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 200,000 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.
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