Amsterdam in Winter

by Tanja
Amsterdam Dam Square in snow

Wondering what to do in Amsterdam in January, February or March? Winters in Amsterdam are considered mild. But icy winds and humid air can make winter in Amsterdam feel much colder. On a holiday to Amsterdam in winter, it’s important to find activities in Amsterdam that can warm you. Here are some ideas.

What to do in Amsterdam in winter

1. Eat Dutch pea soup and stamppot

pea soup
Pea soup (erwtensoep), Dutch food for wintertime.

Only in winter in Amsterdam Dutch food shows in value. On the menu are lots of potatoes, fatty meats, and local vegetables with high levels of vitamin C and iron. 

The best thing you can eat in winter in Amsterdam is a home made pea soup (snert or erwtensoep. It’s loaded with lots of meat and very heavy.

The Dutch also eat a variety of stamppot in winter. This is a dish with winter vegetables with squashed boiled potatoes. Typical Dutch winter vegetables are hutspot (potatoes and carrots), zuurkool (sauerkraut with bacon) and boerenkool (kale, a cabbage like plant).

These dishes are typically home cooked and not served in restaurants. The quality depends on the freshness and quality of the used vegetables.

2. Take the tram in (It’s warm!)

When the city of Amsterdam is covered in a blanket of snow, it’s difficult and chilly to walk around. And when the temperatures start falling below zero, riding a bicycle can be very dangerous.

So why no try out the Amsterdam public transport? The Amsterdam trams are a good start: they give you access to areas of Amsterdam tourists don’t usually frequent but are certainly worthwhile.

Just pick a seat near the heating and watch ‘normal Dutch’ people get in and out the tram in their normal daily life. Don’t forget to watch the scenery outside.

Noorderkerk in winter in Amsterdam
Snow at Noorderkerk in de Amsterdam Jordaan District.

Tram to the Amsterdam East

The Amsterdam East is a beautiful area, with broad streets, lots of trees, water, and characteristic buildings. Take tram 3,7,9, or 14. You can either just stay put in the tram and take the same tram back again or get out and wander around the area you’re in.

3. Go to a museum

Amsterdam Museums are warm places where you can hide away from the cold outside. Unfortunately, the best museums in Amsterdam are popular, which means standing in line in the cold! Remember always to buy a ticket to the most famous museums in Amsterdam online, so you can skip the line.

Temporary exhibitions calendar

Check out the Amsterdam Exhibitions Calendar to see what temporary exhibitions the museums in Amsterdam are showing.

Prinsengracht winter Amsterdam
Snowed canals in winter in Amsterdam.

4. Get on a Canal Cruise

A canal cruise in Amsterdam might seem a bit lame, but when you see the low canal cruisers go by, it’s a lot of fun.

5. Visit an Amsterdam sauna

Really need to warm after walking all those canals? A great thing to do in winter is to visit an Amsterdam sauna. A well-known sauna is Sauna Deco, centrally located in the Amsterdam canal belt area at Herengracht 115. It’s small and there is no swimming pool, but it’s beautifully decorated in Jugendstil.

The most luxurious Amsterdam spa is the one from the Conservatorium Hotel at Museum Square. The Conservatorium Hotel is one of Amsterdam’s finest, stylish and most expensive hotels. And their Akasha Holistic Wellbeing spa fits perfectly. It has an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, relaxation areas, a gym and of course many treatments.

In the parkland woods of Amsterdamse Bos lies a popular Spa: Spa Amsterdam Zuiver. Here you will find a variety of pools, hot tubs, saunas, hamams and lounge areas inside and outside.

Snow in Amsterdam
Westerpark is a great area to go sledding when there is snow in Amsterdam

6. Enjoy the night life

Or just stay in bed in winter in Amsterdam and enjoy the Amsterdam nightlife. Amsterdam’s night life is only to be explored during the weekend. Combine a visit to a restaurant with a night of Amsterdam clubbing.

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Leave a Comment


Colton February 8, 2017 - 19:02

Major thanks for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

Jessica February 4, 2015 - 16:16

Great take on winter in Amsterdam! At Bucket Buddies are initial audience will be expats in Amsterdam, and this is a good honest look at what that entails…some chilly winter days, and beautiful buildings! The soup idea is a great one! Haven’t had the pea soup yet so I suppose I should get on that! I’m going to share this on our Twitter (@Bucket_Buddies), thanks for the post!