Amsterdam in spring feels a bit like the beginning of a crescendo that lasts through summer. Locals begin to choose café terraces, their private canal-cruising vessels and city parks over being inside -- even when it's still a bit cool -- as if willing the new season to arrive. We're all happy to sacrifice an hour of sleep on the last Sunday in March, as the time change means sunsets are already as late as 8 p.m. and the days will only get longer.
The longer spring days paint a colorful canvas in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
Trees appear as if they've been outlined with a lime-green highlighter as they finally start to leaf out. Crocus, hyacinth and narcissus blooms debut as an opening act to their bigger bulb counterparts, the famous Dutch tulips. And everyone tries to predict when the peak time will be to see them in full glory at Keukenhof Gardens or in the nearby bulb farm fields.
Amsterdam flights and accommodations prices are still relatively low in March; they start to climb as the temperatures do, usually around April 1.
Visitor crowds follow a similar pattern, with groups of tulip-tourists arriving in April, giving way to a steady flow of European weekend-breakers and North American college students in May. Spring is also when the Dutch celebrate some of their biggest and most important holidays: King's Day, Remembrance Day and Liberation Day.
Amsterdam Events in Spring
Part of the reason why spring is a favorite time of the year to visit Amsterdam is the seasonal event calendar, which starts to populate with exciting activities in spring -- but not so many that it's overwhelming for visitors. Of course, the jewel in the crown of the spring event calendar is King's Day (April 27), the royal birthday (and successor to the much-touted Queen's Day), but the raucous street celebration isn't for everyone. Not to worry; there are plenty of other events to enjoy. Beer lovers can't miss the PINT Meibockfestival, a beer festival celebrating the season's best bock beer, which takes places in a historic church on one of the city's liveliest streets.
Cultural events round out the city's spring offerings. In March, Dutch Book Week aims to promote Dutch-language literature, but also offers anyone who purchases a Dutch book free travel on the last day of the festival week. The World Press Photo Exhibit in April highlights the world's best photojournalism at the Oude Kerk (Old Church), right in the heart of the Red Light District. Even windmills that are closed all year round open for National Mill Day, an event for windmill enthusiasts and the merely curious.
And one of the year's most delicious events takes place less than an hour from Amsterdam in the city of The Hague, which hosts the Tong Tong Fair in late May - a celebration of Indonesian and wider Southeast Asian culture on an unprecedented scale in Europe, full of art, music, theater, dance, and a truly impressive array of food.
Month-by-Month Guides to Amsterdam in Spring
In these guides you'll find detailed event listings, weather information and other advice for Amsterdam in spring months.
Pictures of Amsterdam in Spring
See for yourself why Amsterdam makes an ideal spring travel destination.
Edited by Kristen de Joseph.