8 drink-related festivals to kick off spring in the Netherlands

8 drink-related festivals to kick off spring in the Netherlands

It seems as though they've thought of every type of festival in the Netherlands: from open-air music festivals to food truck festivals, and from vegan festivals to urban terrace festivals. In short, in terms of Dutch events and festivals, there’s something for everyone. But if we narrow it down even further, for example, to festivals that focus on particular drinks, then it gets very interesting indeed.

Festivals dedicated to diverse drinks in the Netherlands

Here are some exciting festivals happening this spring, whether you’re a coffee fanatic or a wine connoisseur, a tea nerd or a beer guzzler.

1. Amsterdam Coffee Festival

March 2-3 at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

If you can’t live without coffee, then Amsterdam Coffee Festival is a fitting event for broadening your coffee-loving horizons and gaining novel perspectives on the bean juice. The event is well-rounded, complete with food-pairing advice, a coffee mixologist competition, a live latte art extravaganza and, of course, coffee-tasting sessions. We all know coffee tastes great with chocolate, but there are more great combinations than the classic old favourites. Get your tickets and taste it for yourself.

2. The Spirit of Amsterdam

March 16-19 at Zuiderkerkhof, Amsterdam

If you’re a whisky fiend, then The Spirit of Amsterdam is the place to be, where over 500 different types of whisky by renowned international importers and distilleries are showcased and ready to be tasted and admired. Irish, Scottish, American, you name it.

This festival seamlessly connects one of the world's favourite spirits with related stories, music and food, and features whisky in all its forms and interpretations. This is why the name of the festival, The Spirit of Amsterdam, is perfectly apt. If you're Irish or an Ireland-lover, perhaps this is a nice way to spend St. Patrick's Day (March 17), which occurs smack bang in the middle of the festival.

3. Amsterdam Wine Festival

March 22-24 at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

Grape harvesting time is a call for celebration and that’s why you should get yourself down to Amsterdam Wine Festival at Westergasfabriek. In the southern hemisphere, in countries like Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, the grapes have been successfully harvested and there will be over 300 wines present from these wine-producing countries for your enjoyment.

Visitors can taste the varied wine cultures whilst chefs and restaurants serve you quality food to complement your wine. You can also get involved by entering a fun wine quiz, as well as attending masterclasses and workshops.

4. Dutch Gin Festival

March 23-June 29 in various Dutch cities

The ever-popular Dutch Gin Festival returns in 2019 with the biggest edition so far. The event now takes place in five Dutch cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and Eindhoven, so you can find gin rarities in a city near you. Offerings are not confined only to the classic gin and tonic but explore 120 types of gin, 13 types of Dutch jenever and 12 types of vermouth.

Oh, and did we mention that there are 14 different kinds of tonic? So it's also a taste bud safari for those who don't drink alcohol.

Speakers give presentations about their roles and experiences in the exciting ins and outs of the gin industry, from distilling to packaging and from distribution to artful mixing. The list of participating distilleries is utterly first class and the gin tasting sessions are sure to blow your mind.

5. Groningen Beer Festival

April 3-6 at Martinikerk, Groningen

Beer devotees can enjoy international and Dutch beers at the spectacular Martinikerk during the Groningen Beer Festival. The festival offers not only a buzzing event for trying out quality beers with friends or colleagues, but also goes in depth to explore the finer points of beer.

A Trappist beer masterclass, a beer dinner, exclusive beer tours throughout the venue, a VIP masterclass and beer cruise in the historical city of Groningen and masterclasses on barrel-aged beer and canned beer are some of the things that make this festival stand out.

6. FesTEAval

April 14 in DeFabriek, Utrecht

Formerly known as the Dutch Tea Festival, FesTEAval challenges the common notion of tea as simply a hot beverage to give you a caffeine kick or to warm you up on a chilly spring night. This festival opens up the countless ways in which you can enjoy tea: think matcha, kombucha, oolong, pu'erh, yerba mate, green tea ice-cream, iced tea, bubble tea, tea with milk, tea with lemon and so much more.

“World of Tea” workshops bring you on a virtual journey to Asia and beyond, and there are even yoga and fitness workshops and a sports therapy demonstration.

7. Dutch Craft Beer Festival

May 11 in Metropool, Enschede

Organised by the renowned brewpub, Stanislaus Brewskovitch, the Dutch Craft Beer Festival is sure to attract beer hounds from far and wide. Based in Enschede in the east of the Netherlands, Dutch Craft Beer Festival prides itself on speciality beers, delicious food, a cosy, friendly atmosphere and epic bands.

The venue, Metropool, is renowned for its fantastic music events, and therefore, for the fifth year of this one-of-a-kind festival, there will be a truly impressive line-up of amazing bands to entertain visitors as they enjoy their beers, keeping the festive vibes going all day long.

8. Dutch Beer Week

May 16-26 all over the Netherlands

Two main features make up the fabulous Dutch Beer Week: the Dutch Beer Tasting Festival in The Hague and Dutch Brewery Days at breweries all over the Netherlands. At the Dutch Beer Tasting Festival, on May 16, 17 and 19 in The Hague's magnificent Grote Kerk, there will be over 250 beers to try out, including alcohol-free beer.

Then, on May 24-26, Dutch Brewery Days inhabits breweries throughout the country, where many legendary establishments will give presentations, brewing demonstrations and, of course, beer tasting. Find a participating brewery near you and enjoy this exciting facet of Dutch culture! Diehard beer enthusiasts will be in heaven.

Find your new favourite drink

There’s nothing like sipping a few beverages with good friends or even chilling out after work at a drinks festival to get to know your colleagues. If you’re feeling open-minded, you may even find your new favourite drink.

Enjoy your drinks sensibly. We're not just talking about alcohol: it is possible to go overboard on the tea and coffee, too!

What is your favourite drink? Let us know in the comments below.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

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

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