If you’re looking to visit the Netherlands outside of the peak season, then a trip to Amsterdam in March might be just the ticket. Offering all of the gems of the Dutch capital without quite so many crowds and with slightly better weather conditions than the preceding winter months, March is a fantastic time to see the city at one of its most authentic times.
Visiting Amsterdam in March
Average Temperature: 36 - 46°F • Average Rainfall: 9 days/mth • Average Sunshine: 4 hours/day
Seeing in the spring season, March is about as transitional a month as you can get in Amsterdam. While the trends of winter are still largely present – cold weather, high rainfall and short days – signs of the coming change are ever present. Running parallel to the changes in weather is the larger-scale changes in tourism rates, with March very much in the trough of off-season travel.
Throughout this period, tourism rates will still very much be experiencing a lull. While Amsterdam is never truly empty, this is among one of the quietest times to visit the city. There’ll still be enough visitors to give the Dutch capital a buzz, but you’ll be able to benefit from smaller queues for top attractions and low-season accommodation rates and airfare.
While the city is clearly beginning to warm up, it’s still very much worth wrapping up for Amsterdam in March. At the same time, an umbrella and some waterproofs will likely also go a long way, as you can expect at least one day of rain per week. On the literal bright side, you can also look forward to more sunshine on average, allowing for better photo opportunities and better conditions to explore the city’s iconic streets.
Things to Do in March
A trip to Amsterdam in March is likely to be a cold and often wet one. As such, you may find yourself drawn more toward exploring the city’s inner world of history and culture, leaving its emblematic streets and canals for a warmer day.
For your fill of Dutch history, make your way to the Amsterdam Museum, where you’ll be able to explore a vast collection of art and historical artifacts chronicling the city’s history from medieval times to present. Follow that up with a visit to the Maritime Museum to discover the Netherlands’ impressive history of nautical endeavors and the part it played in the Age of Exploration.
Romanticized somewhat by its throughput of renowned artists, Amsterdam is also home to a wealth of art galleries. At the forefront is of course the Rijksmuseum, home to the Netherlands’ largest collection of artworks and historical artifacts. Following close behind is the Van Gogh Museum, where you can explore the biggest public collection of the famous Dutch painter’s works.
If there’s anything you’re likely to notice on your trip to the Netherlands, it’s the huge prominence of bicycles. With more bikes than people, one of the best ways to see Amsterdam is on your own pair of wheels. Those interested in a more active approach to their visit will find a plethora of bike rental stores scattered throughout the city, typically offering day rates in the region of €10/day.
With weather on a general upcurve from this point onward, you might find March a perfect time to take a canal boat tour to see the city from a brand new perspective. These tours are likely to be quieter now than around peak-season, so if you’re willing to brave the likely chill, you’ll be rewarded with some unique views of the Dutch capital along with expert insights into the surrounding history.
Events in March
Over the course of roughly a week in March, Amsterdam hosts the world’s largest and most diverse dance-related film festival in the world. Cinedans serves as a celebration of the medium of dance, showcasing developments in the dance world and looking toward the future of such artistic expression.
The festival is spread across an impressive program of feature-length dance film screenings, short films and documentaries, expert lectures, debates and workshops for those looking to explore the world of dance theatre. Hosted within the EYE Film Museum, the festival also offers various interactive installations throughout the week.
Kaboom Animation Festival
Held in late March, the Kaboom Animation Festival is the amalgamation of two similar festivals, the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival and the Holland Animation Film Festival. For roughly a week, cinemas in Amsterdam and Utrecht become the home of the many unique animated feature films and shorts showcased by the festival.
The event serves to bring together fans and industry professionals to share in their passion for the animated arts and showcase the works of established and upcoming animators. Celebrating the Dutch animation industry in particular, the festival encourages animators to submit their work to be judged by experts for the chance to win one of a plethora of prestigious awards covering various genres, mediums and themes.
The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF)
Held in Maastricht, just a couple hours’ train ride from Amsterdam, TEFAF serves as one of Europe’s biggest art fairs and is widely considered to be the premier hub for fine art, antiques and design. The event is a platform from which to gather an international community of collectors, dealers and vendors from all areas of the art world.
Featuring over 280 prestigious dealers from around the world, the exhibition focuses largely on the classics and traditional Old Master paintings and antiques. However, the event also maintains a policy of diversity and modernity, showcasing contemporary artworks, photography exhibits and jewelry alongside many of its classic pieces.
Taking place over roughly one week, the event also offers a diverse cultural program which serves to provide insights into key aspects of the industry across various disciplines and genres. Visitors are welcome to attend lectures by industry professionals and experts and engage in debates into ongoing issues throughout the art world.