Newsflash - Flying Pig Downtown wins Hoscar!
Not matter what the time of year, Amsterdam is a city that always knows how to celebrate. To prove that here we have the best annual events in Amsterdam – a collection of what there is to do and be done every month of the year. Some events are cultural, others left of centre, some are naughty and some are nice, but all are fun.
January may have come and gone, but the Dutch sure do know how to kick their New Year's hangover. Thousands of Dutch, most still filled with liquor, spend their New Year's Day running full pelt into the North Sea for a swim in bright orange beanies. Crazy? Yes. Fabulous spectator sport? Absolutely.
While February might seem a little chilly for outdoor events, if you head over to the Nieuwmarkt, you'll find some festival fire. Make your way down past the brown cafes and avoid the lure of the Red Light District and you'll find the area popping with parades and street celebrations, firecrackers and festivities - celebrating the year of the Golden Rabbit.
March is really when the sun begins to shine in Holland, and the masses head to Amsterdam for tulip time. Open from March to May each year, the Keukenhof tulip gardens are one of those things you might think is better suited to grandmas but it's actually quite impressive no matter what your age. Here, you can roll all your clichéd Dutch experiences into one - visiting a windmill, strolling through tulip fields, riding bikes, tasting cheese and of course, having your picture taken sitting in a giant clog.
Queen's day, or Koninginnedag is held at the end of April and it's one of the biggest events in the Netherlands. Everyone dresses in bright orange, drinks like a fish and pays tribute to the Queen by conducting the world's biggest neighbourhood garage sale - a weird way to salute the royals, but there are normally great street parties and DJs playing in the big squares around town, and the canals are filled with people partying on boats.
The weather in Holland begins to improve in May and the crowds are still at a minimum, making it a great time to visit. Two of the biggest events in the city are Remembrance Day, which commemorates those who lost their lives during war, and Liberation Day - a celebration of freedom. And what better way to celebrate freedom than with a massive (and free) dance party? The biggest one is held at the Museumplein, but there are smaller festivals all across the city.
As summertime officially rolls in, so does the start of festival season as everyone returns to the outdoors. The Amsterdam Roots Jazz Festival is held over three days in June, while the North Sea Jazz Festival attracts the big names in July. In August, the more contemporary festivals kick in, with Loveland , Lowlands and Dance Valley , one of the Netherlands biggest festivals attracting over 50,000 people. All are held a little out of town but are easily accessible by train from Amsterdam's Central Station.
With the summer months, there are also a lot of outdoor events. The Vondelpark Open Air theatre starts its free summer program of music, theatre and dance in June, while Sunsets Vondelpark, an open-air cinema, starts around mid-July. Seize the Night runs free indie film nights in the north of the city and has a great dance party afterwards in August. August is also the month for Gay Pride , and includes an amazing canal parade where a flotilla of decorated boats head down the canals in full drag to celebrate diversity and gay rights.
If you missed the Keukenhof flower gardens then don't despair - the annual flower parade, held in September, is just as stunning. A kilometre-long flotilla of boats covered in flowers sets out from Aalsmeer and travels to Amsterdam. If however you're feeling more nocturnal in September, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival runs for ten days, running a gamut of spectacular and bizarre acts.
When things get chilly and the weather turns in October, punters head inside to get their grove on at the Amsterdam Dance Event . Held annually, over 40 clubs host huge dance nights with big name artists spinning the decks. However it's not just about the beats but also the businesses behind them. During the day seminars, conferences and workshops are held for those in the scene.
November is the month for the Cannabis Cup . Run by High Times magazine, the cup is in its 24th year and runs over three days from the 20th to the 23rd, with a massive party to kick things off on the 19th. Judging passes allow you to vote on the best weed strain and can be purchased at an early-bird price, however tickets jump in price if you leave it to the last minute to secure your smoking rights.
As December rolls round and the snow starts to fall, you'll find people snuggled up inside coffee shops to stay warm. The city puts up Christmas trees in the streets for locals to decorate, ice skating season kicks off, and what would winter in Amsterdam be without a flotilla of boats covered in Christmas lights touring the canals?
During New Year's Eve in Amsterdam the city explodes with fireworks and revellers, who flock to the city's plazas, and bars to see in the New Year, with the bright bursts of light shimmering over the canals. And what better way is there to end the year than in a city as wicked as Amsterdam?
