Christmas and New Year are the favorite holidays for most of the people in the world. This time is full of magic and peace. All of the world is united by the same idea and the same feeling of joy! The Netherlands is the country with longstanding Christmas traditions. Christmas and New Year are celebrated big here.
The interesting fact is that the world known Santa Claus comes from the Dutch word Sinterklaas. So, the main Christmas guest in the Netherlands is called Sinterklaas. Dutch people start to prepare for Christmas and the New year’s eve two months before. December and the beginning of January are full of celebrations but the most important day is St. Nicholas’ Eve on December 5th. On this day Sinterklass visits homes and delivers presents to children around the country. Christmas Day is known as Eerste Kerstdag (First Christmas Day) and the day after, is known as Tweede Kerstdag. Both of these days are national holidays and are typically spent with family or friends at gatherings where more special foods are prepared and eaten, or leftovers are enjoyed!
If you are planning to do something great for Christmas holidays, Amsterdam would become a great destination to have a vacation at this magical time of the year. Amsterdam is shining and the celebrations are going on almost every day and every place. Christmas trees, decorations and colorful lights combined with the beautiful canals turn the city into a fairytale. There are plenty of things you can do here whether you are travelling with your family, friends or beloved ones.
Here are some things you can enjoy in Amsterdam on Christmas holidays:
Amsterdam main Christmas Tree
Dam Square is the historic and cultural center of Amsterdam and the attraction itself hosts a 65feet christmas tree with nearly two and a half miles of LED string lights. With the Royal Palace and 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk church as backdrops, visitors go to the square all season long to get a look at this majestic view. As the city center of the country’s capital, it’s the most important Christmas tree in the Netherlands.
Christmas markets are a holiday staple of Northern Europe, and the Netherlands is no exception. More than that, markets are the old Dutch tradition and part of all Dutch national holidays. Christmas markets rise almost on every street during the winter. Sunday Market is one of the most popular, located in the reformed historic gas building, Westergas. In December, this monthly event becomes the “Funky Xmas Market.” Get lost in the labyrinth of over 300 stalls that overrun the city center, each one selling some type of traditional Dutch trinket. A great choice to warm up with glühwein and oliebollen, find the perfect gifts for friends and family, and spend time with those you love.
Ice Village Amsterdam
Each year, Amsterdam’s Museumplein transforms into a charming Christmas village, complete with an ice rink, live entertainment, market stalls and plenty of festive food and drink to keep you warm. Take a spin on the ice – or play some human bowling – in one of the most breath-taking Christmas markets in Amsterdam. There are many ice-skating spots in Amsterdam (also in front of our hotel, at Rembrandt Square!) during Christmas but the one in the Ice Village is the most picturesque of all as it is located in front of the famous RijksMuseum. You are guaranteed to have a lot of fun and plenty of incredible pictures.
The holidays cannot be experienced without some tasty food. Since Amsterdam is full of Christmas Markets, you should definitely taste the Dutch hapjes (snacks), such as the olieballen and appelbeignets. They are both traditional Dutch sweets deep fried in hot oil. Olieballen and appelbeignets are part of the Christmas menu for the local people and easily found at this time of the year in the Xmas stands spread across Amsterdam. Other Christmas delicacies you should look out for include chocolate letters , Kerststol and Kerstkrans. As for food, many Amsterdam restaurants and cafés are open. Often offering special Christmas menus, usually at a set price. It is a good idea to make reservations, as some may close their doors early or serve a limited number on that night.
If you are a ballet lover, Amsterdam has a perfect Christmas gift for you. See a Show at the Dutch National Ballet. “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” quickly turned into one of the most successful Dutch theater productions of all time, already promised a return for the winter season of 2020. This adaptation of the famous ballet changes the setting from Christmas Eve in Germany to a night during the Dutch feast of Sinterklaas in early 19th century Amsterdam. If you are curious about the behind-the-scenes workings of the National Ballet, sign up for a guided tour. See for yourself how stage sets, costumes, and props are all designed and crafted in the theater.
Dutch people really admire fireworks. On the New Year night it’s hard to say if it’s night or day as the sky is full of fireworks. The whole city becomes a wonderland as the Dutch sky is covered by amazing fireworks — a spectacle definitely not to miss! You can celebrate the New Year in every corner of the city. You can also dance until the late hours.