It's only the end of January, but Christmas and New Year already feel like along time ago. Time to start planning your next holiday? Well here are just a few reasons why the Netherlands should be top of the list…
#1 Their parties overrun the streets
If there's anything big happening, you can guarantee the Dutch will be out in force. The annual celebration of King's Day (formerly Queen's Day, back when they had a queen) sees thousands flood the streets all over the country – and even the canal in Amsterdam.
And if you're up for something a little more organised, 27 April is a great day for music too. Read all about Kingsday Festival here, and head through the links to find tickets and packages.
Meanwhile, Utrecht's own large-scale electronic party comes in the form of Kingshouse festival.
Over in Rotterdam, the Zomercarnaval (Summer Carnival) gives yearly expression to the country's mixed cultural heritage. Inspired by traditional Caribbean and West Indian festivals, the carnival ignores the mild Dutch weather and parties like it's 100 degrees.
#2 They gave the world The Cannabis Cup
Only the Dutch could think up a yearly competition to find the best pot growers in the world. No really. Legally, only the dutch could do this.
The Cannabis Cup has been going since 1988, and it has since spread to several cities in the US. Starting in 2010, states that have legalised the use of cannabis – either recreationally or just medicinally – have hosted their own annual competitions. Champions are picked in many different categories, including Best New Product, Best import, Best Hash and Best Nederhash.
#3 Their festivals push creativity to the next level
The Netherlands is packed full of amazing festivals, spanning the music spectrum from hardstyle dance music to indie-rock and folk. For such a small country, the festival count is impressive in itself – and that's before you see the incredible locations and production levels that go in to many of them…
Lief Festival's main stage – every year it takes on a unique theme, and last year it was a giant lion. What more can I say?
Loveland Festival's lakeside location – ok, the Dutch might not have exclusivity on waterside stages, but Loveland's Sloterplas is hard to beat.
Awakenings Easter Specials – Amsterdam's Gashouder is a former gas storage chamber that now hosts music and other events throughout the year. It wears the Awakenings disco ball pretty well.
So then, that next holiday you're planning?
If you like what you see, here's a list of all the festivals we have coming up. Like I said, there are quite a few…
Awakenings Eindhoven, 31 Jan - 1 Feb; Loco Dice, Pan-Pot, Ben Klock
Sneeuwbal Winter Festival, Utrecht, 31 Jan; Speedy J, De Sluwe Vos
Dancefair, Utrecht, 21 - 22 Feb; De Sluwe Vos, PRUNK, Mental Theo
Awakenings Easter Special (2nd April), Amsterdam, 2 - 3 April; Sven Väth, Joris Voorn, tINI
Awakenings Easter: Adam & Jospeh, Amsterdam, 3 - 4 April; Adam Beyer, Joseph Cipriati
DGTL Festival, Amsterdam, 4 - 5 April; Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Ten Walls
Awakenings(4th April), Amsteram, 4 - 5 April; Oscar Mulero, Ben Sims
Awakenings Easter: Ben & Marcel, Amsterdam, 5 - 6 April; Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann
Kingsday Festival, Amsterdam, 27 April;
Kingshouse, Utrecht, 27 April; Lineup To Be Announced
Gehime Liefde, Utrecht, 2 May; Lineup To Be Announced
Mumbai Color Festival, Utrecht, 5 May; Lineup To Be Announced
Pacha Festival, Amsterdam, 23 May; Lineup To Be Announced
Loveland 909, Amsterdam, 31 May; Lineup To Be Announced
World of Pleasure, Utrecht, 6 June; Lineup To Be Announced
Awakenings Festival, Spaarnwoude, 27 - 28 June; Sven Väth, Chris Liebing
18hrs Festival, Zaandam, 11 - 12 June; Lineup To Be Announced
Dance Valley, Spaarnwoude, 1 August; Lineup To Be Announced
Loveland Festival, Amsterdam, 8 August; Lineup To Be Announced
Brothers Open Air, MK Woudenberg, 22 August; Lineup To Be Announced
Mysteryland, Haarlemmermeer, 22 August; Hardwell, Steve Aoki
Ground Zero, Bussloo, 29 - 30 August; Lineup To Be Announced
Lief Festival, Utrecht, 5 September; Lineup To Be Announced