- Shaney Hudson
Amsterdam's local scene...brought to you by the Pig staff!
As much as we’d like to take you all by the hand to show you the coolest places that we always go to, we simply can't take all of you there on the front bars of our bikes!
Instead we’ve compiled all our staff's favourite places in Amsterdam and put them on a map for you, arranged by category and staff member.
This way you know which Piggy to look out for in that club or coffee shop!
Check them out on our staff favourites or just click on the map.
From the hostel to the edge of the circles is 1 km (a 12 minute walk). Don't forget, Amsterdam is a super compact city, you can walk or cycle everywhere easily.
New Flying Pig on the horizon?
What if … there was another Flying Pig somewhere in the world, where might it be? Where would YOU set up shop? We are not sure yet but you are the guys on the road and you know best, so let us know where and why on our Facebook page.
Add your suggestion here on Facebook, we’ll pick out the best location and reason, and give that person a free stay at a Flying Pig of their choice.
Libor would like to stay at the Flying Pig beach hostel in the tulip room so we're going to make that happen. Looking forward to your visit Libor!
Album Review by Kirk
Right now I'm enjoying Two Door Cinema Clubs' aptly named album, Tourist History. This album is rife with catchy melodies, nice electronic samples and funky Indie bass lines. I like the upbeat vibe that it creates in the bar, particularly with tracks What You Know and Something Good Can Work. If you like The Postal Service, The Maccabees or The Editors, this is a must listen!
Click on the tracklisting to listen (and watch) the tracks on youtube.
1."Cigarettes In the Theatre"
2. "Come Back Home"
3. "Undercover Martyn"
4. "Do You Want It All?"
5. "This Is the Life"
6. "Something Good Can Work"
7. "I Can Talk"
8. "What You Know"
9. "Eat That Up, It's Good for You" 3:45
10. "You're Not Stubborn"
Utrecht born artist Bong Ra's album 'I am the god of Hellfire' is a mix of junglist MC'ing, breakbeat and Drum and Bass. This album is great for the later parts of the night, when people want to dance in the bar with tracks such as The Claw and Chump Chump. If Venetian Snares, The Prodigy or Pendulum are your thing, I highly recommend getting this album.
Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine a domain of lush, vibrant, colours merging together, weaving in and out of the landscape. No, you're not on truffles - you're at the Keukenhof, the most renowned Tulip garden in the world. With about 4.5 million tulips in 100 different varieties, it is no wonder that the Keukenhof has won prizes for being one of Europe's most valued attractions.
This year’s theme is Germany: Land of Poets and Philosophers, I'm not sure what this means, but there is a mosaic of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate formed from over 100,000 bulbs. The Keukenhof is a unique experience, only open from March to May, nevertheless it is one of the most celebrated events in the Netherlands. On April 16, 2011 a parade of floats intricately decorated with flowers of the season makes its way from Noordwijk to Haarlem, passing the Keukenhof garden around the afternoon.
The garden itself is located in Lisse, a small bus ride away from the Flying Pig Beach Hostel. If you’re the adventurous type, or just need a break and some exercise away from the smoking rooms at the Uptown and Downtown Flying Pigs, you can rent a bicycle and ride through the surrounding Tulip fields, before making your way to the Keukenhof.
Once there you can also take a cruise in the whisper boats, so called because of their electric engines and the tranquil experience they offer - exploring the surrounding Tulip fields from the canals and waterways. All said and done, a visit to the Flying Pig Beach Hostel is the perfect way to relax and explore the surrounding countryside during its most colorful season.
During this event The Flying Pig has an attractive special going at The Flying Pig Beach Hostel.
You might already know that the Flying Pig Backpacker hostels are proud members of EFH – Europe’s Famous Hostels.
This association recognises the best hostels on the European travel circuit. If you book a bed in any of these hostels, you’re guaranteed a memorable stay on a cheap and reasonable budget! Every single hostel in EFH is a local treasure – giving you guys a chance to meet the people and get a real taste of local life. All the hostels have to adhere to the highest levels of safety and quality, while also preserving a local flair.
The hostels are located in Amsterdam, Bad Gastein, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Cardiff, Corfu, Dublin, Edinburgh, Interlaken, Lisbon, Loch Ness, London, Munich, Madrid, Nice, Prague, Riga, Rotterdam, Rome, Salzburg, Valencia, Vienna and in the future many more hostels will join.
