Holland is seen by most people as a lively country, with the commercial capital Amsterdam, viewed as a party city. With its ring system of canals and waterways, and all the world-famous museums and historical sights which punctuate the city, Amsterdam is regarded as one of the most romantic cities in Europe. A city of beauty, diversity and tolerance, Amsterdam possesses all the attractions of a big city but is relatively small, quiet, and unspoilt by road traffic. During the months of May to September the city opens itself up to visitors in even greater numbers as the party feel cranks up a notch and festival season kicks in.
Dancevalley is a three day long dance festival which takes place on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the Spaanwoude nature reserve during mid July. Featuring some of the best dance acts and DJ?s in the world this is a great festival, and with the Prodigy signed up for this year's event, it is guaranteed to be one of the biggest European music festivals.
The Lowlands festival in August focuses on alternative music, but also offers a full stand-up comedy programme, along with visual arts, literature, film and theatre events. Situated near to an artificial island in the middle of Holland called Flevoland, the easiest way to get to the festival is to take a flight to Amsterdam, with British Airways or try to get a flight from one of the budget airlines, and then a short train journey to either of the 't Harde or Lelystad stations, where free shuttle buses await to take party goers to the site.
This year is the 30th birthday of the Kwakoe festival. This is an extended multicultural event which takes place each weekend in July and August and is located in the Bijlmer region of Amsterdam. The festival itinerary includes music, sports, films, food, dancing and a variety of cultural events.
De Parade is yet another Amsterdam festival event this summer, and can be found in Martin Luther King Park. Similar in style to a small Edinburgh festival, De Parade mixes culture, art, theatre, comedy, food, music and a fair ground ambiance, and is a great way to spend a warm summer night with a cold beer or a glass of wine.
The summer months also see Amsterdam?s Vondelpark transformed, by daily live theatre and musical concerts, to become a hive of activity and entertainment both during the day and throughout the evening.
As a destination for a quick weekend away or a fully fledged holiday, Amsterdam is a great city to visit, and during the summer it really comes alive.