Lifestyle & Culture

New for 2018: Dispatches’ list of the Netherlands’ best music festivals (updated)

Take it from us: When it comes to music festivals, no country parties like the Netherlands. Exhibit A: The Flying Dutch, which features DJs crisscrossing the Netherlands by helicopter to play concerts in three major cities on the same day.

Of course, Dispatches Europe covers a tonne of music festivals across Europe every year, including our new music festival guides, which we are debuting this year.

However, we can’t ignore our own country’s festival calendar. The Netherlands has an insane summer music schedule for its citizens, expats, and international visitors every year. Thus, we bring you our new list of the best music festivals in our Oranje home.

The festivals on this year’s list are those which will take place through the end of 2018; we’ll post a new list in December 2018 to cover the entirety of 2019.

And of course, if you know of a music festival we should know about, email us at:

[email protected]

[email protected]

Or hit us up on our Facebook page.


Amsterdam – Amsterdam Music Festival: The only other city in Europe that parties with the same scale and intensity of Berlin is Amsterdam. And Amsterdam Music Festival at Amsterdam Arena is proof of that, the biggest indoor festival in the world! (Well, that’s what the marketers claim.)

AMF is 20 and goes all night, or till 6 a.m. at least. This year, French superstar DJ David Guetta is the headliner.

Also on the bill so far are Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike from Brussels, KHSMR from California, Vini Vici from Tel Aviv and more to be announced.

Tickets start at 69 euros, and there are also concert/hotel packages.


The Hague – Crossing Border 2018: This is one of the rare festivals combining music and literature. Each year, Crossing Border Festival focuses on new pop music acts and literature, and is the largest combined music and literature festivals in Europe.

This year’s event adds a couple of days, running from 29 October to 4 November. There are too many performers, poets, novelists and big thinkers to list, Crossing Border is that huge!

Musical guests include:

• Moses Boyd, a progressive jazz drummer and producer at the forefront of the British Jazz renaissance.

• St. Paul and the Broken Bones from Alabama in the United States. They’re a soul/roots band that has opened for the Rolling Stones.

• Cuban Orquesta Akokán comes straight from Havana. Akokán is from the Yoruba language in Africa and means ‘from the heart’ or ‘soul’.

• Seward, a band that plays “highly flammable anarchist avant-folk”.

You can see the full performance lineup here.

Tickets to Crossing Borders start at 22.50 per day. There are still early bird full passes for 50 euros.

Utrecht – Le Guess Who?: Entering its 12th year in 2018, Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? festival turns the entire city into a full celebration “of global sounds and musical boundary-crossing” over four days and 150+ performances in venues as varied as churches, art galleries and warehouses.

They just announced the lineup for the 2018 edition, scheduled for 8 through 11 November, and you can buy your full festival pass now for €117.50.


Amsterdam – Valhalla: Party with the gods at Valhalla on 22 December.

We had to go to Facebook and the ticketing pages to get any info on this year’s event, which is one of the biggest in Amsterdam. (That alone speaks volumes.) We can tell you there’s already a waiting list.

While we can’t tell you is who’s on the bill for 2018, if it’s anything like previous years, Valhalla 2018 will be more than just another EDM concert, with circus acts, crazy stage sets and all flavors of insanity!

And the acts are usually pretty hot, too. Last year, it was Kölsch, Hot Since ’82 and a bunch of Dutch DJs. This year, we can expect all that and more, but as of late September, there’s still no real information on the website.

Tickets are 44 euros and you can get yours here.

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Lifestyle journalist. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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