Amsterdam 2013 - What's it all about!

Arts & Culture

The famous Canal Ring, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrates its 400th anniversary.

If a visit to Amsterdam has been on your wish list for a while, now’s the time to move it right to the top of your agenda! 2013 is the year of jubilees in Amsterdam, and that means the lively and buzzing city gets into party mode and becomes EVEN more fun.


Enjoy the canals in their special year

Think Amsterdam architecture, and you think canals, quaint houses, and splendid museums. This year, they’re all having special birthdays, and you’re invited to the party! The famous Canal Ring, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrates its 400th anniversary. Ride on a boat down these historical waters or walk down the elm-lined streets beside them, and gape at the quaint architecture from the seventeenth century.

Museum Milestones

If you’re interested in the history of the canals, pop over to the Grachtenhuis, a museum dedicated to the story of the canals. To catch Amsterdam partying in the canals, drop in on Queen’s Day in April, during the Gay Pride parade in August or the Light Festival in December. If you’re brave enough to swim through some of the remnants of  (mostly recent) history, join the World Sprint Elite, a new canal swim scheduled for September. And if you’re lucky, you could get to walk on the frozen waters of the canals in the winter months. The Canal Festival brings bigger and more famous music and performances this special year.


2013 is a landmark year for the museums of Amsterdam as well. The Rijksmuseum has been undergoing extensive renovation and the home of Rembrandt’s Night Watch will open in April with 1.5 kilometers of art on its walls! Whether you’re into contemporary art or want to witness the magic of the Medieval masters, drop in at the all-new Rijksmuseum this year. The Van Gogh Museum also gets a makeover as it completes 40 years in 2013, and when the greatest works of this famous painter move back to their home on the Museumplein in April, they will be housed in a new-look Museum that no art lover can miss.


Zoo, Circus, Concert Hall and more: 2013 Landmarks

Over 6000 animals are going to sing Happy Birthday in their own unique way as their serene home in the center of bustling Amsterdam, the Royal Artis Zoo, celebrates its 175th birthday in 2013. The Zoo houses 900 species of animals and is a must-see for animal lovers, peace seekers and wide-eyed kids from all over the world.


The brass section, the strings section, and the wind section will bring the roof down with a thunderous rendition of Happy Birthday at one of Europe’s grandest concert halls, the Concertgebouw, as it celebrates 125 years of its opening. Not only are the best and biggest names slated to perform here in 2013, but the digital project aims to bring the music into your home. Another Amsterdam landmark completing 125 years in 2013 is the Royal Circus-turned-performance-venue: the Carre, and celebrations kick off with a visit from Moscow’s Opera Stanislavski.


A center for Enlightenment and the furthering of the sciences, arts, culture and international relations…. that’s the Felix Meritis, and on its 225th birthday, it’s doing something it hasn’t done in a long, long time. It’s opening its doors to its famous Observatory for anyone who’d like to visit and gaze at the stars. The center is also hosting readings, exhibitions, educational programs and tours.


Making History

While Amsterdam is renowned for its openness, liberal attitude and acceptance of diverse beliefs, cultures and preferences, the dark past of slavery is not forgotten. 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the erstwhile colonies Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. To commemorate this day, the Foundation for the Commemoration of Slavery 2013 plans a series of events, and the Museum for the Tropics will also organize special programs.


Inside the real Amsterdam


24H Amsterdam is a series of special events where venues all over the city open their doors to the public, and tourists and residents get to see a showcase of all that Amsterdam has to offer. Free activities, discounts, and never-before-seen venues are on offer.


And yes, how could we not mention the news that most Amsterdam visitors are keen to hear! After the 2012 “Are the Amsterdam Coffee Shops Shutting Down?” scare, we hereby announce that the authorities have decided to keep them open to the general public and tourists for now. So if you have “high” hopes of Amsterdam, it will not disappoint you in 2013!


A landmark year for sport

Football fans, get set to don your team colors and head to Amsterdam ArenA in May for the UEFA Europa League final. You haven’t experienced sports mania till you’ve done it Amsterdam-style! Also hang around for a weekend of sports throughout the city: Ringen om Amsterdam. September is the month for the Amsterdam Flame Games, the maiden edition of an international athletics even being launched in the run up to the 2016 European Athletics Championship to be held in Amsterdam.


Outside Amsterdam

The end of March to the end of May is the time for tulips, and the Keukenhof opens its doors yet again to millions of visitors who can enjoy the most beautiful floral phenomenon of the world! A bicycle tour of the tulip fields adds to your experience. Don’t miss the 2013 edition.


Closing Notes

The authorities are busy planning lots more events and festivities to mark the year, and we’re determined to bring them to you! So keep an eye on our Amsterdam event guide for more developments.


Meanwhile, the grand celebrations end on New Year’s Eve 2013 with a spectacular fireworks show, closing the curtain on a year full of landmarks, events and tourist attractions that will leave you with hundreds of wonderful memories. So get your tickets to Amsterdam in time, and start packing!