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As a former resident of Amsterdam, I can confidently write that April in Amsterdam is one of the best times of the year to visit Amsterdam. This blog post with insider tips will include key Dutch holidays in April, the weather in Amsterdam in April, what to wear in Amsterdam in April, tips for avoiding the crowds in Amsterdam, how to see the tulips outside of Amsterdam in April, celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam, and some great events in Amsterdam in April.
- Why visit Amsterdam in May
- The weather in Amsterdam in May
- What to wear in Amsterdam in May
- Tips for seeing the tulips outside of Amsterdam in early May
- The best things to do in Amsterdam in May
- Great events in Amsterdam in May not to miss!
Why visit Amsterdam in May?
If you’re dreaming of sitting along the canals of Amsterdam in beautiful weather watching the canal boats float past, May in Amsterdam is a perfect time to enjoy Amsterdam without the heat that comes later in the summer. Like many European cities, air conditioning is still a bit of a rarity in Amsterdam, so if you’re not fond of humidity, it might be best to visit Holland in May in summer.
Another reason why I love May is that you have daylight until almost 10 pm, perfect for long lazy days wandering aimlessly around Amsterdam taking in its picturesque streets and watching the sunset right before going out (or going to bed). In May, you often see locals lingering over a beer at the various traditional brown bars around the city and lounging in Amsterdam’s many parks as the sun sets.
Amsterdam is slightly less busy during May compared to other months in summer and April. I strongly recommend still booking your Amsterdam hotel as early as possible as hotel prices tend to increase substantially within the summer months and the longer you wait, the less choice you’ll have.
The weather in Amsterdam in May
Despite being “summer,” Amsterdam is not as warm as you might expect! During the day, expect highs in the 60s Fahrenheit (15-17 degrees Celsius). At night, the temperature will most likely drop into the high 40s to low 50s Fahrenheit (8-11 degrees Celsius.)
You should definitely expect a little rain although it tends to come and go! What you might not expect is the high humidity as well as the wind off the North Sea, which be a pleasant breeze on a humid day.
What to wear in Amsterdam in May
Given that Amsterdam is not always a true summer in May, you should definitely bring a light jacket to put on in the evenings as well as during the day. You don’t need anything that heavy and my go-to jacket is a vegan leather jacket, which can be unzipped when it’s a bit warmer. A sweater works too. Some days, you can get away with shorts and a t-shirt during the day, but I wouldn’t count on it.
I’d recommend wearing comfortable shoes that are flat-ish as Amsterdam has a lot of cobblestones and it is quite walkable! I generally recommend a comfy pair of booties (possibly with a cut-out), which can be
Going out in Amsterdam doesn’t require a lot of extra effort. I usually would recommend a nice top paired with comfortable shoes and jeans. For women, you can also pair a nice yet comfortable dress with a jacket and booties for swankier establishments with a dress code. For men, a tighter fitting pair of slacks combined with a nice white shirt and nicer non-sneakers should be enough for nicer restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Can you see the tulips in Amsterdam in May? Sort of!
The Dutch tulips don’t bloom all at once, but if you’re visiting in early May, you might be lucky enough to catch the tulips in bloom in the fields. It’s not a guarantee, but you can click here for how to see the tulip fields in the Netherlands.
Keukenhof is open through mid-May, so if you’re hoping to see the tulips, you should be able to see them (along with other flowers) in Keukenhof for sure. You can click here to purchase skip-the-line Keukenhof tickets.
The best things to do in Amsterdam in May
Like with any other time of the year, you can visit many of Amsterdam’s famous museums in May. If you purchase tickets in advance, you should be able to skip the line at the Rijksmuseum and the Rembrandt Museum. You can take a canal cruise, which is particularly great in May when you can enjoy a canal cruise with minimal threat of rain.
May is a great time to enjoy the good weather, especially on a sunny day. Look for a cozy brown bar and see if you can find a seat outside to watch the people pass (and the boats pass by.) I also love heading to Vondelpark or Westerpark for a stroll or a picnic. (A lot of people bring drinks with them to the park to enjoy together with a loved one or friends.) Of course, you can always take a canal cruise.
I’d definitely recommend trying out bike riding in Amsterdam if you’re feeling a bit brave. Many bicyclists can be pretty aggressive, but it’s a lot easier to bike across the river to some of the cute small villages that are a great taste of the Dutch countryside about 30 minutes away from Amsterdam Centraal! You can click for my personal recommendations for what to do in Amsterdam as well as tips for visiting Amsterdam for the first time.
Great events in Amsterdam in May
If you’re interested in seeing Amsterdam in a way that most don’t see it, May is a great time to experience a taste of Amsterdam in summer when there are numerous festivals and markets around the city center beyond the standard weekly ones, such as Rolling Kitchens. One highlight of Amsterdam in May is definitely National Windmill Day when windmills all across the Netherlands are opened to the public.
National Remembrance Day (May 4th)
On May 4th is National Remembrance Day. All across the Netherlands, at 8pm, there’s a moment of silence in honor of those who died during World War II and other conflicts around the world. There’s a small service within Dam Square if you’re interested in attending.
Liberation Day (May 5th)
Liberation Day has been celebrated since World War II on May 5th. Some years are a bigger deal than others, but you’ll often find free concerts around the Netherlands and Amsterdam in honor of this holiday.
National Mill Day (May 11th-12th)
One of the best lesser-known holidays in the Netherlands is National Mill Day. Over the second Saturday and Sunday in May, 950 windmills and watermills in the Netherlands are open to the public. This is a rare chance to enter some of the windmills in Amsterdam. I recommend checking out De Gooyer, which sits next to Brouwerij ‘t IJ (one of my favorite Amsterdam breweries!)
Sunday Market in Westergasfabriek (May 12th)
A fun thing to do on a Sunday in Amsterdam is to visit the Sunday Market in Westergasfabriek. This market rotates locations although I prefer this location the most. It’s a great chance to explore the often underrated Westergasfabriek area of Westerpark, which is a converted factory turned cafe and shopping area. Within the market, you can purchase lots of cute handmade goodies and snacks! Be sure to visit the Tony’s Chocolonely shop for a good souvenir!
IJhallen (May 18th and 19th)
The IJhallen is a once monthly flea market in Amsterdam over the weekend where you can browse for all kinds of strange secondhand items as well as clothes. I love coming up to Amsterdam Noord to look for interesting household decorations, even if I don’t end up buying anything. It’s always fun to come, so be sure to bring cash with you!
Oost TAPT Festival (May 18th)
As someone who loves craft beer, I recommend checking out the Oost TAPT festival for trying some of Amsterdam’s best craft breweries. This beer festival often sells out in advance in terms of its value ticket, which includes a few beers together with admission. Buy in advance if you think that you’ll be visiting!
Rolling Kitchens / Rollende Keukens (Weekend of May 29th)
One of my favorite annual festivals in Amsterdam is the Rolling Kitchens (Rollende Keukens) festival. For 2019, Rollende Keukens will happen at the end of May. and it’s a fantastic chance to explore the modern yet hip Westerpark. The park will be full up with food stands from all across the world for a weekend. I love to come with about 20 euros and eat for hours on end!