By OUTTraveler Editors
April 30 has always been one of the most exciting days in Amsterdam, as the whole city (and the whole country) sports orange and comes out to flea markets, fairs, and festivals to celebrate Queen’s Day, in honor of Queen Beatrix. But this year April 30 will be the day a new king, Beatrix’s eldest son, Willem-Alexander, takes the throne--and Queen’s Day will officially become King’s Day. Queen’s Day has traditionally been held on April 30, the birthday of Beatrix’s mother, Queen Juliana. It stayed April 30 after Beatrix took the throne in 1980 partly because she wanted to honor her mother and partly because her birthday, January 31, wasn’t the best day for an open-air celebration. But starting in 2014, King’s Day will be held on April 27, Willem-Alexander’s birthday.
The city will play host to athletes and artists from 172 nations for the World OutGames (July 31-August 11). The two-week quadrennial event (held in a different city every time) is based on three equal parts—sports, culture, and human rights—and will include competitions in 35 different sports, an international culture festival, and a human rights conference. And as if that weren’t enough, Antwerp will also hold its annual pride festival at the conclusion of the OutGames. When it comes to being gay, you couldn’t find a prouder place than Antwerp this summer.
Perhaps more than any city in Europe, Berlin is defined by is history. And this year the city will be honoring that with a Diversity Destroyed campaign—which commemorates the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s accession to power and the horrific elimination of the country’s Jewish and gay and lesbian populations that followed. In addition to exhibits that German Historical Museum (which has free admission) there will be various other exhibits and historical markers throughout the city to both increase public awareness of this dark chapter of German history and to demonstrate how important diversity is to today’s Berlin. Find a list of events connected to Diversity Destroyed here.
The capital city of Denmark is known for being the festival capital of Europe, and those festivals really start heating up when the sun comes out. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival (July 4-14) attracts more than 250,000 people and is the biggest, most inclusive festival in Europe. If opera is more your style, come a couple weeks later (or stay a couple weeks longer) for the Copenhagen Opera Festival (July 28-Aug. 4). And then, of course, all the city comes out to celebrate for Copenhagen Pride (August 20-25), five days that end in a big parade through the streets of Copenhagen.
Summertime here is alive with outdoor events and late-night carousing, bolstered by 18 hours of sunshine, a spritely dusk that gives directly to dawn. On the islands of Djurgården and Långholmen, sunbathing and picnics are de rigueur, while clothes are not. By the way, tall, lithe Scandinavian stunners aren't just a stereotype!
This small city on the River Limmat is alive all year, but its electrifying in spring in summer, when residents and visitors alike can enjoy the Street parade and the Zurich festivals, along with multiple open-air concert and movie screenings. The Street Parade (August 10) is the largest techno street party in the world, attracting nearly 1 million to Zurich, for dancing, DJ’ing, and demonstrating. The Zurich Festival (June 14 to July 15) is a month-long theater festival held in theaters throughout the city