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April 30 is Koninginnedag (Queen's Day); locals and out-of-towners crowd the streets to enjoy performances, parades, markets, and general merrymaking. The area around the Homomonument becomes a huge outdoor dance club.

The August Gay Pride Festival in Europe's gay-friendliest city is a big event. A crowd of 150,000 turns out to watch its highlight: The Boat Parade's display of 100 or so outrageously decorated boats cruising the canals. Other draws are street discos, open-air theater performances, a sports program, and a film festival.

In September, the Jordaan Festival showcases this old neighborhood peppered with small inexpensive restaurants, second-hand stores, and unusual boutiques and galleries.

The single most important event in the Netherlands is the flowering of the bulb fields each spring from March to mid-May. Two-thirds of all the cut flowers sold in the world come from the Netherlands. The best flower-viewing areas are between Haarlem and Leiden and between Haarlem and Den Helder.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.