Christmas is a particularly festive time in the Dutch capital region. It’s not just about the festivities and the presents, but also about the atmosphere, the cheerfulness and the good mood. T
o make the most of this time, here are some tips on what to do in Amsterdam at Christmas when you visit during the holidays.
HOW IS CHRISTMAS IN AMSTERDAM?
In the Netherlands, the Christmas season begins with the Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) parade on the second or third Sunday in November.
Every year at the same time, a big party is organized in Amsterdam. This is your chance to see the parades and to leave with your pockets full of pepernoten…
Do you know what they are? Those little traditional Dutch cookies! A tradition that the youngest wouldn’t miss for anything in the world. What’s next? The city dresses up, dresses down and prepares for long and beautiful weeks of festivities, which will last until the new year and more.
1. AMSTERDAM’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Start by visiting the Amsterdam Christmas market, which is the largest and most popular in the city. It is located in the center of the Damrak, not far from the business district. The market is designed to give a festive feel and create a sense of joy.
There are not only trees and garlands here, but also stalls offering original products, handicrafts and Christmas decorations. You can also buy mulled wine and gifts from here.
You will find Christmas markets all over the city. The Kalverstraat Christmas market is located in the center of the shopping district of the same name. It is known for its Christmas decorations and stalls of original products from local artisans.
You can also buy gifts for your loved ones and souvenirs for yourself. The place is very lively and it’s a great place to have a drink!
2. BROWSE THE CITY AND ITS LIGHTS
The reason Amsterdam shines so brightly at Christmas is because of its countless decorations. It’s simple, the city is transformed from top to bottom.
Sumptuous illuminations, garlands and other decorative elements give the city a completely new atmosphere that you have never seen or felt anywhere else… As if Amsterdam was the very birthplace of these festivities.
Don’t miss the Dam Square, in the very center of the city… With its huge Christmas tree. It is usually 20 meters high and decorated with nearly 40,000 lights. A crazy show, which starts in mid-December. Before that, you might miss it.
3. TASTE THE CHRISTMAS SWEETS
It’s unthinkable to celebrate the end of the year without thinking about indulging in some sweets. As you may have guessed, there are many Christmas markets in Amsterdam, scattered here and there throughout the city. The result? Stands of hapjes (snacks) everywhere.
On the program?
- Olieballen, crisps that are in fact fried doughnut dough, sprinkled with powdered sugar;
- Appelbeignets, which are nothing but delicious apple fritters.
A real treat for you!
4. GO ICE SKATING
Do you like winter sports? Well, it’s true that Amsterdam doesn’t have the biggest mountains in the world. So you can’t ski here. However, the city does have plenty to satisfy ice skating enthusiasts. Every year, two magnificent ice rinks are installed at Leidseplein and Museumplein.
These are both busy places, perfectly located (right in the city center). Nearby are the canals, but also two museums well known to the locals, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk museum. This is a great opportunity to skate in a unique setting.
5. ENJOY THE FIREWORKS
Visiting Amsterdam at Christmas is also (and possibly) staying until the New Year. In fact, if you get the chance, do it! The Dutch capital is known for its incredible fireworks. A real spectacle that we recommend you not to miss for anything in the world.
In addition, there are concerts everywhere and everyone celebrates as one. If you like to party and want to go on until the end of the night, don’t hesitate to book a place in one of the many nightclubs opened for the occasion.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN AMSTERDAM IN DECEMBER?
Traditionally, the weather in December in Amsterdam is not kind… Far from it. Indeed, it is rather cold and wet. You can even get snow. Sometimes it can be so cold that the canals themselves freeze over.
By the way, this gives the opportunity to the locals to put on their skates and go down to have fun for a few hours (when the ice is thick enough, of course). A funny show, you’ll agree!
AMSTERDAM AT CHRISTMAS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Amsterdam at Christmas is guaranteed to see thousands of tourists arrive and prices rise. There is only one solution to this problem: plan ahead. Don’t hesitate to browse the offers and book your hotel room well in advance. The same goes for your plane tickets.