Jazz Festivals in the Netherlands: It’s Now Jazz Season!

Jazz festivals in the Netherlands

The Dutch love American Jazz and beginning each year in May, it’s Jazz Season. There are numerous cities that hold jazz festivals and most of the venues are free. Here are some of the notable jazz festivals in the Netherlands that you might want to experience:

Breda Jazz Festival: May 10 – May 13

The Breda Jazz Festival is the oldest and largest in the Netherlands and Europe. It began in 1971.  More than 250,00 people from throughout the Netherlands and the continent attend this four-day event. A broad array of jazz-related musical styles from 180 musicians perform on 17 stages in the streets, parks and grassy backyards in the city’s historic center. Many of the performers are not only from the Netherlands but also come from around the globe, including the United States, Japan, Australia, England, and France. The main stage is in front of the historic Spanish Gate. This festival is free of charge and not to be missed by lovers of jazz.

jazz festivals in the netherlands
A must-see!

‘s-Hertogenbosch or Den Bosch Jazz in Duketown: May 18 – May 21

The annual Jazz in Duketown (so named for former dukes, not Duke Ellington) began in 1974, and it attracts around 150,000 visitors. Known performers in the world of jazz from within the Netherlands and abroad perform during this four-day festival. 10 stages are spread along most of the streets in the historic city center. The largest stage is on the main square. The festival features various styles of jazz and soul, blues, funk and world music. So, after you’ve attended the Breda Jazz Festival, head over to Den Bosch’s Jazz in Duketown. This festival is free of charge to all visitors.

Jazzboz Bergen op Zoom: May 25 – May 27

JazzBoZ has more than 60 performances at various indoor and outdoor stages throughout historic Bergen op Zoom’s town center. All the concerts are accessible and free of charge.  Many of the artists are from the city’s region, as well as from around the Netherlands and abroad.

Utrecht Jazz Festival: May 20

The Utrecht Jazz Festival takes place on an historic square in the heart of Utrecht, with performances from local jazz artists featuring a range of jazz styles. The festival is available to everyone free of charge.

Jazz Festival Enkhuizen: June 1 – June 3

The Jazz Festival Enkhuizen was founded in 1974. Since then, it has grown into a four-day festival with both domestic and foreign jazz artists. The festival takes place in its historic downtown, dating from the Dutch Golden Age.  Mostly young jazz artists are the featured performers on the indoor and outdoor stages. This festival is free of charge.

North Sea Jazz Festival Rotterdam: July 13 – July 15

The best known jazz festival in the Netherlands is the North Sea Jazz Festival. It is the world’s largest indoor music festival attracting approximately 70,000 spectators. More than a thousand musicians are spread out over 150 performances on 15 different stages with music ranging from soul, funk and hip hop to world music and pop. The biggest names in jazz perform in this festival annually. This is not a free festival and tickets are available on its website.

jazz festivals in the netherlands
One not to be missed!

Not all the towns and cities in the Netherlands have jazz festivals but each has at least one jazz club or venue for jazz. As a fan of jazz music, I encourage jazz music lovers to support local jazz groups and musicians by attending their performances.

If readers have a favorite jazz group or venue, please add your recommendation on the response section on this page. Also any other jazz festivals in the Netherlands.

Jim Goyjer
Jim Goyjer is a public relations consultant. Born in Amsterdam, he’s lived in California for most of his life. Currently living in the Netherlands with his wife, he looks forward to writing, photography, traveling throughout Europe and exploring more of the Netherlands and his Dutch family heritage going back to the 16th century in Noord Holland. He’s always been fascinated with how such a small country as the Netherlands has had such a large impact on the rest of the world.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t forget the TAKE OFF MYSIC EVENT (former “Meer Jazz Festival)
    June 1, 2 & 3.
    On Saturday, June 2nd it hosts the International Big Band Competition (IBBC), the biggest big band competition of Europe, with 15 bands from 5 European countries. To compete for prizes over €10,000 in total!

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