May 5th is Liberation Day and every year on this day there are 14 festivals throughout the Netherlands. In Amsterdam this year, the festival was held in Westerpark.
Westerpark (Cultuurpark Westergasgabriek) is a hub for activities in Amsterdam. There is tons of green area to picnic, a kids play area, spots for the dogs to walk off-leash, a theater, a cinema, an exhibition space and a few restaurants as well. There is pretty much always something going on and a lot of the time it's something that the whole family can enjoy. This festival was one such example of how family friendly Amsterdam really is and the second time we had been to a festival here. Check out our (pre baby) experience at Rollende Keukens here.
This year's festival agenda was pretty packed. The festival started at 11:00 and ran until 23:00. We decided to go early and this was a wise decision. By going early it was a much more relaxed atmosphere which was perfect for having L along. There were tons of families with strollers and the lines to get the munt chips (which is how you pay for everything) and to buy food weren't yet very long.
Protip: If you're going to a festival with kids and want to avoid the crowds, go early!
Our first stop was lunch at Het Ketelhuis. Perfect weather to sit outside and enjoy a bite to eat. Lee had the hamburger and I had a lamb sandwich with tziki sauce and grilled peppers. Yum!
Protip: Besides delicious food, here at Het Ketelhuis you can experience Dutch & International art house movies. And so that you're aware, normally in the Netherlands non-childrens movies are shown in their native language with Dutch subtitles.
As far as food goes, there were food trucks (and food bicycles) spread throughout the festival. Some of the other choices included bbq, fries (of course!!!), sate, sushi, and pasta (to name a few.) And if none of those sound good, there was plenty of green space to spread out with your own picnic supplies. One of the new things that we tried was a cocktail popsicle from ICEMXX. Why had I never tried one of these before?!? This idea is ingenious.
Besides the food, there were also stalls set up for shopping. All sorts of neat handmade clothing and other items!
As for entertainment, there were different stages set up with djs and other performers including a stage from the North Sea Jazz Club. And in typical Dutch fashion, there was a karaoke stage. I don't know what the obsession with karaoke is, but I love it!
By the time we left in the early afternoon, quite a bit of the green space was claimed and the age of the crowd was shifting from families with kids to the after work adult crowd.
So how was our experience? It was a great time! This festival didn't disappoint. Full of great food and entertainment, once again Amsterdam proves just how awesome it is.