10 Top Reasons to Visit Amsterdam in 2013

Amsterdam Canal

By Ashley Howe from Amsterdam Blog

This year is set to be very special for Amsterdam with the ascension of a new king to the throne on Queen’s Day to the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. Here are ten reasons to come and visit this beautiful city in 2013…

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1. Queen’s Day

Top of the list is Queen’s Day. If you love to party, then you will probably have heard of it,  because it is one of the biggest parties of the year in the Dutch calendar. This year will be extra special as the Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander will be crowned King on the 30th April, making this the last Queen’s Day until Princess Amalia takes the throne.

Queen's Day

In 2014, Queen’s day will no longer exist. Instead the date will change from the 30th April to the 27th April, and it will become King’s Day. Read more here in Your Guide to Queen’s Day in Amsterdam.

2. 400 years of the canal ring

This year also sees the city mark 400 years of the canal ring, which comprises the Herengracht, Prinsengracht and the Keisersgracht. Built in Amsterdam’s Golden Age (the 17th century) to improve the infrastructure of the city and to provide more living space, these canals were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.

Canal Ring

Throughout the year there will be various celebrations, including het Grachtenfestival (The Canal Festival), where there will be various performances all over Amsterdam.

3. Reopening of the Rijksmuseum

After building work, restoration and renovation the Rijksmuesum will fully re-open its doors on the 13th April. Offering visitors an overview of history and art from the Middle Ages to the present day, only Rembrandt’s The Night Watch will remain in its original position at the centre of the building.


4. 175 years of Artis Royal Zoo

If animals are more your thing, then you can celebrate with Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam’s Plantage neighbourhood. This year is their 175th anniversary and to mark the occasion they have planted over 175,000 flower bulbs to make sure that the zoo is exploding with colour throughout the year.

Artis Zoo

5. 125 Years of the Concertgebouw

Built in 1886 on Museumplein, the Concertgebouw’s grand opening was only celebrated two years later in April 1888. This was partly due to difficulties with the municipality of Amsterdam, and a lack of confidence from the investors. This year the Concertgebouw celebrates its 125th birthday with a series of events including Jubilee Concerts in the Main Hall and Recital Hall.

6. 125 years of the royal Concertgebouw orchestra

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a reputation for being one of the best orchestras in the world and this year sees them celebrate 125 years. In that time there have only ever been six chief conductors. It has 120 players from over 20 different countries, and works in collaboration with composers.


On the 10th April the Royal Concertbgebouw Orchestra will celebrate 125 years with a star-studded anniversary concert featuring three leading soloists – Thomas Hampson, Lang Lang and Janine Jansen. Playing music including Wagner, Mahler and Strauss, this concert will raise money for the education programmes of the orchestra and the hall.

7. 100 years of the Frans Hals Museum

Housing the largest Frans Hals collection in the world, this year the museum celebrates its centenary. Inside the museum you will also find paintings from his contemporaries and predecessors and some of the earliest paintings from the 16th century. Frans Hals specialised in portraits and was one of the most famous Haarlem painters from the Golden Age.

8. Van Gogh museum is 40 years old

Van Gogh Self PortraitHome to the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, this year sees the museum celebrate its 40th birthday. The museum houses not only his paintings but letters, drawings  and his own collection of Japanese paintings. Currently the museum’s collection is showing at the Hermitage museum until the 25th April, and then it will move back to the Van Gogh Museum.

9. 150 years since the abolition of slavery

This year sees the celebration of 150 years since the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands. Over the course of the year there will be photography exhibitions, documentaries and theatre performances. On the 1st July, there will be a remembrance service at the National Slavery Monument in Oosterpark.

10. Felix Meritis celebrate their 225th anniversary

Felix Meritis, the European Centre for Arts, Culture and Science are celebrating their 225th anniversary by opening the Observatory of Felix Meritis to the public for the first time in April. It has one of the most spectacular views of Amsterdam and was originally designed for scientific observation of the skies. You will be able to arrange a tour at the Felix Meritis building.

Felix Meritis

So, who needs more convincing?

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All images (except for Van Gogh) c. Ashley Howe

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