Annual Events

Rotterdam likes a good party, so it’s no surprise there are a multitude of lively festivals from which to choose. Here is a sampling of the variety of festivals that take place annually in Rotterdam.

  • International Film Festival Rotterdam (January/February) is popular Rotterdam festival. Here, international films are viewed, judged and awarded. Some films make their premieres at the film festival.
  • Rotterdam Museum Night (March) is a special event during which all of the Rotterdam museums are open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. For a small fee, you can visit all the museums in one night, enjoying the wide variety of artwork while meeting Rotterdam locals. This is a cultural and social event, all rolled into one.
  • Rotterdam Marathon (April) transforms the city into a fast track, which attracts many international competitors as well as hundreds of thousands of spectators.
  • North Sea Jazz Festival (July) is the world’s largest indoor jazz festival and 70,000 jazz lovers visit this event every year, coming in from all across the globe.
  • Bavaria City Racing (August) is one of the city’s most spectacular events: the Formula 1 street race through the heart of Rotterdam.
  • World Harbour Days (September) offers visitors a chance to discover the port of Rotterdam and marvel at the spectacular demonstrations and the massive fireworks display at the end.
  • Pleinbioscoop (August) is an outdoor cinema in the Museumpark. You can rent a seat at the festival area or bring your own seat/sofa to enjoy the movies under the (hopefully) clear sky.
  • Wereld van Witte de With (World of Witte de WIth)(September) is an annual event in the popular Witte de WIth area where galleries and bars collaborate for an artistic night with live music and an outgoing atmosphere.
  • Gergiev Festival (September) is a collaboration of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the famous choir master Gergiev in the beautifull Veerhaven. On a floating stage classical music is performed for a small audience and everybody that has found a place in the marina.
  • Kingsday (April) is the day where the entire nation celebrates the monarchy. Rotterdam is no exception and on a variety of locations you can find fairs, festivals, freemarkets and people dressed in orange.
  • Bevrijdingsfestival (May) is the day where the entire nation celebrates the independence that was regained after WWII. In the the Euromastpark there is a festival area with live music and no entrance fee. 
  • Rotterdam Unlimited Festival (June) is a fusion of the former Dunya festival and Zomercarnaval in a six-day multicultural festival with poetry, live music and the famous street carnival. The street parade with South-American allure is the highlight of the festival. For budget travellers this is a great festival, as there is no entrance fee.
  • Buma Beats Rotterdam (november) is the largest hiphop/urban festival in the Netherlands. You can expect large performances at many venues around the city.