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Amsterdam Travel Guide > Amsterdam Festivals

Amsterdam Festivals

There's so much more to Holland's capital than cannabis, coffee shops and the red light district. Though famed for its more seedy attractions, Amsterdam also offers plenty of high culture that doesn't involve small bags of green herbs.

Grachtenfestival - Amsterdam's annual canal festival - provides nine days of classical performances, made up of over 70 concerts held around 20 different locations, including a series of free performances given in the gardens and homes and on the roof terraces of canal side residents. The event, culminating with the impressive Prinesngracht concert, is held on a floating state in front of Hotel Pulitzer and attracts thousands of classical fans.

But Grachtenfestival isn't all about old fashioned classical pieces; "Shhh…it Happens!" is a new breed of musical incorporating rock with classical music to create a musical noir that tells the story of a brother and sister who get mixed up with a bunch of out of control freaks in an abandoned theme park, which is guaranteed to take audiences on a rollercoaster ride.

The festival also offers rare opportunities for aspiring classical musicians and singers to meet and learn from some of the greatest names in business. Opera singer Nelly Miricioiu, who has sung many parts in belcanto operas of Rossini, Donizett and Bellini, captivates opera audiences worldwide with her lyrical qualities and will be running a master class and searching for talented young singers during this year's festival.

And if classical doesn't cut it for you, Amsterdam has plenty of other festivals to float your canal boat. Queensday is the celebration of the Queen's mother's birthday, and the whole of Holland becomes one big party. Amsterdam turns orange and assumes a carnival atmosphere with big parties, Dutch and international artists and plenty of loud music.

Or how about Hartjesdagen, a festival where men come dressed as women and women come dressed as men, which some historians believe dates back to the Middle Ages. Film buffs can take pleasure in the Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, which celebrates a range of genres: fantasy, horror, scenic fiction, thriller, anime and cult, and incorporates both Dutch and international cinema.

With several airlines serving UK to Holland routes, making the journey is easy with plenty of flights to Amsterdam to choose from.

From classical concerts to Dutch carnivals, summer in Amsterdam is filled with festival fun, so it's not surprising that plenty of people come to the city in search of more than just coffee shops and cannabis.

Article written by Adam Singleton, Amsterdam flights.