21 Things to Tick off your Amsterdam Winter Bucket List

November 17, 2017

  1. Watch the Light Festival from the water

This yearly event stages exhibitions and displays from world-class artists, with the illuminating artwork in the streets and canals. Take a cruise and see the festival at night as it’s reflected into the 17th century canals.


  1. Go ice skating outside Rijskmuseum

ICE* Amsterdam takes over Museumplein from November to January each year. The setting, with the impressive Rijskmuseum and beautiful green surroundings, paired with the ice rink and chalets, all add up to some seriously seasonal vibes.


  1. Have hot chocolate in a brown café

These historic spots make up much of Amsterdam’s cultural heritage. The quaint establishments, with their warm, brown interior, are the perfect place to warm up.


  1. Go Christmas Market hunting

As in most capital cities, Amsterdam doesn’t just have one Christmas Market. Do a bit of digging and find out which one suits you, or try to hit them all up. Options range from Funky Xmas Market to Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt, set in a warehouse.


  1. Turn on the lights at Bejinkorf

Forget what you know about the turning on of Christmas lights. Amsterdam’s Bejinkorf department store takes it to a whole new level with an entire performance with singers, dancers, acrobats and even fireworks.


  1. Get a birds-eye view of the capital

Winter Wonderland at RAI Amsterdam has a massive ferris wheel that gives you spectacular views of Amsterdam, especially as the city is coated in a blanket of snow.


  1. Witness the WinterParade

Dinner and a show takes on a whole new meaning as 500 guests are served a delicious menu at a 120m long table which also acts as a stage for all manner of theatrical performances.


  1. Visit Christmas Palace on Bloemenmarkt

This is one you don’t have to wait until winter for. Open 365 days a year, at Christmas Palace it really is Christmas every day.


  1. Take your skates to the canals

It doesn’t happen every year, but when the canals freeze over you’ll find the locals with their skating boots on showing off their skills. Join in for this completely unique experience.


  1. Wrap up for a walk in Vondelpark

Amsterdam’s most popular green space, and for good reason, Vondelpark is a massive 47 hectares. The diverse park, offering vast open spaces, areas of dense foliage and beautiful lakes, makes for a lovely winter walk.


  1. Take a trip to the circus

The World Christmas Circus has featured at the Royal Theatre Carré for 33 years and is internationally acclaimed. Definitely something that should be on your bucket list, if it isn’t already.


  1. Warm up with the local cuisine

Gastronomy in Holland steps up a notch as the cold weather sets in. Oliebollen, Dutch donuts, and appelflappen, hot apple pastries, are just two to choose from as you peruse the markets.


  1. Go Christmas shopping in Nine Streets

This boutique area is a shopper’s paradise. Filled will trinkets, these independent stores are a goldmine for unique finds.


  1. Enjoy National Tulip Day

Get down to Dam Square in January as hundreds of thousands of tulips are laid out into a beautiful arrangement. You can pick a bunch for yourself for free, too.


  1. Try a different kind of New Year

Amsterdam’s traditional New Year celebrations are legendary, but head back in February and see in the Chinese New Year. Amsterdam’s multiculturalism means the New Year celebrations are authentic and exciting.


  1. Visit Pure Winter Market

Pure Market is a travelling market that appears around Holland every Sunday, and is one of the most famous in the country. For two weekends in December it takes on a Yuletide theme in two of Amsterdam’s parks.


  1. Get a taste of gezelligheid

Whether that means warming up by a real wood fire in one of Amsterdam’s restaurants, picking up some mulled wine at a festive market, or getting snug on a loveseat at RAI Amsterdam’s Christmas Cinema.


  1. It’s not all about Christmas

There’s some fantastic museum exhibitions to visit, like We Have a Dream at Nieuwe Kerk which looks at 20th civil rights figures including Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.


  1. Test your pipes with some carol singing

There’s plenty of churches in Amsterdam city centre, and you can find out when their carol services are. There’s also A Ceremony of Carols at Orgelopark and a Bavarian Boys Choir, both performing on 17 December.


  1. One for the fashionistas

Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam takes place every January. Although dates are still to be confirmed, the event is highly regarded, with designers from both the local and international scene.


  1. Enjoy some retail therapy

On the subject of fashion, make sure to head to Holland for Amsterdam’s January sales. Unlike the UK, Holland only has 2 sales a year: one in winter and one in summer, so they go big.

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