Whenever we mention "the best" time of year to visit a location, it’s obviously subjective. Most places are charming throughout the year. Amsterdam is no different, but the absolute beauty of the spring season in The Netherlands is hard to beat. When the region shakes off its winter chill, Amsterdam springs to life — both naturally and culturally.
According to Netherlands Tourism, winter weather can be cold, wet, and windy. Since the country is on the coast and relatively flat, onshore winds can spread fog, freezing rain, and winter chill throughout the low-lying country. Some tourist destinations hold shorter hours or close altogether in the off-season.
However, the Amsterdam Light Festival, when light artists create wondrous exhibits along the city’s iconic canals, is held during December and January. So, again, most destinations can be charming any time of the year.
But while the multi-colored, digital light exhibits are undeniably awesome, the natural coloring of Amsterdam’s foliage and the nearby tulip fields in springtime is something to behold. If you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, consider experiencing the charming city as it awakens to spring.
Amsterdam springs into blossoming displays
The best time of year to visit Amsterdam is probably during the mid-spring months of April and May. During this window of time, the chilly weather of March is long gone, while the throngs of summertime tourists have yet to arrive.
Springtime allows you to comfortably experience the day-to-day lifestyle of Amsterdam. You can bike past historical townhomes, walk through the city’s famed green spaces (while green), stroll past the iconic canals, and dine outdoors at hip sidewalk cafés. During spring, the city’s vibrant atmosphere, historical charm, artistic appeal, and vibrant nightlife are all on full display.
Speaking of displays, it’s also impossible to mention Amsterdam in spring without mentioning the tulips, especially along the Flower Strip. Per I Amsterdam, the Dutch region of the Flower Strip grows around 70% of the world’s commercial flowers. You can take a day trip to explore the Flower Strip, which includes blossoming fields of colorful flowers, tulip farms, museums, parks, iconic windmills, and historic estates.
To immerse into the region, consider hiking the Wandelnetwerk Bollenstreek, which is a network of hiking routes that weave through the Flower Strip. You can also explore the area by bike rental or canal. Needless to say, when it comes to blossoming flowers, the region’s springtime is unsurpassed.
Long live the king and Amsterdam freedom
Per Rick Steves, the months of April and May also feature most of Amsterdam’s "three-day weekends" of the year, meaning these months are teeming with lively events, celebrations, and festivals. Along with tulip festivals and the opening of iconic parks, such as Keukenhof Flower Garden, Amsterdam also celebrates "less flowery" aspects of its culture.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, April 27 is King’s Day in Amsterdam, which celebrates the Dutch monarchy and the king’s birthday. The Dutch royal family is the House of Oranje, so revelers all wear orange, drink orange liqueur, and parade through the streets and canals. It’s a raucous affair with nightly events and festivals.
Also for history buffs, May 5 is Liberation Day in Amsterdam, per I Amsterdam, which celebrates the liberation of The Netherlands from Nazi occupation during World War II. You can visit small commemorations at Open Jewish Homes to hear stories of resistance and survival.
You’re also welcome to attend Freedom Feasts throughout the city, where the city celebrates its wartime liberation with meals at Amsterdam’s parks, city centers, homes, and business establishments — a testament to the city’s welcoming attitude for all who’d like to visit, celebrate, and partake in the area’s natural and cultural beauty.