TopDutch events guide May 2024

Get out your diaries, it’s time to explore the best of TopDutch’s cultural, sporting and networking events. Whether you’re a creative or scientific type; whether you’re looking to learn something new or stimulate your senses - there’s something for everyone in the TopDutch region.

TopDutch Life Color Transition
Culture and sports

For patriotism and partying

Liberation Day Festivals

Every year on the 4th of May, the Netherlands comes together to remember those who lost their lives during World War Two and all other conflicts with a two minute silence at 8pm. Then, the following day, we celebrate our freedom with Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) festivals across the country.

Each province in the TopDutch region is holding a free festival this Liberation Day, so TopDutch’ers across the region have plenty of possibilities to party. In Drenthe, you can find big names in Dutch music such as Typhoon, La Fuente and Jett Rebel across six stages in Assen’s Baggelhuizerplas. In Friesland, top-tips include pop princess Froukje, and national Freedom Ambassadors Son Mieux, who alongside performing in their six-piece indie pop group, are working on a new version of their hit ‘Feels’ with a Russian refugee artist to shine a light on the meaning of freedom. And in Groningen you can find a mix of local talent such as self-described ‘Grunnfluencer’ TikTok Tammo & band, alongside international superstars including Dizzee Rascal and Nick Mulvey.

Where? Drenthe: Festivalterrein Baggelhuizen, Assen. Friesland: City Center Leeuwarden. Groningen: De Drafbaan, Groningen City. When? Sunday May 5. Find full programs here.

For the Eurovision lovers


Joost Klein performing at the Eurovision semi-finals in Malmö. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennet/ EBU.

TopDutch musical talent Joost Klein is already a firm fan favorite for this year’s Eurovision Song Content. His song ‘Europapa’ is a high energy, multi-lingual tribute to his late father that, in his words, “is about an orphan who travels throughout Europe (and beyond) to find himself and tell his story. At first, people don't recognize him, but he goes on seizing any opportunity he gets to let himself be seen”.

As Joost heads to Malmö, people in his home province of Friesland will boogie-on down to the Oldehoofsterkerkhof in Leeuwarden for one big Eurovision watch party. The party with start at 19:00, when a line-up of live artists will warm up the audience, ready to cheer on the local lad. At 21:00, the live-stream of the Song Contest will start, and the expected thousand-strong party can begin dancing the night away. So what are you waiting for? Dig out your sequins and get down to Leeuwarden!

Where? Oldehoofsterkerkhof, Leeuwarden. When? Saturday May 11, 19:00 – 01:00. More info is available here.

For the (fun-) runners

Meppel City Run

On your marks, get set, go go go down to Meppel! Runners (and have-a-go-ers) from across the TopDutch region are warming up for the ‘most beautiful run in Drenthe’. The MCR is a 4 or 8 mile race through the historic city center of Meppel.

The race on the 26th of May has something for everyone. Are you a competitive runner? Sign up for the first round. Fancy running with your colleagues? Sign up together for the Business Run. Do you want to join in the fun but are unable to do the regular route due to a disability? There’s a 1km course where walkers, wheelchairs and companions can be used! Want to get the kids involved? Sign them up for the 200m (3-5 year olds), 1000m (5-8 year olds) or 2000m (8-12 year olds) fun runs.

Where? Meppel city center. Route starting in Grote Oever and finishing in Kromme Elleboog. When? Sunday May 26, 11:00 – 18:00. Full program here.

For the seafarers

Water sport weeks

Canoeing through the canal around IJlst, Friesland 

TopDutch locals are known for their sea legs, and this May they’re opening up their cabins, workshops and waterways to the public. In the Frisian Open Water Sports Weeks, you can get a taste of a range of water related activities.

Some highlights include: the Dutch Youth Regatta, where spectators can watch around 800 sailboats and 1,000 sailors from 17 countries from the Ijsselmeer and Workum Beach; festivities as the opening of the water sport season is celebrated in Leeuwarden, Snake and Grou; or learn more about working on the water as nautical authorities such as the water police, the Marrekrite recreation authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management take the public onboard for a unique Open Day.

Additionally, many water sports providers offer free or discounted trial lessons and boat trips across the month. Always wanted to try kitesurfing, flyboarding or stand up paddle boarding? Now’s your chance to explore the TopDutch region by water!

Where? Locations across Friesland. When? Until May 19. All the tips available here.

Learn and connect

For the best of WaterTech innovation

European WaterCampus Business Challenge 2024

The WaterCampus, Leeuwarden

For an exciting week in the TopDutch region, (young) entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and forward-thinking corporations will be coming together to translate newly developed technologies into commercial triumphs. The European WaterCampus Business Challenge will give participants from across Europe to connect with peers, engage with innovative companies, and present pitches to potential investors, launching customers, and technology partners.

Over a comprehensive five-day training program, talented entrepreneurs and PhD candidates with a commitment to sustainability will be equipped with the skills they need to transform innovative ideas into successful international ventures. On the final day, the participants will be able to present their business plans to a panel of WaterTech experts and investors. Previous editions of the European WCBC have led to numerous success stories, with nearly all companies from the past 12 editions still actively thriving in the water industry. Want to get involved? Find out more about it on their website.

Where? WaterCampus, Leeuwarden. When? May 13 - 17.

For the future new energy entrepreneurs

Green Business Challenge Energy 2024

Energy Academy Europe on the Zernike Campus ©UG, photo: Silvio Zangerini

The energy talent of the future are invited to the region leading the transition – the Northern Netherlands – for an electrifying week buzzing with innovation. Over 25 international students will take part in a 6 day road trip through the TopDutch region as they tackle real business cases. How can governments, companies, and communities make the shift to renewable energy? How can organisations develop green business models for solar-powered products or come up with solutions for energy storage? The challenges vary each edition but are 100% real. It’s sure to spark inspiration and ignite unexpected breakthroughs.

The New Energy Academy and the TopDutch-based consultancy BBENG are teaming up for the Energy edition of the Green Business Challenge. Do you want to pave the way for a green economy and go on an unforgettable road trip? All while gain new skills, great friendships and exciting career opportunities along the way? Students from all over the world and from all sorts of educational backgrounds can take part in this week of challenges. Or would you rather just get inspired by their final pitches, as well as an amazing keynote speaker? Sign up for the final event, open to everyone, on the 17th of May.

Where? Energy Academy Europe, Groningen. When? May 12 – 17.