a.m. for Museumplein, the Rijksmuseum or Leidesplein. The travel time is about 30 minutes and the fare is EUR 5.00 each way (EUR 4.75 one way and EUR 9.00 round trip if purchased online).
    • During the night, bus N97 (the Niteliner) follows this same route and charges the same fares, with departures every hour between 1:27 a.m. and 4:27 a.m.
    • Schiphol Hotel Shuttles connect the airport with more than 100 hotels in Amsterdam, with departures no more than 30 minutes apart from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EUR 17 each way).
  • Taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the arrivals hall (around EUR 55.00 to central Amsterdam), but you may also reserve a Schiphol Travel Taxi online in advance (EUR 51.00 for a private taxi, EUR 37.95 for two people in a shared taxi to central Amsterdam).
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone : +31 (0)20 7940800
  • Website : http://www.schiphol.nl

GETTING AROUND Amsterdam

The best way to discover Amsterdam and its famous canals is to explore on foot or by bicycle. In addition, Amsterdam is a city very well served by its public transport system, operated by GVB.

By bicycle

Amsterdam is a cyclist's paradise: why not join the half-million Amsterdammers taking to the streets on two wheels? Amsterdam is a fairly flat, compact city, with an extensive network of cycling paths ensuring safe and relaxing rides. Many bike rental companies have offices in Amsterdam. Rates for 1-day rentals start at about EUR 10.

By rail

Amsterdam's Metro has four lines (50, 51, 53 and 54) serving the city's southern suburbs (Amstelveen-Sud, Gaasp and Bijlmermeer). A fifth line (52) will open in 2017.

  • Line 50, also known as the Ring line, operates between Isolatorweg and Gein, providing fast connections to the city centre from points south and west.
  • Lines 51, 53 and 54 connect points in the south with Amsterdam Centraal station.

The Metro operates daily from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

A single ticket (valid for 1 hour) on any mode of transport operated by GVB (Metro, buses, trams) costs EUR 2.90. Tickets must be validated at the card reader when entering and exiting any bus, tram or Metro platform.

Transport passes are also available, offering unlimited travel over the entire GVB network for their entire validity period (from 1 to 7 days):
  • EUR 7.50 for the 1-day pass
  • EUR 12.50 for the 2-day pass
  • EUR 17.00 for the 3-day pass
  • EUR 33.00 for the 7-day pass

By bus

Amsterdam's bus network is particularly well developed, with 43 routes. Buses operate from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. When the day buses stop running, 12 night bus routes, all originating at Amsterdam Centraal station, provide service to many points of interest. A single night bus

By tram

Amsterdam has 15 tram lines running daily from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. This is the most pleasant way to discover Amsterdam's historic centre and get to all its museums.

“I amsterdam” City Card

This discount card offers unlimited access to the entire public transport system (Metro, bus, trams), free admission to several Amsterdam museums and a free canal cruise, as well as discounts at restaurants, for car and bike rentals, food shops and many other tourist attractions.

Prices :

  • 24-hour “I amsterdam” City Card: EUR 4949 €
  • 48-hour “I amsterdam” City Card: EUR 5959 €
  • 72-hour “I amsterdam” City Card: EUR 6969 €

By taxi

Taxis are useful in Amsterdam when you need to get around very quickly. Fares consist of three components: the initial charge (about EUR 3.00), the fare per kilometre (about EUR 2.00), and waiting time (EUR 0.34 per minute).

Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Amsterdam, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

I amsterdam Visitor Centres

Offer practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address : Noord-Zuid Hollands Koffiehuis, Stationsplein 10 (directly across from Amsterdam Centraal station)
  • Opening hours : 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
  • Adress : Holland Tourist Information, Arrivals 2, Schiphol Plaza, Schiphol Airport
  • Telephone : +31 (0)20 702 6000
  • Website : http://www.iamsterdam.com

Further information available online for visitors to the Netherlands

The official website maintained by the Dutch national tourist authority provides a wealth of information on Amsterdam.

Website : http://www.holland.com

Currency and Exchange Rates

SGD 1 = € 0,66

€ 1 = SGD 1,52

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the Netherlands.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Amsterdam.

Administrative formalities

For stays of less than three months, travellers from the Schengen area, as well as those from the countries of the European Union not included in the area, need only be in possession of a national identity card or a passport valid for the duration of their stay.

As a general rule, travellers from all other countries are subject to visa requirements, although foreign nationals from certain countries may enter the Netherlands for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

For further information, visit the Visas section of the Dutch government’s website:
https://www.government.nl/topics/visa-for-the-netherlands-and-the-caribbean-parts-of-the-kingdom/question-and-answer/which-visa-do-i-need-to-travel-to-the-netherlands

Essential phrases

Good day: Goedendag / Dag

Good morning: Goedemorgen

Good night: Goedenavond

Good-bye: Tot ziens

Yes: Ja

No: Nee

No, thank you: Nee, bedankt

Thank you very much: Dank u vriendelijk

I don't understand: Ik begrijp het niet.

Could you repeat that: Zou u dat kunnen herhalen?

Please: Alstublieft

What time is it: Hoe laat is het?

Excuse me: Pardon (to get past, to get attention) / Neemt u mij niet kwalijk (to say sorry).

Airport: Vliegveld

Train station: Station

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Ziekenhuis

Bank: Bank

Telephone: Telefoon

I'm (…): Ik ben (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ik zoek (…).

How much is it: Wat kost dit?

Do you have (…): Heeft u (…)?

Where can I find (…): Waar kan ik (…) vinden?

Where can I buy (…): Waar kan ik (…) kopen?

I'd like (…): Ik zou graag (…).

Good to know

00 31
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Amsterdam)
-6 : 00
of time difference with
Singapore
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

Banks
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Government Offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
Although service charges are usually included in the bill at all restaurants, bars and cafés, it is customary to leave an additional tip of between 5 and 10 percent if you are satisfied with the service. Taxi drivers expect a tip of about 10 percent.