Check out the best bits of Europe's Famous Hostels with one click!
Each hostel has created a new video showcasing the best bits of their cities – just so that you guys can see where you’re heading to! All you have to do is head to www.famoushostels.com/hostel-videos
February Carnivals from Europe’s Famous Hostels
Nice: One of the world’s largest and oldest carnivals, dating all the way back to 1294, this festival sees the Cote d’Azur rouse itself from its winter slumber in mind-boggling fashion. Featuring over a thousand dancers and musicians, parades going on through day and night, and the famed ‘Battle of Flowers’, this is the French Riviera at its most extravagant. This year’s theme is ‘The King of the Mediterranean’ evoking the region’s history and geography, while also aiming to draw attention to conservation efforts in the area. From 18 Feb to 8 Mar
Rome: The Romans were famous for their bacchanalian efforts over two thousand years ago, so it’s no surprise that even now thousands of locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate carnival in the historic city. Starting on the Via del Corso, a road dating back to the times of emperors and gladiators, the parades make their way through the ancient streets, spreading cheer along the way. Febuary 6-16
Binche: This small town a train ride away from Bruges has been enthralling visitors with its carnival for many years, and has grown in stature to the extent that UNESCO recognized it in 2003 as a masterpiece of oral history. The reason it is so well regarded is down in no small part to its strangeness. To give it its full name, it is The Carnival of the Gilles of Binche, and for 400 years these clowns with white masks and green glasses have led the city in its festivities. For the six weeks leading up to the festival, there are precarnivale activities designed to prepare the inhabitants for the party. At last, the carnival begins with Fat Tuesday, in which the Gilles stay up until 4am to eat oysters and drink champagne in preparation for a huge food fight. After that, chaos reigns for three days. Truly an unique event and one you’ll never forget. March 6-8
Munich: To mark the run-up to Lent, Munich residents hold fancy dress balls and parades as a final burst of indulgence before the Easter purge. During Fasching, as they call it, the staple food is doughnuts, sold on every street corner, tempting you with wafts of sugar and fat, handy at soaking up vast quantities of beer. Mar 6-8
Vienna: During the late winter and early spring, blue-blooded members of high society congregate in Vienna to take part in the Glorious Ball Season, glitzy occasions of glamour and sophistication. There are a huge number of balls, but perhaps the most renowned is the Opera Ball, deemed the epitome of ball culture and a top-calibre social event drawing celebrities and venerable persons from around the world. Don’t worry if your invitation has got lost in the post, there are hundreds of balls to choose from.
Paris: Since its reinvention in 1997, Paris carnival has grown into a tradition that unites city residents from all walks of life, as a parade winds its way through the centre streets to the Hotel de Ville. Leading the procession is a cow, evoking the Promenade du Boeuf-Gras, the traditional name for the festival. March 6
Barcelona/Sitges: The Catalonia capital prides itself on its family-friendly carnival, with an emphasis on dressing up and community, with the odd bit of gluttony for good measure, starting on Dijous Gras (literally ‘Greasy Thursday’ in Catalan), and proceeding in like fashion until Ash Wednesday, with ‘The Funeral of the Sardine’. For those who like their Carnival a little more debauched and their indulgences slightly stronger, Sitges is just 15km away. This gay and lesbian stronghold relishes carnival, the mindset being the more eccentric the better, demonstrating precisely why it’s known as the ‘playground of Barcelona’. March 3-8
Lisbon: Overshadowed now by its offspring in Rio, Lisbon’s carnival is still a major event on the Iberian coast. Focused around the Parque Nações, the carnival-goers revel in a mix of colour and music and traditional costumes, culminating in the entrudo. 12-13 Feb
Athens/ Corfu: For three weeks in the lead up to Lent, Greeks like to celebrate what they call Apokries (a portmanteau of the Greek for “goodbye meat”), a time of revelry and masquerade. The streets are filled with all sorts of outfits, from the traditional to the bawdy, in an annual event that they claim dates back to the time of Dionysus. At the end of Apokries, grand parades are held around the country, with two of the best being in Athens and Corfu .
Find out about the special deals on offer across Europe from our friends on the hostel scene. They’re in pounds and Euros, so check it out:
Read more @ Flying Pig Hostels Amsterdam
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