What’s On Amsterdam

What’s On Amsterdam



This new play based on the life of Anne Frank uses her writings to tell the story of the two years spent by her and her family in the secret annex in Amsterdam and of events before and after they went into hiding.

There is a multi-lingual translation system available that can be booked free of charge. It takes the form of a tablet and theatre-goers can choose between a written translation and a synopsis of all the scenes. It is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese and Dutch. Audio versions are available in English and German.

Theater Amsterdam, Amsterdam until November 30.

Art Is Therapy

The British writers and philosophers Alain de Bottom and John Armstrong are currently commenting on 150 artworks on display in the Rijksmuseum, from the Middle Ages through to the 20th century, and including items in the Asian Pavilion.

They are focusing on the therapeutic effect art can have and the big questions in life that art can answer.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam until September 7.


De Parade

De Parade consists of a large number of colourful tents which travel the four main cities. Most of the tents offer performances of music, theatre, dance, opera and mime, while others are restaurants or cafes. Whatever the weather, the circus-like atmosphere is a real treat.

And with performances taking between three and forty minutes, it’s easy to fit in several each evening. Many are in Dutch, but there are at least twenty shows in English or without words.

Martin Luther Kingpark, Amsterdam, August 8 to 24.

Dutch National Ballet

Rudi van Dantzig’s glorious version of Swan Lake with music by Tchaikovsky and beautiful sets and costumes by Toer van Schayk, which he based on Dutch old master paintings.

Muziektheater, Amsterdam, September 14 (matinee), 17, 19, 20, 27 and 28 (matinee).

Dutch Theatre Festival

A chance to see the best productions of the previous season as selected by a jury of theatre professionals, performed with English surtitles. Keep an eye on the website for which titles are included.

There is also a full programme of masterclasses, improvisation performances, lectures and after show discussions.

Stadsschouwburg and other theatres around the Leidseplein, Amsterdam, September 4 to 14.


Flame Games

The Flame Games is a combination of athletics and entertainment with top athletes taking part in sprint, running and hurdling, long and high jump and triathlons for men (shot put, pole vault, 110 metres hurdles) and women (javlin, long jump, 110 metres hurdles).

Among those taking part is Churandy Martina from Curaçao who was part of the Dutch team at the London Olympics and holds the country’s record in the 200 metres.

Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam, August 22.

Friday Night Skate

Make sure you wear something appropriate for the themed skates through some of Amsterdam’s less known areas. They start at around 8.30 pm in the Vondel Park.

Bretten Lichtjes Skate takes in Amsterdam West and its large green area of Bretten. There will be an extra stop at around 8.45 pm outside the council offices to pick up people who live in the area. Bring a lamp or buy one at the start.

September 19. If it rains, it will be postponed until September 26.

Vondel Park, Amsterdam.

There are also Friday night skates in Utrecht, Tilburg and Groningen, and a Wednesday night skate in Rotterdam.

Grachten Festival

This festival of classical music takes place along the canals of Amsterdam in unusual places, such as in hotels, churches and museums and on boats and in parks. It attracts an international line-up of musicians.

Among the quirky locations are a disused bridge hut where violinist Dana Zemtsov is to be found; the still under construction pedestrian tunnel under Centraal Station which hosts the Keuris Quartet; and what will be the new metro station Vijzelgracht where Vincent van Amsterdam plays his accordion.

One of the highlights is the Prinsengracht Concert on August 23, which takes place on a pontoon across the Prinsengracht outside the Pulitzer Hotel. The soloist this year is the Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili. She is joined by her husband, the oboe player François Leleux and the members of the ensemble which accompanies them when they tour.

Theater Bellevue and other locations, Amsterdam, August 15 to 24.

Grant Stewart Quintet

Standards from the jazz repertoire played as if written yesterday by the Canadian-born tenor sax player with the full-bodied sound of the tenor sax giants who traverse jazz history.

He is joined by trumpet player John Marshall, pianist Leo Lindberg, bass player Kenji Rabson and drummer Phil Stewart.

Bimhuis, Amsterdam, September 25.

Hiswa on Water

The boat show on the water features around 300 new five to 30-metre boats and the latest in water sport equipment. There is a nautical market for accessories and clothing and a host of activities on the water.

NDSM-werf, Amsterdam Noord, September 2 to 7.

Ideal Home (Woonbeurs)

Ideas for the home and garden, the latest trends and experts offering advice, demonstrations and workshops. The fair covers literally everything, from lamps and watering cans to wooden flooring and wallpaper.

RAI, Amsterdam, September 30 to October 5.

Masters of Photography

Works by National Geographic’s top ten photographers, ranging from the famous Afghan girl and the women in burkas and sports shoes of Steve McCurry to the colourful haze of colour that is the yellow-winged macaw by Frans Lanting.

Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam until October 19.

National Opera

The renowned choreographer Sasha Waltz directs Monteverdi’s Orfeo, using her own company to create dances for the instrumental passages which intersperse the sung parts. The music is played by the Freiburger BarockConsort conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. Among the soloists are Georg Nigl and Charlotte Hellekant. They are joined by the VocalConsort Berlin.

Muziektheater, Amsterdam, September 3, 5 and 6.

A staged performance of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, a tale of passionate love that falls prey to misunderstandings. It is the first time the Gurrelieder cycle has been performed as a full-scale opera. It is directed by Pierre Audi with sets and costumes by Christof Hetzer. With the Netherlands Philharmonic conducted by Marc Albrecht, the chorus of the National Opera, the KammerChor des ChorForum Essen and soloists including Burkhard Fritz and Emily Magee.

