For those tired of the norm, what could be more magical at Christmas than spending the holiday in a new, exciting city? We at Clink have compiled a list of fun happenings for those headed to Amsterdam this festive season.
Amsterdam Light Festival
When: 30 November 2017 – 21 January 2018
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Celebrating its fifth year in 2017, Amsterdam’s Light festival features designs by national and international artists and architects. It’s composed of two routes: The Water Colours (by boat) and The Illuminade (walking).
The boat ride lasts 75-minutes, and you can choose anything between driving your own boat to a private canal cruise.
The walking route is free and takes about 90 minutes, taking you past 23 artworks in the Weesper and Plantage neighbourhoods.
Each route has its own theme, so we’d recommend doing both!
When: 21 – 23 December
Where: Zuiderkerk, Zuiderkerkhof 72 72, 1011 WB AMSTERDAM
WinterParade is a yearly gathering of 500 guests that features a traditional Christmas dinner and a show at a 120-metre long table. However, non-turkey eaters needn’t despair! Winterparade’s website states that there is also a ‘special’ vegetarian option available.
Please note that performances are partially in Dutch – although you shouldn’t let that halt the festivities!
Charles Dickens Festival in Deventer
When: 16 – 17 December
Where: Central Deventer, Bergkwartier
For those willing to travel for festive thrills, the Charles Dickens festival in the Hanseatic city of Deventer is an hour train ride away from Amsterdam, and hugely popular. Entry is free and 135,000 visitors are anticipated to arrive throughout the weekend – so expect to queue!
At the festival, 950 characters from Dickens’ classic works come to life: Scrooge, Oliver Twist, Mr. Pickwick, orphans, vagabonds, the upper-classes and many more.
In 2015, the festival was nominated for the Best Public Event in the Netherlands!
Gouda by Candlelight
When: 15 December, 7pm-8pm
Where: Market Square, Gouda
Just a 50-minute train ride from Amsterdam, the city of Gouda (famous for its cheese) turns off its lights and is illuminated by candlelight. Even the surrounding houses dim their bulbs and display candles in their windows.
At this annual event, a festive story is told by the mayor, and the Christmas tree (an annual gift from its Norwegian sister city, Kongsberg) is illuminated.
You can warm up by sampling the local winterpannetje (winter stew)!
Looking for a place to stay in Amsterdam this weekend? Get the best rates by booking directly through Clink Hostels! To book your stay, click here.
Xtra Cold Icebar
- Mon – Thursday: 12.30pm – 01.00am
- Friday – Saturday: 12.00pm – 02.40am
- Sunday: 12.00pm – 01.00am
Where: Amstel 194-196, 1017 AG Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Xtra Cold Ice Bar features 60 tons of natural ice which is shaped into the coastline of the island, on which the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz and his crew were shipwrecked in 1596.
There are two bars serving ice cold Heineken, shots and orange juice. Upon your arrival, you will receive a free welcome cocktail and a thermal coat with gloves to keep you warm. Everything is made of ice in the bar – even the glasses!
Reservations are required here, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Castle Christmas Fair in Heemskerk
- 07 December, Thursday: 16:00 – 22:00
- 08 December, Friday: 11:00 – 22:00
- 09 December, Saturday: 11:00 – 22:00
- 10 December, Sunday: 11:00 – 18:00
Where: Castle Christmas Fair in Heemskerk, Tolweg 20, 1967 NG HEEMSKERK
Make Christmas shopping extra special by perusing a market located within the grounds of a historic castle just a 35-minute train hop away. Taste local festive cuisine, photograph the magical setting, watch live performances and explore handcrafted gifts from the market stalls.
Christmas in Willet
When: 24 November 2017 until 7 January 2018
Where: Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Herengracht 605, 1017 CE AMSTERDAM
The museum Willet-Holthuysen decks its halls in 19th century fashion to recreate how it would have looked when occupied by wealthy couple Abraham and Louisa Willet-Holthuysen. The ballroom and dining room have been restored to their former glory – pay the museum a visit to see how the other half celebrated Christmas in Amsterdam!
When: October 14, 2017 – 25 March 2018
09:00 – 16:30
21:00 – 23:00
13:00 – 15:45
Where: Jaap Eden IJsbaan, Radioweg 64, 1098 NJ Amsterdam
Named after the famous Dutch ice skater, Jaap Eden ice rink first opened in 1973.
It contains a 400-metre lane for those with ice skating stamina – but for those wishing to have a skate and then warm up, café Jaap offers a wide selection of warm drinks and food.