April 27: King’s Day (Koningsdag), Amsterdam
King’s Day, formerly Queen’s Day, is the annual holiday in honour of King Willem-Alexander, whose investiture took place on 13 April, 2013. A quarter of a million locals and tourists cascade into the centre of Amsterdam for what feels like the world’s biggest street party, in addition to celebrations held all over the Netherlands. There is a gigantic sunrise to sunset street carnival, while the city centre fills with stalls manned by everyone from kids selling old toys to a unique flea market and a range of bands playing on stages in the streets of Rembrandtsplein and Prinsengracht, as it's the one day people can sell without a licence. Special performances from musicians and theatrical folk are held for children and there are parades to entertain everyone. Orange ribbons, orange hair and orange-painted faces are everywhere, as are Dutch flags — don something orange, too, to fit in. The celebrations reach their climax in the evening with a firework display that emblazons the night sky.
August: Amsterdam Gay Pride
One of Europe’s most gay-friendly cities sees 150,000 people turn out to watch the highlight: Canal Parade's display of 100 or so outrageously decorated boats cruising the canals — the world’s only floating gay pride. In addition, there are street discos and open-air theatre performances, a sports programme and a film festival. Celebrations take place all over the city from 4 August but the main events will take place between 6 August and 7 August 2016. If you get bored with festivities, there are more than 100 gay and lesbian bars, clubs, hotels, shops and social events in Amsterdam.