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Things to Do in Amsterdam in May

Updated: January 27, 2024

This post provides a list of several fun activities you can enjoy in Amsterdam throughout the month of May.

We include ideas that are family-friendly, free, and fun after dark, all updated for 2024. 

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MAY

The following list has been crafted to include activities and attractions you might want to visit during the month of May 2022.

You can expect a variety of concerts, sporting events, and more.

If you want to get a head start, don’t forget to check the following posts for some of the best Amsterdam activities for any time of the year:

For even more ideas, check out our post covering the best things to do in Amsterdam.


1. Go to a Concert

No matter when you visit Amsterdam, there are usually at least a few notable musicians performing each month.

Here are some of the best concerts you can attend this month:

Concerts

Music Festival

Check out this list of even more concerts in Amsterdam in May.


2. Attend a Sporting Event

This may there will be a few football matches with Amsterdam's top teams.

Football (Soccer)

If the game dates don’t fit into your schedule, the whole family might enjoy going on an ArenA stadium tour to see where the famous home team spends most of its time. 

Note that this tour is for free in some tourist passes!

Check here for even more sporting events in Amsterdam in May.


3. Celebrate Liberation Day

May 5th is the day that the Netherlands was liberated from the capitulation of Nazi Germany, and the entire country commemorates this event every year with a variety of activities.

A unique event takes place called Open Jewish Homes which allows visitors to see the homes of former Jewish residents and resistance fighters.

There is also a free concert which includes musical performances, theater, and poetry.

Keep in mind that Liberation Day is a national holiday, so you can expect banks, post offices, and many businesses to be closed.

For more information, visit the National Comite website.


4. Take an Amsterdam Food Tour

There are a lot of great places to eat in this city, but you might have some trouble finding the best restaurants without a guide to show you around.

Thankfully, Secret Food Tours offers an outing that includes several different samples of great local dishes you can find in Amsterdam, including cod and herring, winter stew, and French-influenced pastries.

This outing lasts for 3 - 3 ½ hours and it covers at least 5-6 stops, giving you several opportunities to get a taste for the best meals in this city.

Purchase Amsterdam Secret Food Tour tickets or learn more.


5. Visit the Keukenhof Gardens

May will be your last chance to see this attraction, and if you’re a fan of floral displays, this is one location you definitely must see during the spring!

The Keukenhof Gardens house 32 hectares of flowers, all of them carefully placed in beautiful patterns throughout the park. 

Aside from wandering around the gardens at your own pace, you can also take what is called a whisper boat.

These vessels transport visitors around the gardens quietly, allowing them to enjoy a peaceful experience.

Admission to Keukenhof Gardens is included for free with some tourist passes, allowing you to save money on tickets.

The Tulip Festival Pass actually focuses specifically on this attraction. It includes admission to the gardens, a transfer from Amsterdam, and a digital guide to the area.

TIP: If you're looking for similar activities, you might want to consider visiting the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. You can learn more about this and other gardens on our post covering 60+ Museums in Amsterdam.


6. Save Money With a Tourist Pass

No matter what you’re planning to do during your trip to Amsterdam, chances are you’ll be able to save a few euros by using a tourist pass.

These services provide savings of up to 50% or more on a variety of popular attractions, tours, and activities throughout the city, including some on this list!

There are multiple passes to choose from which include several fun things to do including the following examples:

For additional information on how to use these services and which one will save you the most money, please read our post covering Amsterdam tourist passes.


7. Go on a Canal Cruise

The many historic canals of Amsterdam make it an excellent place for a cruise.

There’s no better way to see the city than by hopping on a boat and traveling around the waterways.

Better yet, since so many people use boats to get around the city, there are several different types of cruises you can choose from, including the following options:

Some cruises are included either with passes or combo packages, allowing you to save some money on tickets.


8. Visit the Anne Frank House

Although the story of Anne Frank is a sad one, her indomitable spirit continues to inspire millions all around the world. 

If you’ve ever wanted to see the house where she once lived, there are tours you can take that feature several interesting artifacts including some of her other written work.

Admission to the Anne Frank House is included with some tourist passes, so you don’t even have to pay full price to get in!

For more details, please read our post about the Anne Frank House.


9. Spend a Night at the Opera

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be performing three operas this May, giving you plenty of opportunities to spend a night out at the theatre.

In addition to a show for children, Hup Herman!, from April 18th-May 6th, they will be performing Roberto Devereux, part of the Tudor Trilogy.

From May 3rd-19th a production of Giacomo Puccinis Il Trittico, a series of one-act operas that cover horror, sadness, and laughter.

Tickets are already beginning to sell out, so you may want to pick yours up before too long!


10. Discover the Best Beers in Amsterdam

Heineken beer is brewed in the Netherlands and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam is the tour known as the Heineken Experience which is included with some tourist passes.

If you’re looking to learn even more about the various brews in this part of the world, consider The Craft Beer & Brewery tour that ferries you to a microbrewery by bus.

Whether you want to learn about your favorite beer or just discover the best craft brews in the city, there’s plenty to do – and drink – in Amsterdam!


11. Eat at Rolling Kitchens

The Rolling Kitchens food festival brings loads of food trucks to Westergas creating an open-air restaurant.

There are all sorts of dishes from around the world for tasting.

In fact, they have "100 cuisines, fine wines, special beers" and live music.

The event takes place Wednesday, May 8th through Sunday, May 12th.

The event is free to enter, although there is a cost (listed as "affordable") for items once you are in.


12. Attend Art on Paper Amsterdam

This art fair brings 35 exhibitors together to showcase the works of contemporary artists who work on paper.

They use such mediums as pencil, ink, charcoal, watercolors, and more.

The prices of the works are such that beginning collectors could make their first purchase.

The fair takes place in Westergas Amsterdam May 9th-12th. For more information and for tickets, visit the Art on Paper website.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: January 27th, 2024
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