This annual event in the fall highlights the upcoming season of music and performing arts. All around Amsterdam stages are setup for various groups to preview their talents. The Dam Square has the biggest stage with the best acts. The most amazing part is you get all this entertainment for FREE! That is a rare thing in Holland. If you are staying for a few months it’s possible to get discounts by subscribing to a series of performances. The whole scheme is rather complex to sort out, but there are some good values.

Christmas in Holland

If you like Christmas, you’ll love Holland.  They celebrate it three times!  In late November they mark the arrival of Sinterklaas (our Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch holiday).  Sinterklaas and his entourage of black (supposedly Moorish, but really Dutch in blackface) helpers travel from town to town giving little goodies (usually ginger cookies) to children.

The Dutch Sinterklaas is a lot skinnier than our Santa Claus (what does that say about us?) and is somewhat more religious since the story goes that he was a Spanish priest who helped the poor. 

On December 5th, Sinterklaasavond (Santa Claus eve)… Continue reading

Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day)

No, this isn’t a gay festival, it’s the celebration of the Queen of Holland’s birthday on April 30th. Her birthday actually falls on a different day, but who cares? This is the biggest party day of the year as the whole country wears orange, goes nuts and gets very drunk. They say two million people fill the streets of Amsterdam, making it impossible to get around. You’d be amazed to see what transpires. Amsterdam is one big party and the debris takes days for huge crews to clean up the ankle deep trash. Holland also turns into a big flea… Continue reading

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