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Young woman relaxing in a pink tulip field.

Alluring Amsterdam: Experience an elevated escape in the Dutch capital this spring

From the city’s celebrated flower festival to Amsterdam Art Week, the dynamic European capital’s exciting roster of springtime events will ensure a memorable stay away. | By Paul Oswell | April 6, 2023

World-class artwork, traditional windmills, intricate canals and lively cafes provide the backdrop to one of the truly great European cities. Amsterdam is compact and easy to explore, with renowned museums, spectacular festivals and high-end cuisine. Here are some ideas for the best things to do in Amsterdam to make the most of your stay in the cultural epicenter of the Netherlands:

  • Inspiring events: King’s Day and the Amsterdam Tulip Festival attract locals and visitors from around the globe

  • Classic culture and shopping: See iconic works by the Dutch Masters in real life, before finding your own masterpieces in the city’s many markets

  • Premium cuisine: Michelin stars are in abundance, but you’ll also appreciate the flavorful street foods

Tulips in front of the Rijksmuseum with the famous Iamsterdam sign and blurred tourist as backdrop in Museumplein, Amsterdam.
Tulips planted throughout Amsterdam provide a pop of spring color almost everywhere you look.


Explosions of color accompany some of Europe’s most exciting events in the Dutch capital. Visit Amsterdam in late April when the highest-profile holiday — King’s Day — takes place and takes over the Netherlands. People dress up in the national color (orange) and create a day-long sensory feast of music, parades, flotillas and parties. Join the crowds with a free spirit and a sense of adventure for a day that you’ll remember for years to come.

Amsterdam is equally famed for its flowers and the spring Tulip Festival is another must-see. During the month of April, locations across the city are decked with elaborate arrangements. Simply taking a stroll or bike ride through the city becomes a magical, vibrant experience. For the most spectacular photo opportunities, head to the 79-acre (32-hectare) Keukenhof tulip gardens just outside the city, where seven million flowers burst into bloom and create a vibrant floral rainbow as far as the eye can see.

Contemporary art buffs will love Amsterdam Art Week, which takes place in late May. Over 100 exhibits and installations open in the city’s most prestigious galleries, and for five days, some of the art world’s most influential figures present new works, screenings, lectures and artists' talks. Your concierge at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam can help you organize the best way to fully appreciate these events, as well as whatever else inspires you. The hotel can also arrange exclusive helicopter sightseeing tours, expert-guided flower auction visits, visits with Dutch fashion designers and supercar racetrack sessions.

Woman riding a bicycle with bag and bouquet of tulips on the bridge over the water channel in Amsterdam.
Dive into Dutch culture with a bike ride through Amsterdam to experience the city like a local.

Culture and shopping

Immerse yourself in the city’s progressive culture and sophisticated aesthetics with a private glass-topped canal cruise, relaxing as your guide points out the evocative, Golden Age architecture. Visitors can purchase combination tickets that include entry to the city’s museums, many conveniently located on the Museumplein (Museum Square). The Dutch masters are shown off in the world-class collections of the huge Rijksmuseum. It boasts one million objects, with more than 2,000 paintings by the greats, including Vermeer and Rembrandt. The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to the works and life of this beloved Dutch painter. It is home to over 200 of his paintings, including must-see works such as “Sunflowers” and “Self-portrait.” Contemporary art and design shines at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam while you can enjoy classical music, ballet and opera at the stunning Royal Concertgebouw.

Join the locals and bike through the city to explore the diverse market scene, particularly the famous flea market stalls of the historic Waterlooplein Market, where you can discover unique vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories. For high-end boutiques and designer labels, the Museum Quarter is the place to be. Just behind Dam Square, De 9 Straatjes (the nine streets) features dozens of charming shops, eateries and local monuments, while Spiegelkwartier (mirror quarter) is the place for an afternoon of antiquing.

After a full day exploring, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam has alluring options for relaxation. As well as its decadent, multi-award winning Guerlain Spa, which offers specialized wellness treatments, the hotel can set you up with your own movie night (complete with gourmet milkshakes and snacks), a refreshing cocktail class or a restorative yoga experience in the on-site UNESCO Heritage gardens.

Group of friends are enjoying a meal in a restaurant.
Experience two Michelin-star dining at Spectrum at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.


Amsterdam’s culinary scene is quietly one of the best in Europe. Head to the remarkable Albert Cuyp Market — with 260 stalls — where Caribbean, African, Asian, South American and Middle Eastern influences are deliciously celebrated in an authentically Dutch gezellig (cozy) atmosphere. Local classics include salted fresh herring, bitterballen (croquettes) and, poffertjes (sweet mini pancakes topped with powdered sugar).

For fine dining with a quintessential Dutch flare, two-Michelin-starred Restaurant 212 is set in a canal house in the city center, and its dishes include blue lobster delicately poached in warm zolderspek (aged smokey bacon) jelly, vin jaune (yellow wine), lobster caramel and winter truffle. Flore, an intimate 11-table establishment, also has two Michelin stars and practices conscious fine dining with dairy-free ingredients sourced from local biodynamic farms and organic fishmongers, earning them a Michelin green star for gastronomy and sustainability. Noteworthy plates include Dutch quail served with seasonal vegetables and cuttlefish from the North Sea.

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, primely located along the Herengracht canal, has its own celebrated two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Spectrum. Internationally lauded chef Sidney Schutte creates invigorating, colorful dishes such as crispy duck tongue, blue lobster and foie gras made with first-class Dutch produce. The hotel also has an invitingly sophisticated afternoon tea at its iconic Peacock Alley, while craft cocktail bar Vault’s offerings include avant-garde concoctions and beloved classics.

From alluring art and fantastical feasts to captivating culture and memorable sights around every corner, Amsterdam is an adventure waiting to happen.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Spanning six 17th- and 18th-century canal palaces, our historic hotel faces Amsterdam's Herengracht canal. We’re in the UNESCO area of the city and less than two kilometers from the Museum Quarter, home to the Rijksmuseum. Enjoy our Guerlain Spa and fitness center, Personal Concierge services, and Two Michelin-starred Restaurant Spectrum.