Culture and Experience Travel 6 MINS READ

The Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Christmas In Amsterdam

The Ultimate Guide To Celebrating Christmas In Amsterdam

Culture and Experience Travel 6 MINS READ

Christmas Magic in Amsterdam: A Festive Guide

“Amsterdam in December is a tapestry of festive wonder. As a globetrotter who’s wandered through 100 countries, I can attest that the city’s Christmas spirit is a unique blend of enchantment and authenticity, making it a must-visit during the holiday season.”

Ah, Christmas in Amsterdam – a dreamy escape adorned with twinkling lights, delectable treats, and a joyful spirit wafting through the city’s narrow lanes. Picture yourself strolling along snow-dusted canals, immersing in the warmth of cozy ‘brown pubs,’ and savoring the enchanting ambiance that envelopes the Dutch capital during the holiday season.

When we embarked on a pet-sitting adventure in Amsterdam at Christmas, our anticipation soared. Envisioning a Yuletide filled with market-hopping, canal walks, and revelry, we discovered that Amsterdam, in December, is pure delight!

TL;DR Points Summary: Christmas Magic in Amsterdam

  1. Top Things To Do in Amsterdam in Winter
    • Explore festively decorated neighborhoods, visit museums, feast on traditional Dutch holiday food, and experience the Amsterdam Light Festival.
  2. Amsterdam Christmas Markets
    • Dive into the heart of Amsterdam’s winter charm with enchanting Christmas markets featuring mulled wine, ice skating, and unique festive experiences.
  3. Amsterdam Weather: Christmas and Winter Climate
    • Prepare for chilly temperatures, occasional rain or snow, and be ready to experience the magic of Amsterdam in winter.
  4. Amsterdam Christmas Lights
    • Witness the city adorned with twinkling lights, creating a magical winter landscape.
  5. Christmas Shopping Amsterdam
    • Explore year-round Christmas shops for festive ornaments and souvenirs along the Singel Canal.
  6. Best Christmas Markets in Amsterdam
    • Explore Amsterdam’s holiday markets, from the Museumplein Christmas Market to the Funky Xmas Market at Westergas.
  7. More Amsterdam Christmas Events
    • Experience themed performances, the World Christmas Circus, Christmas concerts, and enchanting canal cruises.
  8. Sinterklaas (December 5/6)
    • Celebrate Sinterklaas, featuring Dutch Christmas cookies called Kruidnoten.

Spending Christmas In Amsterdam

Amsterdam in December is a treasure trove of experiences. From iconic museums to classic ‘brown pubs,’ the city offers a plethora of delights for every traveler. The line-up of December events adds an extra layer of allure to this winter wonderland.

Top Things To Do in Amsterdam in Winter

During our visit, we unraveled the best activities for a magical December in Amsterdam. Beyond the festive cheer, these experiences should be on your Amsterdam winter checklist.

  1. Explore Amsterdam Neighborhoods

Amsterdam’s neighborhoods don their festive best in December. The affluent Jordaan, hip De Pijp, and the iconic Amsterdam Centrum, each boasting unique decorations, invite exploration. For a comprehensive tour, our step-by-step Amsterdam Walking Tour unveils the city’s winter charm.

  1. Visit Amsterdam Museums

Museums provide a warm retreat during winter, and Amsterdam boasts an impressive 75 of them. The Willet-Holthuysen Museum, housed in a historic canal house adorned for the holidays, stands out as a must-visit.

Pro Tip: Opt for the I Amsterdam City Card for cost-effective museum visits and other Amsterdam attractions.

  1. Feast on Dutch Food

Amsterdam’s winter cuisine is a savory affair. Indulge in hearty local fare, a perfect match for the December chill. Our guide on ‘What To Eat in the Netherlands’ reveals the culinary delights awaiting you.

  1. Amsterdam Light Festival

A December highlight is the Amsterdam Light Festival, where illuminated artworks grace the canals. Oysters and white wine in hand, the spectacle unfolds after a day exploring Chiado.

  1. Get Cozy in an Amsterdam Pub

Amsterdam’s pubs exude warmth year-round, but in December, they’re especially inviting. Conclude your day at a ‘brown pub,’ where locally produced beer flows, and the jovial atmosphere is infectious. Don’t miss the over-the-top Christmas experience at the Miracle Bar at Boom Chicago.

  1. Go to Amsterdam Christmas Markets

The pièce de résistance of Amsterdam in December – the Christmas Markets. Mulled wine, ice skating rinks, and iconic backdrops set the stage for a festive extravaganza. Detailed insights into Amsterdam’s Christmas Markets await you further in the article.

“Having explored Christmas markets across the globe, Amsterdam’s markets are a symphony of coziness. Mulled wine, ice-skating, and the unmistakable Dutch charm create an immersive winter fairy tale—one you won’t find anywhere else.”

