“All you need to know to enjoy Amsterdam in Summer like a local”
Continuing our blog about the different seasons in the Netherlands, today I will talk about Amsterdam in the Summer, the hottest time of the year. The Summer starts officially on the 21st of June and goes up until September 21st. You might think the summer in the Netherlands is not warm, but you will be wrong. Of course, we are not talking about a tropical country like Brazil, so the numbers of hot days are limited. But that does not mean we do not get a hot summer with really sunny days.
I have experienced hot summers, with temperatures close to 40 degrees. But of course, this is not often, and also does not last so long. As you may have read in this blog already, in The Netherlands, we can never be sure about the weather (LOL). Some years the weather is perfect, and sometimes it is not. Some summers can be very sunny and some cloudy. But overall, this is a perfect time to come if you want to spend some time outdoors, at the beach or parks.
Beaches and water sports
Dutch people are in general very sportive and when the summer comes, it is the right timing to exercise outdoors. If possible in the water, even better. The country is composed by 16% of water, and it might be the reason why water sports are really popular here. The combination of strong winds make sports like kitesurfing and sailing really fun. It is also common to see kayaks and standup paddles (SUPs) in Amsterdam’s canals. Surf is also a popular sport here. With a relatively extensive beach coast, you can find some good waves if you are lucky. The beach of Scheveningen, close to the Hague, is the most famous surfing spot in the country. There, you can enjoy the view of their Ferris wheel at the end of the beach, and feel the vibes of Santa Monica.
Other good accessible beaches from Amsterdam are Zandvoort aan zee and Bloemendaal aan zee. With the train from Amsterdam Centraal station, you are on one of those beaches in around 30 minutes. There you can watch the sea having a nice cocktail at one of the charming beach clubs in the boulevard, such as Hippie Fish, Ubuntu, or Bodhi Beach; or try a surfing lesson. Many surf schools rent surfing boards, SUPs and offer classes. The most famous one is Surfana, and they also organize small events and live concerts.
Known as the festival’s season, this time of the year is when most of the festivals happen in the Netherlands. I love this season because there are festivals for all tastes. From electronic music to classical music, passing through rock music festivals.
Normally at end of August, this one-day festival from 1993, has become a 3 day festival with camping, expanded overseas to countries such as the US and Chile. When the dance and electronic music festival started it was moving around the whole country, but now it takes place every year at the Haarlemmermeer. This is the most mainstream and looks like the Dutch version of Tomorrowland but much closer and cheaper as well for those who is already in Amsterdam.
Held along the Lake Veluwe, the festival site is a mini-city, hosting 60.000 people, with 12 stages and many foods and drinks stalls, a market selling things such as clothing and music items, sporting facilities, massage parlors, and more. Normally in August, Lowlands is one of the most recognized festivals in Europe. And, I would say the favorite festival of the cool Dutchies.
One of my favorites, it has seen some of the biggest DJs in the world. I go every year!
With many successful editions, Komm schon Alter is a festival in Amsterdam, normally mid-June, with warm, deep house music – with melodic techno influences. The festival is made for 24+ people, with the concept of a more adult atmosphere.
Organized by my favorite club in Amsterdam, Chin Chin Club, the Chin Chin Festival could not be out of this list. Normally in July, the festival is a day when you will be constantly entertained by music, visual elements, and food. With house, hip-hop and other tasty hits, I go to Chin Chin festival every year, and to the club – almost- every week.
With more than 50 editions, the festival is known all around the world and hosts the most famous rock stars such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Since its debut in 1970, the festival takes place in Landgraaf around June.
The Awakenings festival takes place around June, in Spaarnwoude Houtrak. The brand behind the festival is one of the biggest in the electronic music industry and organizes legendary parties throughout the year as well.
With the idea of classical music available to everyone in 1981, the Prinsengracht Concert was born and became a annual festival with no less than 10,000 visitors every year. The most watched classical music program on television, the festival consists of a fluctuant stage on the Prinsengracht waters. The audience is spread through boats, windows and the street. It is an amazing event, and totally free. With different types of artists, musical instruments and lights, the concert is really popular and becomes really crowed. I suggest you get a spot early in the afternoon. Once the street is full they close it, and you have to wait until next year to watch it.
