Important Dates to Know when Visiting the Netherlands in 2020 (including School Holidays)

In this post, you'll find a current list of popular events, important dates, and school holidays in Holland to help you plan your trip more effectively.

Due to the Corana outbreaks, and the measures that followed all events up to June 1st, 2020 are now cancelled. Click the red box above for more information.

You might want to travel to Holland precisely because of the events below, but if you don't, it's good to know about them. So you can adjust your travel plans and you might want to plan around these dates — saving yourself (a lot of) money in the process.

Table of content:

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March 21st - May 10th, 2020: Flower Season - Cancelled

Flower Fields in Swifterband, Holland, away from the crowds.

Flower Fields in Swifterband, Holland, away from the crowds. Photo: Martijn Baudoin

From late March until early May, it's flower season in Holland. Flower season is one of the most popular times to visit Holland. People want to see the Tulips, and we don't blame them. The flowers are gorgeous. But crowds and prices will also be at their highest. Only the month of August would be more expensive.

The most popular attraction during flower season is the Keukenhof. The park is open from March 21st until May 10th, 2020.

Do note that a large part of the exhibition at the Keukenhof is indoors. If you want to enjoy the flowers outside, in the fields, come mid-April. This will ensure you will see the most flowers possible in bloom.

Ps for a great deal on transportation and a skip-the-line ticket or the Keukenhof, click here.

Important update March 14th, 2020:  On March 14th, 2020 the Keukenhof announced it will not open on March 21st. The opening date is now postponed to April 1st. However, they also said if measurements by the government are extended, the attraction might open at an even later date (or not at all).

Important update March 16th, 2020: It now looks like the park will not open. The government had said measures because of the virus will likely be in place for months, not weeks. But officially the park will now open on April 7th. We personally don't think it will.

Important update March 23rd, 2020: It's now official, the Keukenhof will not open in 2020.

April 27th, 2020: King's Day - Cancelled

People celebrating Kingsday in Amsterdam on April 27th. The country turns orange this day, as it does with every National celebration.

People celebrating Kingsday in Amsterdam on April 27th. The country turns orange this day, as it does with every National celebration Photo: Shoulderbeach CC BY-SA 4.0

King's Day is a huge celebration throughout the country. The country will turn orange from North to South. Expect festivities in every city, town, and village — the Dutch really love their Royals. It's fantastic to experience once, if you can. It wil give you a great understanding of the Dutch word: "Gezelligheid."

The night before (King's Night) means traditionally a lot of partying, deep into the night. Because of this, not only many tourists come to Amsterdam. Also, Dutch visitors from other parts of the country will look for a hotel in Amsterdam. Simply because there is no transit home anymore. And they probably had too much to drink anyway to drive home.

Also don't expect to do a lot of sightseeing this day. The crowds will be too large for that. Public transport is minimal. Just come to the party, take in the atmosphere and stroll around. Or schedule a more quiet date to visit Amsterdam instead.

Important update March 16th, 2020: The official celebrations in Maastricht are now officially canceled due to the virus. We personally think festivities in the rest of the country might be canceled too.

Money tip: the best way not to lose time while finding your hotel is to have an affordable data bundle for Europe on your phone. That way you're able to use Google Maps on the go. Read our post about the best SIM card for Europe here to find the best deals!

May 3rd, 2020: Formula 1 race in Zandvoort - Cancelled

Formula 1 Zandvoort Circuit

Formula 1 Zandvoort Circuit. Photo: Aaron Cornelissen

It's been 35 years since we've seen the "Formula 1" race in the Netherlands. As you might expect, racing fans are over the moon for the fact it's finally taking place again at the iconic track of Zandvoort in 2020. The racetrack got a complete makeover to bring it into the 21st century because of this.

However, the beach town of Zandvoort comes with some challenges. To access the area, you have to pass through a nature reserve. There is just one road in and out, and single train tracks. Hotels are also limited here! Capacity is limited.

Plus, timing is far from perfect. It collides with Flower season, King's Day, and the "75 years of Liberation" festivities. It seems to come all at once.

If you haven't yet booked a room, do so as soon as possible. You could stay, of course, in Zandvoort. But also in Haarlem or Amsterdam for quick access to the circuit.

Just click the city names for hotel suggestions.

Important update March 13th, 2020: The event is now officially postponed due to the coronavirus. A new date has yet to be determined. For now, our advice is to claim a refund if you already have reservations. Wait with making new reservations until a new date is set.

May 4th - May 5th, 2020: 75 years since Liberation - Cancelled

Liberation in Breda.

Liberation in Breda. Photo: Imperial War Museums

2020 is the year Holland celebrates 75 years since liberation from the Germans in World War II. Expect special events and festivities in the country. There are also many events scheduled in Amsterdam. The events will also lead to many more visitors to the city.

People will come, especially from allied countries, like Canada, the US, the UK, and others to attend. Also, many school classes from around the world will flock to the country as part of their History classes. We know for example s travel blogger, who is also a teacher, that comes over with her class for the events from Canada.

Expect accommodations across the board to skyrocket in price, or simply be full. You might want to look at alternative cities near Amsterdam for a place to stay. Good options are Hilversum, Amersfoort, and Utrecht.