More Things To Do in the Netherlands in December

Extend your winter exploration beyond Amsterdam. Attend the Dickens Festival in Deventer, explore the largest Amsterdam Christmas Market in Dordrecht, shop in Nijmegen, and discover whimsical winter scenes at windmills. This is a gorgeous traditional Christmas market in the city.

Christmas Eve in Amsterdam doesn’t have any of its specific traditions, but we highly recommend taking a stroll through beautifully lit-up streets with Christmas decorations and grabbing a hot chocolate at any open cafe, while enjoying Christmas music to celebrate the festive season perfectly.

Amsterdam Weather: Christmas and Winter Climate

Amsterdam’s Christmas weather is unpredictable, ranging from cold nights to the occasional frozen canal. Prepare for mid-40F temperatures, overcast skies, and sporadic rain or snow. A packable raincoat, umbrella, and winter accessories ensure you’re ready for all elements.

Christmas in Amsterdam: A Festive Extravaganza

Amsterdam during Christmas is nothing short of fabulous. Embrace the festive charm, fewer crowds, special events, and a list of activities bound to ignite your holiday spirit.

“Christmas in Amsterdam is like unwrapping a present of joy. The city’s spirited celebrations, coupled with fewer crowds, offer an intimate holiday experience. It’s a festive extravaganza that captures the true essence of Dutch merriment.”

  1. Amsterdam Christmas Lights

While the Amsterdam Light Festival blows you away, the city’s streets twinkle with Christmas lights, creating a magical winter landscape. The decorations, simple yet elegant, include wreaths on doors and sparsely adorned trees in quaint squares.

  1. Christmas Tree Amsterdam

Dam Square hosts the grand Amsterdam Christmas tree, standing tall at 20 meters, adorned with over 40,000 lights. The tree lighting ceremony, featuring carol singers and festive treats, marks a joyful Amsterdam Christmas tradition.

  1. Christmas Shopping Amsterdam

For festive keepsakes, visit The Christmas Palace along the Singel Canal. This year-round Christmas shop is a treasure trove of Amsterdam Christmas ornaments and souvenirs.

Indulge in a festive shopping spree along Nieuwendijk, the famous Amsterdam shopping street. The Nine Streets (Negen Straatjes) offers atmospheric boutique shops for unique finds

  1. Christmas Decor Amsterdam

Whether in an Airbnb, hotel, or house-sitting, embrace the holiday spirit by decorating your space. HEMA is your go-to for modern and affordable Christmas décor, including trees from Nieuwmarkt and the Flower Market.

Things To Know About Spending Christmas In Amsterdam

The Best Christmas Markets in Amsterdam: Begin on a festive journey through Amsterdam’s holiday markets. From the Museumplein Christmas Market to the Funky Xmas Market at Westergas, each offers a unique celebration of the season and the ultimate Amsterdam winter paradise.

More Amsterdam Christmas Events: Beyond markets, December in Amsterdam hosts themed performances, including the World Christmas Circus, Christmas concerts, and enchanting canal cruises amid the spectacular light show.

What To Expect During Christmas Season In Amsterdam: As Christmas approaches, understanding holiday traditions and local nuances becomes crucial. Discover what’s open on Christmas Day, the Sinterklaas tradition, and the festive meals that define an authentic Amsterdam Christmas.

Sinterklaas (December 5/6): The arrival of Sinterklaas, complete with his controversial Zwarte Piet helpers, marks a festive period for children. Delight in Dutch Christmas cookies called Kruidnoten, exclusive to Sinterklaas’s visit.

Amsterdam Christmas Day (December 25): Christmas Day is an official holiday in Amsterdam, resulting in the closures of many establishments. While some grocery stores, shops, and restaurants may remain open, planning in advance is essential for a smooth holiday experience. For those staying in the city on December 25, options for dining out are limited.


Are Christmas markets in Amsterdam open every day in December?

Christmas market schedules vary, with some open daily throughout December, while others operate on specific weekends. Check the dates in advance to plan your festive exploration.

What’s the typical Christmas weather in Amsterdam, and how should I prepare?

Amsterdam’s December weather can be cold, with occasional rain or snow. Pack a warm coat, hats, gloves, and a travel umbrella to navigate the winter climate comfortably.

Are restaurants open on Christmas Day in Amsterdam?

While many places close on Christmas Day, some restaurants offer festive menus. Plan, make reservations or explore local markets for a delightful Christmas meal.

What are some unique Dutch Christmas traditions to experience in Amsterdam?

Embrace Dutch holiday customs like Sinterklaas festivities, Kruidnoten treats, and the tradition of Gourmetten for Christmas dinner. Immerse yourself in the local festive culture!

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