Amsterdam isn’t the quietest of cities on your average day so, as you might expect, New Year’s Eve in the Dutch Capital is one of the liveliest and craziest places of all to welcome in the New Year. In face, Conde Nast Traveller rates Amsterdam in the top 9 cities IN THE WORLD to celebrate NYE, so if you find yourself in Amsterdam on the 31st of December you’re in for a treat.
Dutch Traditions on NYE
Oud en Nieuw
In Holland New Years Eve is referred to as Oudjaarsdag (Old Year’s Day), Oudjaarsavond (Old Year’s Evening) or, our favourite, Oud en Nieuw (Old and New). The traditional way to wish someone a ‘happy new year’ is to say, “Gelukkig nieuwjaar!”. Try and remember this when you’re ringing in the new year with a bunch of locals – they may laugh a little, but they’ll appreciate the effort.
Oliebollen and Appelbeignets
And people say the Dutch don’t know food? What better a way to celebrate making it through another year than by consuming as much sugar, butter and flour as you can handle – washed down with beer of course.
Oliebollen – deep fried balls of dough, raisins and candied peel, covered in powdered sugar- and Appelbeignets – battered and fried apple slices with cinnamon – are MUST HAVES if you really want a true Amsterdam experience. Don’t worry – you’ll find carts along the streets selling them, and if not, here’s a recipe for oliebollen and appelbeignets to make your own.
Amsterdam Fireworks, Street Parties and Events
The great thing about Amsterdam is that you don’t actually have to do anything specific to have an amazing New Year’s Eve experience – as long as you like fireworks and can handle crowds! Local children start letting off crackers in the days before the 31st, so don’t be too scared if one goes off at your feet.
Street Parties and Fireworks
Amsterdam is a small(ish), compact city – that means you’ll be able to see the fireworks from wherever you are. The streets will be full of fellow travellers, and the city celebrates together as the lights explode overhead. The only organised fireworks display takes place at the Oosterdok (near Centraal Station). However, that doesn’t stop the locals. Nieuwmarkt Square (the heart of Amsterdam China Town) also has large (unregulated) displays, and you’ll find other options to view the lights at Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. Dam Square hosts a huge party crowd- you’ll find beer tents and live shows there too. These hotspots are crowded and LOUD! Also, a ton of fun, and completely free.
For slightly less chaos, head to the Magere Bridge (skinny bridge) to watch the fireworks over the river Amstel in Central Amsterdam.
Parties, Bars and Clubs
These book out EARLY – we’re often talking weeks in advance, and those that are open for entrance on the night often charge pretty expensive fees. The clubs and bars in Amsterdam central are almost certain to be standing room only, if you find yourself lucky enough to get in.
If you’re planning your trip in advance, here’s our selection of the best NYE events Amsterdam will be hosting this year.
- Crazy Wonderland (€€) : Does what it says on the box – enter the crazy world of Wonderland for a New Years Party to remember… or forget.
- NYE Cruise (€) : Party until the AM on the waters of ‘Dam with 300 other crazy travellers. Just don’t fall in.
- Midnite Burlesque (€) :Apparently where “film-noir meets rock ‘n roll“, this is one for those who are looking for something a little different.
- Loveland NYE (€€) :A sister of one of theNetherlands largest dance festivals, Loveland NYE is for those who just want to paaaartay.
- ERA NYE @ NDSM WERF (€):Fancy a techno dance-off in an industrial shipping yard? Hit Amsterdam Noord for this face-melting event.
IMPORTANT TRAVEL ADVICE: all public transport on the streets of Amsterdam shuts for NYE, and the ferry from Centraal to Noord runs intermittently – ask at Clink’s reception to make sure you know how to get home.
And finally… ZincBAR and The Box
Stay away from the crowds of Central Amsterdam and dance in the New Year in your favourite Amsterdam hostel – ClinkNOORD! The party will be going on aaall night, and with a mix of the greatest DJ’s, best bartenders and entertainment galore we know you’ll have a good time.
Remember – the PROs of partying in your hostel:
1 – You will definitely get home safe.
2 – Someone, somewhere, will speak your language.
3 – Did someone say cheap drinks?
Enjoy Oude en Niuew in Amsterdamthis year – wish I could join you!
Written by Caitlin (A.K.A. The Indie Butterfly).