What to do in Amsterdam in May

So we have approached the second half of May.  You might have noticed that the better weather is also bringing way more fun opportunities to get out of the house and socialize.  Here is a wrap-up of what to do for the rest of the month. (Hint: it is a lot and it is diverse!)

ROLLENDE KEUKENS (Rolling Kitchens) 17 – 20 May, every day from 1 to 11 pm

Basically what Rollende Keukens boils down to is: if you can cook it on wheels in a really cute mobile kitchen, then it’s game. 

My favorite was the “Green Peas” soup served out of an army tank.  Get it?  Green “peas”?  Army tank?  Totally cute

An entire section of Westerpark is turned into a fun fair for foodies, with visitors being served out of the backs of buses, volkswagon caravans, army tanks, you name it.  The food itself is just as diverse: crepes, Korean burritos, BBQ, soups, nachos, mojitos and wine tastings.  A little bit of everything really. 

There are a few little rides for kids, and usually some sort of visual spectacular for the adults, but for this year it remains to be seen just what that will be.

Food served with a side of fun


If Rollende Keukens (above) is a little girl, then consider Taste of Amsterdam her older, more mature sister.  Sort of the same concept: Amstelpark is turned into a festival of food for foodies, only Taste of Amsterdam has a bit more panache and seriousness and probably less frill.  In this festival, 12 established Dutch restaurants create stalls to dish up their culinary goods, while other stalls will be selling gourmet ingredients in a boutique food market.  There will also be workshops and food demos for all of you wanna-be or budding chefs who dream of doing it in your own kitchen.

Taste of Amsterdam
Taste of Amsterdam

AUGMENT IT! : 17 May

Do you like art? Do you like music? Do you like new media, such as augmented reality? Well then that KABOOM you just heard was your worlds colliding at Augment It!, an evening by the (Temporary) Stedelijk Museum hosted at club Trouw.

How they are going to use Augmented Reality for art and poetry is anyone’s guess, but I don’t want to miss it myself, so see you there! And don’t forget your smart phone. Like everything else in today’s world, there’s an app involved.

Get all artsy-farsty tech and Augment It!


What began last year as a one-day  music festival (actually one of the first of the festival season) the Open Air festival is now this year spread over 2 days (on a holiday weekend).  Featuring all of the expected lineup acts (Apenkooi, GirlsloveDJs, etc) there are also some more obscure acts that could be worth catching on the smaller stages.  37.50 euro for a day pass, or 57.50 euro for both days.  But note that this is an MTV production, so you have been warned.

Open Air festival kicks off the festival season

FOAM Museum: various in May

If you haven’t been there recently, it looks like there are some interesting exhibitions going on at FOAM. You could argue that this is always the case, and in fact we agree. In particular the New York Times photography exhibit, which ends on May 30th, looks particularly worth catching.

Showing not just blown up copies of photographs that the New York Times has published in the magazine, this exhibition shows a range of photographs (reportage, portrait, fine art) in various stages of the publication process.  So it could be the actual photograph, the contact sheet, tear sheets, shot lists, or pages from the actual magasine.   Knowing the standard of quality that the New York Times is renowned for, this is one exhibit that photography enthusiasts really shouldn’t miss.

The New York Times exhibit at FOAM until 30 May

EYE Film Institute: various movies throughout May, as always

Now that it is officially open, you have a good reason to go and check out the new location and sparkly new building that now houses the EYE Film Institute.  You can either go and have a drink on their sunny (albeit windy) terrace overlooking the Ij, or use this as an excuse to see a Martin Scorcese classic on the big screen (or any other film that is playing right now– an interesting mix of current and classics).

IT’S A PARTY: Friday 18 May

It’s a Party is a small party (surprised?) in the middle of Vondelpark by The G Team, a duo of DJ’s that is also involved in this summer’s already-popular Milkshake festival from AIR.  This party is the 7th edition in ‘t Blauwe Theehuis- a small but funky venue smack dab in the middle of the park- so no neighbors to tell them to turn it down!


Erik Kessels, of the Amsterdam advertising agency KesselsKramer, will be launching his book ‘Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising’ at Hotel V on 31 May.  Brought to us by the good folk at The American Book Center, we are expecting a full house, and tickets are unfortunately already sold out.  There will be a dicussion by three communicators in the advertising world (including Kessels himself) followed by a podium Q&A session from Adformatie.  If you’re not sure what to expect, well just check out the website for KesselsKramer, a pretty well-established and well-respected advertising bureau. 

Yeah, exactly.  “Thinking outside of the box” to put it mildly.

Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising book launch in Hotel V


For something a little off-beat and quirky, check out The Spaghetti Western Orchestra, performing over three days at the Carre. It is exactly what it sounds like- an orchestra made up of a group of fellas who looked like they stopped serving whisky to cowboys in a saloon in order to step on stage and play cinema-worthy soundtracks from those good old western movies that your dad loved so much, complete with bullet sounds and horses braying. It certainly looks fun, and if the reviews are to be trusted it is fun, so worth checking out.

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra

INDIESTAD: on until 23 May

For music-lovers who like to delve deeper than who is headlining at the Heineken Music Hall, Indiestad will be going on at various smaller venues throughout the city until the 23rd of May.  Showcasing acts that you may or may not have heard of (but you definitely have a friend that knows their music and saw them in 2008 at some obscure festival….we all have that kind of friend…), these are all slightly off-center or up-and-coming acts in the indie music scene. 

And if you’re not sure and don’t know any of the bands by name, have a listen on the Indiestad spotify playlist to see if it is up your alley. 

Indiestad on until 23 May


For one weekend, 74 artists in the Jordaan will open their doors so that you can enter and explore their worlds during the Open Atelier weekend. And it’s not just for the visual arts- there will be poetry, music and workshops as well.

This is a free event and spread throughout the entire Jordaan, so if you are in the area with nothing else to do, this is well worth checking out, especially for other artists or art-lovers. However, if that sounds like too much, check out Het Claverhuis on the Elandsgracht, where one piece from each participating artist will be on display. That will help you narrow down which ateliers to visit. You can find the program here.

Open Atelier Weekend in the Jordaan

So there you have it, a wrap up of the best that the rest of the month has to offer.
So go forth and have fun!
See you back again in June.

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