Festivals and Events in South Holland
Information on major festivals and annual events in The Hague, Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam...
You can find major events happening year-round in South Holland, both in large cities like Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft and Leiden and smaller communities such as Katwijk and Wateringen.
Many Dutch public holidays and observances, such as King's Day and Sinterklaas, are marked by celebrations throughout the country. Weekly produce markets can be found in just about every municipality in Holland, as well as Christmas markets in December. The Dutch have a passion for ice skating, as is evidenced by the large number of temporary ice rinks which pop up around the holidays.
Municipal boards decide early in the year which major events will be supported with funding and the dates of those events can usually be found on the local 'gemeente' website by end of February. Check our What's On section for the latest festival listings. You can also visit local tourist offices for information about planned events.
Below is a brief summary of major annual festivals and events that take place in South Holland's larger cities...
- Delft Chamber Music Festival ten day classical music festival runs late July to mid-August
- Westerpop; two day rock music festival in late August
- Lichtjesavond; the evening the city’s Christmas tree is lit on the main square in Delft, takes place during the second week of December
- Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse (20 km from Leiden) is open for late March to mid-May and offers a splendid array of Dutch tulips and other flowers
- Laken Festival is a four day festival late June, celebrating Leiden’s history as a major cloth producer
- Leiden Ontzet Festival is a two day festival at the beginning of October which celebrates the Liberation of Leiden in 1574 during the 80 Years War.
- Leiden International Film Festival is a ten day event which showcases both art-house and mainstream films.
- The Hague celebrates Kings Night (26th April) with a music festival called 'The Life I Live' on multiple stages spread out through the city center. Each stage showcases a different genre of music, from jazz and country to dance and hard rock.
- Festival Classique: Classical music festival which takes place in mid-June either in The Hague city center or by the beach in Scheveningen. Varies in length from 4-10 days.
- Parkpop is one of the largest free music festivals in Europe. It takes place on the last Sunday in June in The Hague’s Zuiderpark. Night at the Park, held the night before, has also become a major event.
- Tong Tong Fair is the largest Eurasian fair in the world and takes place in late May/early June on the Malieveld festival terrain. It showcases Southeast Asian culture with dance, music, lectures, interviews, workshops and a large food offering.
- International Fireworks Festival (in Dutch), is an international fireworks competition held over the water in Scheveningen in August. Eight 15-min fireworks shows (two per night over successive weekends)
- Prinsjesdag held on the third Tuesday in September is also referred to as 'Budget Day'. The King and Queen ride in the royal golden carriage from Noordeinde Palace to Knight's Hall in the Binnenhof to open the new session of parliament.
- International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), held each January and lasting about two weeks; screenings of new films by lesser-known filmmakers from around the world
- ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, held in February, is a key event on the men's ATP circuit with top ten players
- Rotterdam Festivals provides information about all the festivals in Rotterdam. July is the biggest month of festivals, with events like the Metropolis Festival and Summer Carnival
- North Sea Jazz Festival, held in July on multiple stages at Ahoy in Rotterdam South, with over eight hours live music per day by top recording artists
- World Port Days, held in early September, with harbour events including boat trips, water rescue demonstrations and a major fireworks presentation
- Rotterdam Marathon, held in April, draws top runners from around the world and several hundred thousand spectators