Friday, 6 August 2010

Summer festivals in the Netherlands

A beautiful summer day at the beach in Urk, province of Flevoland.

Summer in the Netherlands is the best season of the year to travel around and get to see and experience all the cultural aspects of this incredible country. From north to south, west to east, the whole country seems to come out of its cocoon and burst into fun activities which are mostly carried out in the open, to celebrate the sun and compensate for the long months of winter inertia.

A full coffee terrace in the city centre of Zwolle, Overijssel.

If you are thinking of visiting the Netherlands this summer and music and/or dancing is your thing, there are options aplenty to choose from. One of the festivals that take place around the months of July/August each year is Dance Valley, which is held every year in the Spaarnewoude, a town located about 5 km from the beautiful city of Haarlem in North Holland.

Dance Valley is known as "the Woodstock of Dance", and started as a tribute to electronic dance music back in 1995 when approximately 8.000 people gathered to dance and listen to the music played by popular DJs. Today, Dance Valley has grown to one of the bigggest events in the country, with the 2009 edition attracting around 60.000 visitors.

Dance Valley Festival in Spaarnewoude. Photo from Wikipedia
This year the festival will take place on Saturday 7th August at Velsen Valley in Spaarnewoude, which is located at about 5 km from the beautiful city of Haarlem, in North Holland.
The festival will spread its wide array of events over four "grounds": "The Holy Ground", or the heart of the festival, which is where the main stage will be located, featuring house and progressive DJs; "The Solid Ground", where you will find the diehard dance fans and in 14 different areas music will be played non-stop, including the newest craves in electronic music; "The High Ground", where hard dance style will be the main theme; and the "Secret Ground", the place for trance music with the presence this year of star DJ Armin van Buuren.
Here you will find a detail of all the different areas of the festival and if you click on each of them, you will be taken to the list of artists that will be performing during the event.
Beware though, that entrance to the festival grounds is not free. Here you can find information about the cost of tickets and options to buy them online depending on where you are located.

Another important music festival is Camping Flight to Lowland Paradise, or simply known as Lowland, which attracts fans of pop music and, together with Pink Pop (celebrated every year in May), is the largest pop music festival in the Netherlands. The event is held each year in August in Walibi World amusement park located in Biddinghuizen, in the province of Flevoland (approx. 70 km from Amsterdam).
The festival does not offer just music, but also indoor and outdoor activities which include stand-up comedy acts, street theatre, literature, films and more.
This year Lowland will be held on 20-21-22 August and the tickets can only be bought online or by telephone. The programme is truly varied and amazing, including around a hundred different music groups, fifteen theatre and dance performances, seventeen stand-up comedians, etc.
You can find all the necessary information to attend the festival, including the programme and online ticket sale, clicking on this link.

If you are coming to the Netherlands this week or planning to visit next summer at around this time (early August) there is a very important event that is absolutely worth seeing at least once in your lifetime - the annual Gay Pride Parade in Amsterdam, the absolute highlight of Gay Pride Week which usually takes place in the first week of August each year.

Hundreds of converted barges parade along the Amsterdam canals while thousands of people watch the fun and join the party. Here on the official website of Gay Pride Amsterdam you will find all you need to know about this event - from tickets for the different events taking place during the weekend to programme of activities, photos and much more.Also, if you need to book a place to stay during your visit, take a look at who are currently offering an exclusive 10% discount on hotel bookings at


Anonymous said...

After hearing about Urk being so religious, I was almost expecting to see people in these kinds of bathing suits on the beach: ;)

The mass exodus outdoors as soon as the weather is halfway decent is one of the many things I love about Dutch life.

~ Lopa said...

What a shame on me, i live here and didn't know half of the things mentioned here.
Thank you for sharing this.

Those dance festival looks interesting ! :)

Aledys Ver said...

Oh dear, those bathing suits are hideous! :D
Well, probably the people that were there on the beach did not belong to these ultra religious group from Urk. I don't even remember it this photo was taken on a Sunday :D

Well, don't worry - you haven't been here in NL that long, there's plenty of time for you to explore! You can beging by attending the Gay Pride Parade tomorrow hehe
Thanks for your comment!

BLOGitse said...

Hola, que tal? :)
I envy you. Seriously. I miss Europe.
I miss that kind of dance happenings...
You can't have everything. But you make it sound so good over there! :)
Maybe one day...
Have a great weekend!

aggieLap said...

