4 spectacular dance festivals in the Netherlands

4 spectacular dance festivals in the Netherlands

Are you a fan of dance? Do you love watching the impressive feats of the human body on stage with unbeatable flair, timing and technique? Well you're in luck, there are exciting dance festivals taking place all year, ranging from urban dance to contemporary dance and beyond.

Dancers unite

Dance festivals are exciting immersive experiences that allow you to get deep into the dance world through not just performances but, in many cases, workshops, lectures and talks by experts. Here are four celebrated dance festivals in the Netherlands:

Julidans (July)

Julidans, the international festival for contemporary dance in Amsterdam, is the perfect coming together of dancers and choreographers of the highest calibre, enticing audiences with phenomenal spectacles for two whole weeks! For the first half of July, there will be non-stop dance performances across Amsterdam, from theatres and concert halls to museums and parks.

The wildly popular dance festival Julidans takes place every July in Amsterdam, with dozens of cutting-edge performances that constantly explore and push boundaries into the finer points of contemporary dance and controversial subject matters. There are even many world premieres among the myriad of shows.


The Julidans programme is full of performances which often address social issues like refugees, victims of sexual violence, discrimination, and also often incorporate elements of traditional theatre such as mime. The relatability of the subject matter means that the public will, at times, recognise themselves in the weird yet relevant, beautiful yet disturbing, and alien yet familiar performances. 

One of the interesting elements of the festival outside the theatre is Julidans Extended: Off Venue. The programme can be visited as a bike tour, so you can see five performances in one afternoon. 

Summer Dance Forever (August)

The Summer Dance Forever festival is dedicated to the evolution of urban dance as an art form. Each year, it presents a new series of unique dance programmes meant to elevate dance culture in the Netherlands and Europe as a whole.

At the heart of the festival are a series of dance battles where crews and individuals take to the stage in a competition that is judged by a panel of experts. Relying on showmanship, flare and of course athletic ability, these dance battles are a thrilling glimpse into the evolution of urban dance, as the performers must creatively one-up each other and their competition. 

Along with the battles, the week is also highly educational, with a variety of workshops taking place, ranging from jazz-fusion and popping to hip-hop and dancehall. Supplementing this already complete programme are a series of master-classes that focus on the finer points of choreography, refining dancehall moves and what to break out in battle style scenarios!


Amsterdam Dance Event (October)

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the leading electronic music platform and the biggest club festival in the world. This yearly October event hosts over 450 music events, featuring over 2.200 artists across 120 venues in five days. The event’s sheer size, along with the continually impressive line-ups and unbeatable party atmosphere make the Amsterdam Dance Event a special experience like no other.

Festival Cement (March)

Festival Cement is the go-to festival for theatre and choreography. Nestled in various locations throughout the cosy city of Den Bosch ('s-Hertogenbosch), the various events offer a unique interplay between audience, artist and performer. The scope of the festival is overwhelmingly broad. It is an important programme for the next generation of young creatives in theatre and dance from the Netherlands, Belgium and beyond.

Festival Cement also acts as a meeting place for theatre directors, producers, playwrights, actors, dancers and choreographers. As well as performances, talks, debates and reflection sessions will be held. The festival hub is the sun lounge at the Verkadefabriek, where you can enjoy a drink or a tasty meal.

Plan your visit

Remember to book your tickets in advance when you plan your visit to one of these awesome dance festivals. Keep up-to-date on dance celebrations and other events and festivals by signing up for the IamExpat newsletter.

Photo credit: Julidans (photo 1) Summer Dance Forever (photo 2)

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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