Free Festivals in Rotterdam this Summer

With the perfect ingredients of a super-hot summer and an award winning festival city, now is the perfect time to check out the amazing selection of free festivals in Rotterdam this summer! With a fantastic line-up of music festivals, carnival and specialist events taking place around the city, there’s something for everyone! Get your groove on and get ready for one hot crazy summer!

Metropolis Music Festival

8th July 2018
Every year Metropolis Music Festival is the place to spot up and coming talent as new bands have the chance to grab their big break, and this is the 30th year! The Festival takes place 8th July at Zuiderpark with an outdoor stage promoting new Dutch bands and artists playing live. There’s always an interesting  selection of different music genres and talent, and a great atmosphere as it’s free and outdoors. What’s not to love?? Find out more about Metropolis Music Festival here

The Travelling Theatre Parade

27th June- 8th July
With an awesome 80 different performances the The Parade arrives at the Museumpark for the first week of July. There is a small fee (7.50 Euros) for the performance areas but plenty of free live music takes place around. The Parade aims to provide experiences in all things theatrical, from dance and mime to music and dance. There are family friendly workshops and also performances in different languages so everyone can take part, it also travels to other locations in the Netherlands afterwards if you miss it in Rotterdam. Grab something to eat at one of the BBQs and check out the free music at Hotel Vilé and Café Correct if you want the experience for free! Find out more about it here

International Architecture Biennale

1st June  -8th July
Rotterdam is famous for its modern architecture and each year celebrates this characteristic element of the city with this festival. For anyone who is interested in architecture this is a don’t miss event and the 8th edition of the International Architecture Biennale which runs from June 1st to 8th July. This year the festival celebrates two cities in two countries as Rotterdam and Brussels are twinned. This year’s theme is ‘The Missing Link’ and explores the resilience of the city and future sustainability as we look to address climate change and population. The main exhibition is 7.50 Euros to enter but there are also free events and workshops to attend.

North Sea Jazz Festival & North Sea Round Town 2018

23rd June-15th July
Rotterdam is the best place to be in July for all jazz, blues and soul fans! North Sea Jazz Festival is well known to jazz lovers and takes places this year from 13th-15th July, but it also has a free fringe festival; North Sea Round Town from June 23rd to July 15th. Expanding to include funk and hip hop along with the more traditional jazzy beats, this festival sees plenty of gigs around town to enjoy with lots of different venues taking part – some of them a little unexpected! There are some unusual places joining in the funky fun with pop-up performances across the city for free! With so many different performers taking place and lots of live music, don’t miss out on catching some of the shows. Check out the programme here

For North Sea Jazz Festival 13th-15th July you can buy tickets online here

Free Live Music weekly at Room

All summer long we will celebrating the season with our weekly live music and open mic nights – at the most international venue in the city! With a great atmosphere and happy-hour specials, Room Rotterdam is kicking off the summer parties al summer long. Open Mic Nights are the last Friday of the month from 9pm, for free! For the music schedule for live acts check the Facebook events here

Eendracht Festival

19th July
This creative festival is a celebration of fun and expression with plenty of music, live acts, art performances, poetry recitals and a programme full of surprises. There's also a pre-party to warm up on 14th July so you can get your glitter ready! The festival is free of charge and taking place for one day only so don't miss out!
Check out what to expect for this year’s celebration here

Rotterdam Summer Carnival 2018

24-28th July
If there’s one festival that defines the summer - it’s carnival. This is the perfect time to let your hair down and put your best clothes on to get dancing! It may not be Rio de Janeiro but The Zomercarnaval, or Summer Carnival in Rotterdam is an experience not to be missed! The carnival programme includes of course an show-stopping parade led by the Carnival Queen, but there are also street parties around town where everyone is welcome to join in the fun. The Parade is free if you enter before 3pm.

Expect lots of shimmying and shaking with sequins and feathers – nothing is too over the top! Carnival means great crowds of people in the street celebrating so join the crowds (around 800,000 visitors enjoy the show!) The origins of carnival are from the Dutch Caribbean and the festival has now made itself at home in International Rotterdam, bring a flavour of the Caribbean to the port city. Enjoy the drum shows, street music and great vibe!

Duizel in the Park

3,4,5th August
This wordy festival isn’t technically free, but at 5 euros an entrance ticket it is almost! Come and enjoy the 10th anniversary edition of this park festival with workshops, talks and inspirational events in a nature setting. Events for this year include poetry, literature, music and interactive installation performances with highlights including literature talent Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, singer-songwriter Pitou, the famous Lucky Fonz III, folktronica artist Chelou, electronic musician Poppy Ackroyd, writer Johan Fretz and there´s a story telling event from Rotterdammers too. Find out more about the event here

Day of Romantic Music Festival

19th August
The Dag Van de Romantische Muziek is the oldest classical music festival to take place in Rotterdam and a great opportunity to relax on the grass and enjoy some free romantic music for a day! It has grown considerably but is still an intimate festival where you can enjoy a picnic only a few steps from Hostel Room.  It´s also not all opera – expect a varied programme with some jazz, tango and a whole host of exceptional performances, many by up and coming young talent. Taking place in the park with open air live performances, this festival is free to everyone but is kept going by donations so feel free to give!
Find out more about the festival here


25th-26th August
This Classical open-air concert is right in the harbour in front of Hostel Room and is a unique event – see people enjoy the event from the boats and harbourside as this two day concert delivers plenty of musical talent from a stage set with old sailing yachts. This is a very special concert – even for those who are not fans of classical music as there is an accessible programme of opera and world class musicians. There are over 130 musicians taking part with orchestras, choirs and soloists performing over the two days with a special feature for young talent in the programme. Find out more about this spectacular here

World Port Days

7th-9th September
Taking place at the end of summer this famous festival celebrates the biggest port in Europe here in Rotterdam and includes a big firework display on the Saturday night. This weekend allows the public access to all the behind the scenes places around the port, so you can explore ships and see plenty of events taking place harbourside. Not all of the events taking place are free but many are – check on the programme here. With a festival theme this year of 'Energise' you can find out about their ambitious future plans for the cleanest port in the world! Find out more here

We hope you got some inspiration of which festivals to enjoy in Rotterdam this summer for free! If you’re coming to visit then book your bed with us at Hostel Room Rotterdam. We're a proud member of Europe's Famous Hostels, the network of inspiring and original hostels across Europe, and only unique hostel per location. The best choice for Genuine Backpackers around Europe!