10 Things to do in Autumn

by Tanja

In October and November, the leaves fall and Amsterdam changes colors. The brightness of summer makes way for the warm and cozy reds and browns. A beautiful season to visit Amsterdam. Here is a list of 10 things you can do in Amsterdam in autumn.

1. Drink Herfstbok

Things to do in the autumn in Amsterdam
Amstel Bock, a bock beer from Amsterdam brewer Amstel is only available in autumn.

Bokbier, Bock or Bock Beer is a ‘seasonal beer’ from The Netherlands. With its ruby red color and caramel, light sweet and warm flavor, this Dutch beer fits the Amsterdam autumn like a glove. 

Available only from October until February, bokbier is definitely one to try when you visit Amsterdam in autumn. Named Herfstbok (Autumn bock) or just Bokbier, this lager is produced by many small and large brewers, but Amstel Bokbier is generally considered one of the best.

Real bokbier lovers visit the PINT Bokbierfestival (every year in October) at the Amsterdam Beurs van Berlage. More Events in Amsterdam in 2019.

2. Dance the night away at ADE

The Amsterdam Dance Event is bigger than ever. It takes place every year in October.

Over 1700 artists will perform during 5 days of dance music bliss. Party the night away with the finest tunes of the best DJ’s in the world. Enjoy the new day program which features special events at rooftop terraces, clothing shops and cinemas… fun for everyone! Many clubs and tickets have already started their ticket sales!

ADE Amsterdam
Amsterdam Dance Event is in autumn in Amsterdam. Photo by Joris Raaijman.

3. See a documentary at the IDFA

Raining and windy? Go see a film. In November there is the renowned  International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Cinemas all over the city screen the best documentaries from all over the world. Check on IDFA when ticket sale is available.

4. Swim nude at Zuiderbad

Unfortunately, the days of outdoor swimming have gone, so we must hop back into the indoor swimming pool for some wet action. Certainly, the classic Zuiderbad is a swimming pool to mention. The building was constructed in 1897 and is now a national monument. Just the interior alone is worth a visit.

Didn’t bring your swimming gear on your holiday to Amsterdam? Don’t worry, every Sunday from 16.30 till 17.30 you’re allowed to swim in the nude! Zuiderbad is located behind the Rijksmuseum.

The Zuiderbad lies next door to the Rijksmuseum.

5. Stroll around Vondelpark

Vondelpark looks absolutely spectacular in autumn. Stroll around the Vondelpark, sit down on a bench, feed the ducks, have a cup of hot chocolate at once of the cafés. A must-do on the list of things to do in autumn Amsterdam.

6. Visit the Amsterdam museum of modern art Stedelijk

The Stedelijk, Amsterdam’s museum for modern art, has had a spectacular reputation ever since it opened for the first time some 70 years ago. Check out the Amsterdam exhibitions calendar.

The museum had the boldness to purchase and put up controversial works of artists such as Paul Cezanne, Piet Mondriaan and Pablo Picasso. Just these works alone will make a visit to the Stedelijk museum worthwhile.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, left the historical building, (A.W. Weissman, 1895). Right the ‘bathtub’ designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. Photo: John Lewis Marshall.

7. Eat an oliebol

Dutch oliebol street stand
Dutch oliebollenkraam at Kinkerstraat, Amsterdam.

The Spanish have churros, the Belgians have their waffles, the Dutch have oliebol. The oliebol, also known as Dutch Doughnut is basically a big ball of dough with raisins, deep-fried in hot oil.

Oliebollen are sold in the streets of Amsterdam at mobile stalls known as oliebollenkraam at stations and squares. The Dutch oliebol is traditionally eaten at New Year’s Eve, but they are available from autumn in Amsterdam.

8. Go see upcoming singer-songwriters

There are many bars where singer-songwriters hop on on the stage to show their skills and bring some lively atmosphere in the Amsterdam autumn. The Amsterdam Songwriters Circle organises special nights in different venues in Amsterdam. Check out their Facebook page for the latest events.

9. Celebrate St. Nicolas

Sunday 17 November is a spectacular day for kids in the Netherlands. This is the day, the old bearded guy St. Nicolas, the Dutch (and original!) version of Santa Claus arrives in the country. The holy man and his black helpers ‘Zwarte Piet’ makes his way to the port of Amsterdam from Spain on his large vessel, bringing presents and candy for children.

10. Enjoy a beer at Rooie Nelis

Rooie Nelis is an Amsterdam bar with monumental status. The brown bar is located in the heart of the Jordaan, a former workers area of Amsterdam, now gentrified.

Ever since Rooie Nelis opened in 1937, the bar has been frequented by famous Amsterdam folk singers. Singing, drinking and fighting was the favourite activity of the brown collar customers.

The café’s interior is typical of the renowned style of its entourage: kitsch, tacky and loud. Its remarkable present owners are Blonde Sien and Black Gerrit, both over 80 years old, but still tapping those beers like they were still in their 20’s. Blonde Sien has been serving beers at the café since she was 10 years old.

Have a beer in this typical Dutch brown café and don’t be surprised when Sien or Gerrit or one of the customers picks up a microphone…

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1 comment

Elizabeth Williams October 19, 2012 - 08:19

I agree one of the 10 things to do in autumn is to swim in Zuederbad just to get away with the autumn fever.