Important update March 23rd, 2020: All public events are cancelled up to June 1st. That means all liberation celebrations are now officially cancelled. There is no news yet, for a later date.​​

May 12th - May 16th, 2020: The Eurovision Song Contest - Cancelled

The Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam this year. Duncan Laurence won last year's edition in Tel Aviv with his song "Arcade." Since he's from the Netherlands, the event this year is in Rotterdam because the winners' country, is the host country of next years' competition.

Expect huge crowds this week in Rotterdam. It's the most-watched TV show in the world. Fans from all over Europe will flock to Rotterdam. It will be an exhilarating week in the city. It will also be an expensive week to stay in Rotterdam (and Amsterdam).

Rotterdam is an easy trip from Amsterdam, for that expect hotels, both in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, to ask exorbitant prices. You might want to look at lesser-known alternative cities to stay like Breda, Delft, Dordrecht, Leiden, The Hague, and Utrecht. All have quick train links into Rotterdam within 30 minutes or less.

Just click on the cities above for hotel suggestions.

Important update March 18th, 2020: The event is now officially canceled due to the virus. The city hopes to host the event in 2021 now.

July 25th, 2020 – August 2th, 2020: Amsterdam Gay Pride

Boats on the canals during the Canal Parade in Amsterdam

Boats on the canals during the Canal Parade in Amsterdam. Photo: PersianDutchNetwork CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the biggest celebrations in Amsterdam is the yearly Canal Parade. When over 80 extravagantly decorated boats take to the Amsterdam Canals, it's fantastic to witness. The atmosphere is a lot of fun whether your straight or gay (or however you see yourself). It's a celebration for everybody.

In 2020, the Canal Parade is held on Saturday, August 1st. Expect extreme crowds in the city and the public transport network. But we promise it's worth it.

The Canal Parade is the main event, but there are festivities around the city for the entire week, starting July 25th until August 2nd. 

August 12th - August 16th, 2020: Sail

Sail in Amsterdam. Watch the large sail ships of the world.

Sail in Amsterdam. Watch the large sail ships of the world. Photo: Guilhem Vellut CC BY 2.0

Once every 5 years Amsterdam is home to Sail. Now 2020 is here. It means the 10th edition of Sail will come to the city again. It's a spectacular event (and this no understatement).

Large sail ships from around the world will flock to the city and showcase their vessels to the public. It's quite an impressive sight. It's something Herman, and I always look forward to.

And we're not alone, about 1 million people will visit every day. Around 5 million people will come during the entire length of the five-day event! You can only imagine how busy it will be in the city. If you're not into ships, avoid Amsterdam around these dates.

And when you are, you might want to look at hotels in cities nearby like Hilversum, Amersfoort, and Utrecht (click the city names to see options).

School Holidays in Holland in 2020

Calendar view image.

School Holidays in Holland. Image: 200 degrees

It's important to know when School Holidays are taking place because that means high season. Prices will be at their peak. And especially attractions will be crowded. Because the Dutch have more holiday leave than most countries in the world (up to 8 weeks per year), they will take a lot of day trips, apart from their proper vacations. Meaning most tourist attractions in the country will be extra busy.

Spring Holiday: February 15th - March 1st, 2020 (week 8 and 9)

May Holiday: April 18th - May 10th, 2020 - Officially week 18 only (April 25th - May 3rd, 2020). However, many schools also close for a second week. Either before or after the official week.

Summer Holiday: July 4th - August 23rd, 2020 (week 28-33)

Autumn Holiday: October 10th - October 25th, 2020 (week 42 and 43)

Christmas Holiday: December 19th, 2020 - January 3rd 2021 (week 52 and 53)

You might have noticed that these dates are quite extended. It's not that kids have all this time off. It's because the country is split up in three zones (North, Middle, South) to alleviate the worst congestion during these school holidays.

Holland might be a small country, but with 17 million people, it's quite dense. If everybody would be off at the same time, roads and airports will be completely jammed.

The month of August

Unless you come for Sail (highly recommend) or the Canal Parade (highly recommend too), avoid the month of August when possible!

It's (by far) the busiest month for Amsterdam and other tourist areas in Holland. Busier than flower season. Schools have their summer holiday (not just in Holland, but in all of Europe (and most likely everywhere in the world), making it busy by itself.

But there is something else: All businesses in France and Italy close at the same time, every August. It means the city gets swamped with tourists from these countries on top of the already busy tourist season.

Expect almost criminal prices for accommodations in Amsterdam and high airfare to and from the country. Tourist attractions and museums will often reach their capacity and will refuse entry. And just expect extremely crowded streets everywhere. If you can, it's best to plan around it. Or plan on doing things off-the beaten track.

Did this post help you?

We hope this post helped you making smarter travel decisions about when you should (or shouldn't) come to Amsterdam and the rest of Holland. And when you do come, we hope our alternative hotel tips help to make your trip a bit more affordable during these busy times.

Join the conversation below if this information has helped you in any way. Also, let us know when you're (planning on) coming to Holland and why! We'd love to know.

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