Summer is nice for outdoors festival indeed! I've heard of Dance Valley in the past as it's in my area but never been, however, Spaarnwoude is a nice place to walk around especially by the tower. The other big festival coming up on 28th August even closer to my place is Mysteryland ( but fans of raving must book super early because it gets sold out pretty quickly (I heard from a colleague of mine who has been trying to go this year). But it's still fun to hang around the Harlemmermeerse Bos to see the crowd, the spotlights and hear the music :)

Aledys Ver said...

I can understand how you must miss being able to attend events like these! But you always have your holidays to do that, I guess!
THanks for stopping by!

Yes, I guess all these festivals are so big that tickets get sold off way before they start. And they tend to be expensive, too! But as you say, just hanging around the area should be fun!
THanks for your comment!

Invader_stu said...

I'm house sitting for someone who lives just around the corner from the canal where the gay pride parade is passing. I'm going to check it out in a little while.

Aledys Ver said...

Ohhh Stu!! We were wondering with Alison just yesterday who we might know living nearby! :D You should've let us know beforehand, we'd be there with you! hehe

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...

I don´t know that you have a lot of different type of festival during the summer in the Netherlands. I see the prices, for us (in Argentina) seems expensive...

This post is very interesting, we can see that the Netherlands is much more that the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

See you in the next post!!!

Alexandre e Anabela said...

The Netherlands celebrate the summer in big style :) Really nice article Aledys.
Cheers from the rainy Denmark

Miss Footloose said...

What a fun post, Aledys Ver! The Dutch know how to party ;) even though they're supposed to be so down-to-earth and practical, but the summer sun does do magic!

Also going on this weekend is the Sneekweek, (aug 6-9) in, of course, Sneek in the province of Friesland. A fantastic sailing festival with races and parties and extravaganza. This year it's the 75th anniversary.

Sneek is the sailing capital of the Netherlands, and incidentally ;) my birth town.

Aledys Ver said...

@Alexandre e Anabela,
Yes, you can imagine why the whole country bursts with activity when the weather gets nicer!
It seems that we are already saying our good-byes to the summer weather in the north of Europe, doesn't it... oh dear!

@Miss Footloose,
Friesland is my favourite part of the NL! I went to Sneekweek in 2008 but the weather was far from perfect (for a change hehe) and I didn't get to see much unfortunately!
I'm glad to announce that I am now officially your landgenote since I have recently received my Frysk paspoart!!! :D

Patricia Sgrignuoli said...


Veo que mi comentario no está... no sé que pasó! Bueno, vuelvo a escribir entonces...
Excelente la entrada, con los festivales de verano, pero no tenía idea que tuvieran tantos!! En cuanto a los precios de las entradas, traduciendo los euros a pesos, y son caras para nosotros, pero seguramente allá debe ser más fácil adquirirlas.
Está bueno que nos cuentes ese tipo de cosas de Holanda, así vemos que ese país es bastante más que el típico "Barrio Rojo", y que Holanda no es solo Amsterdam!!!.

Aledys Ver said...

Gracias, no sé qué pasó con el comentario anterior?
Sí, hay muchísimos festivales, ferias y actividades durante el verano, hay que aprovechar el buen tiempo... aunque no siempre brilla el sol :D

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Today I was thinking about Parkpop in Den Haag. Then I REALLY wanted to go to Scheveningen. So your post is exactly perfect for me today. Ahhh. Thank you, Aledys!

Jack said...

Red Light District is a lifetime experience!
But, to be sure to have a unforgettable time, you should check out this The Amsterdam Red Light Guide

Thelma said...

Huuuummmmm I found really interesting which one of the festivals, maybe I'll think about going to one of your sugestions :D


VallyP said...

Oh dear Aledys, I've missed a whole bunch of you lovely descriptive posts, but I think I've caught up with them now, I loved the post about Zeeland and the photos are beautiful. Your English s amazing too!

GCODES said...

wow! i just came back from holland last week, but I want to go back after reading this article :)

BLOGitse said...

Why not to post about the process - was it difficult to download? Did take a long time? Any problems?
I'm curious to know! :)

BLOGitse said...

Where's my first comment? Still in moderation or did you destroy it? :)

AledysVer said...

No, it's published and I even replied to it wondering where all my other comments had gone! Do you know? :)