Characterized by its famous Canal Boat Parade, the Gay Pride week in Amsterdam takes place at the end of July and the beginning of August. During Pride week many events celebrating and promoting diversity are held in the city. The most famous one is the Canal Parade, which attracts many visitors from all around the world to the city. The boats with music, dancers, and funny decorations, which one with a different theme, cross the three kilometers of the canal the whole afternoon. Afterward, you can join multiple parties in the city. It is a lot of fun, I call it my carnival: lots of colour, music, good weather and happiness!
Last, but not least, the summer is the time to enjoy the terraces and boats.
Terrace and Boats
It does not matter if it is a Monday, a Wednesday, or a Saturday, Dutchies do not miss a sunny day, they take the best out of it anyways. The fact that during summer the sun goes down only around 10 pm, makes it easier to enjoy the sun regardless of the day. Yes, you read it right. In the summer, the sunset in the Netherlands is around 10 pm! Perfect to leave work at 5 pm and enjoy the sunlight for a few hours still. Sometimes, that is even when the sun is stronger and the temperatures higher.
If you want to enjoy the sun as a local, you must spend a nice afternoon or evening at the terrace drinking something fresh like a rose or a beer. During sunny days those places are packed with people, but luckily we have enough terraces in the city. It helps if you are organized and book a table in advance, like a real local. Because of the very precise weather forecasts, it is easy to predict when the sun will be out, what makes your like easier to plan. But at some terraces you can just step in and see if there is a table free.
One of the few terraces that do not take reservations, functioning on a walk-in basis, is the Waterkant. This Surinamese bar is located just besides the Singelsgracht and it is perfect to spend a chill afternoon enjoying the good weather. Founded in 2014, the bar was inspired by De Waterkant in Suriname, and serves multicultural food and delicious drinks. Do not miss their nachos, they are really good!
Other bars that I also like to go are:
Next to the Hannekes Boom (also great spot to have drinks and enjoy the sun close to the water) is the Hannekes Boot. A boat that offers a beautiful view of the water of the Oosterdok, the imposing Nemo and the Scheepsvaartmuseum. Hannekes Boot is divided into two floors, the upper deck with beautiful lighting, very suitable for ceremonies or intimate dinners. The lower deck hosts from parties to business presentations. When the weather is nice, they also make the foredeck available, with picnic tables along the quay.
Like a typical Italian Osteria, L’Osteria is a great spot to eat some pizza or pasta in Amsterdam. With a lively and welcoming atmosphere, and with the delicious smell of authentic Italian cuisine in the air. Opened in 1999 in Limburg, the restaurant has grown and opened its doors in many other cities and countries. They also have their own pasta factory. I highly recommend!
Pllek is a bar and restaurant by the river IJ, close to the NSDM ferry. In a post-industrial vibe, the place is an old shopping container rebuilt into this venue. The place also makes the most out of recycled materials and maritime objects. The food and drinks are also delicious and made with fresh organic ingredients. A really good place to go during sunny days because of the water close by. The place is always full of young and hip creatives, but also older locals. From time to time they organize events and have live bands. The Brazilian band Roda da Holanda often plays samba music there, highly recommend it if you want to try or miss the Brazilian atmosphere.
Close to the Pllek, the Noorderlicht Café has the same vibes. Built from raw, natural, and recycled materials, the bar also serves organic and non-industrialized food. Also close to the NSDM ferry, the is close to the water and a great spot to enjoy a sunny day. They highlight the many creative and cultural initiatives, and ecological and circular projects they support, as well as social and community programs.
Another nice way to spend your sunny afternoon as a local is to rent a boat with your friends and enjoy nice fresh drinks and snacks, such as Dutch cheese, bread, and delicious dips. Many companies rent boats around Amsterdam, and they are not difficult to sail. I do not recommend you to go on one of those city boats, those are normally crowded and have a specific route, which gives you less freedom. Here you can find the two boat companies I have experienced and recommend: Mokumboat if you want to drive your own boat and chill out with close friends; or Mana Boat if you want to have a full experience with a nice boat with a captain and a private bar.
Overall, the season in the city brings happiness and the sunny weather makes Amsterdam shine. I love this season and I could spend the whole day talking about things to do! If you want to know more about this and other seasons in the city, read my blog! Also, on my Instagram I give tips and tell curiosities about the city of the canals, follow me to keep updated!