Muziektheater, Amsterdam, September 2, 7 (matinee), 12, 13, 18 and 21 (matinee).

Open Air Theatre

The open air theatre in Amsterdam’s Vondel park presents a packed programme featuring pop and classical music concerts, dance ranging from ballet to the Lindy Hop and children’s theatre. Check the website for this summer’s programme.

Vondelpark, Amsterdam until August 25.

Rembrandt’s Saskia

Rembrandt’s portrait of his first wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh, is on loan from Washington’s National Gallery of Art. The portrait, which has recently been restored, has never been shown at a Dutch museum before.

Rembrandt probably began painting the portrait in 1634/1635, shortly after he and Saskia were married, and only completed it some years later, around 1640. It was last shown in Europe in 1894, in Paris.

Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam until August 2015.

Robeco Summer Nights

This year’s summer series of concerts featuring classical, pop and jazz music includes recitals together and apart by the piano-playing brothers Arthur and Lucas Jussen; Leo van Doeselaar with works by Bach and Saint-Saëns on the organ; violinist Simone Lamsma playing Beethoven’s violin concerto; fado from Cristina Branco; and film music by Nino Rota, John Williams and Howard Shore.

The closing concert is a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with violinist Janine Jansen.

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam until August 31.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

The Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is the soloist for Shostakovich’s piano concerto nr 1. Also on the programme are Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie and Prokofiev’s symphony nr 5. Mariss Jansons conducts.

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, September 17, 18, 19 and 21 (matinee).

A performance of Ligeti’s Requiem, together with works by Ockeghem, Varèse and Ravel. Conductor Jonathan Nott and the orchestra are joined by contralto Allyson McHardy, soprano Jane Archibald, the Flemish Radio Choir and the Dutch broadcasting choir.

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, September 25.


The Dam tot Damloop is a 10 mile road race between Amsterdam and Zaandam. This year it celebrates its 30th edition with an extra event on the Saturday evening: the four mile Damloop at night. This takes place over a shortened version of the main route.

A total of around 65,000 runners are expected to take part in both events. In addition, 16,000 walkers and 6,000 cyclists will take part in their respective events.

The start is on the Prins Hendrikkade in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam and Zaandam, September 20 and 21.


The HDI Gerling Rotterdam Open is an international tennis competition for up-and-coming players. It is played on gravel with referees and linesmen from the International Tennis Federation.

32 male and female players compete for prize money of $15,000 for the men and $10,000 for the women.

Victoria Tennis Club, Kralingen, Rotterdam, August 23 to 31.

Davis Cup tennis as the Netherlands plays Croatia for a place in the world group. The Ziggo Dome has laid a special indoor gravel court for the three-days of play-offs.

Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, September 12, 13 and 14.

The Art of the Brick

The bricks in question are those made by Lego from which the American artist Nathan Sawaya is able to build just about anything. This exhibition is a selection of 75 of his works, ranging from a full size dinosaur to 3D versions of famous paintings such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and classical statutes including Michelangelo’s David.

His website is well worth a look to see what else he has made. On the site he says he likes to place his yellow Hugman character somewhere in the city where an exhibition takes place.

Amsterdam Expo, Amsterdam until September 14.

Toneelgroep Amsterdam

The largest repertory company of the Netherlands presents its productions with English surtitles throughout August and then on Thursday evenings.

The Entertainer, John Osborne’s portrayal of three generations of vaudeville artists, paints a grim picture of an England in decline in the late 1950s. Gijs Scholten van Aschat takes centre stage as Archie Rice in director Eric de Vroedt’s rather overly hysterical production.

Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, August 20, 21, 22 and 23.

The Fountainhead is based on Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel of the same name. The protagonist is the architect Howard Roark, who embodies what the author believes to be the ideal human spirit. Roark’s struggles reflect Rand’s belief that individualism trumps collectivism. Among the cast of this production directed by Ivo van Hove are Ramsey Nasr, Halina Reijn and Tamar van den Dop.

There is an evening of discussion of Ayn Rand’s work at Felix&Foam in Amsterdam on September 1. (

Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, August 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, September 4 and 18.

Hamlet vs Hamlet sees Tom Lanoye take Shakespeare’s play and turn it into the identity crisis of a young man. Director Guy Cassiers says it is also a metaphor for the political crisis in Europe.

Stadsschouwburg, Amsterdam, September 7 and October 2.

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of this early – possibly even first – play by William Shakespeare is beamed into cinemas. It is the first time it has been played on the company’s main stage since the production of 1970 starring Helen Mirren.

Simon Godwin directs this comedy delight of cross-dressing, misunderstandings and love with stand-out performances from Mark Arends, Pearl Chanda, Roger Morlidge and a wonderful lurcher.

Pathé Cinemas, Amsterdam, The Hague, September 3.


The new cultural season opens with the annual Uitmarkt where opera companies, choirs, orchestras, theatre and dance companies, museums and many more offer information about their forthcoming performances and exhibitions. There are also tasters in the form of indoor and outdoor performances.

Museumplein and Leidseplein, Amsterdam, August 29 to 31.

War Horse

If you’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s film version of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book but would really like to see the original theatre production with its amazing puppets, this Dutch version is easy to follow. The story is simple: boy buys horse, horse is sequestered by the army, boy joins up to find his horse. The action moves from rural Devon to the trenches of First World War France.

Theater Carré, Amsterdam until September 28.

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