In Amsterdam there are many special Christmas events in november and december. Museum Square turns into a wonderful Christmas Village with a Christmas market. All through December and January the Amsterdam Light Festival 2019-2020 brightens the beautiful Amsterdam canals with amazing light art sculptures.
Christmas in Amsterdam 2019
The Christmas spirit enters Amsterdam when the lights on the facade of luxury department store Bijenkorf are lit. Every year on a day in November, a crowd gathers on Dam Square to witness the event. Then, in the first days of December, a massive Christmas tree on Dam Square is put in its place.
Are shops and museums closed in Amsterdam on Christmas Day?
December 25 2019 it is Christmas Day in The Netherlands. This day is an official holiday. Almost all shops, museums and restaurants in Amsterdam will be closed on Christmas Day. However the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Hermitage and Stedelijk Museum are all open for visitors.
December 26 is second Christmas Day (‘Boxing Day’). In The Netherlands people spend this day also with their family. In The Netherlands, most shops will be closed. But in the bigger cities, like Amsterdam, most shops, museums and restaurants are open as usual.
RECOMMENDED READ: The weather in winter in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Light Festival
From 28 November 2019 until 19 January 2020 the Amsterdam Light Festival 2019 takes place. Amazing light sculptures, projections and art installations are placed in and around the Amsterdam Canals.
The light art installations are best enjoyed on a canal cruise. I recommend the canal cruises below because they all have a good guide on board. The guide knows about the art installations.
Water Colours Cruise
Let yourself be enchanted by the illuminated canal houses, bridges and light works of art with this Water Colours Cruise. With audioguide. Prior to the cruise, you can enjoy a winter apple punch, mulled wine (glühwein) or hot chocolate.Book online
Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise
This 75-minute evening canal cruise comes with a comfortable boat: heated, equipped with pillows, blankets, a bathroom and other luxuries. A good, live guide and mulled wine and hot chocolate on board!Book online
Private boat with unlimited drinks
Are you with a group? Luxurious and comfortable private boats hold 8, 10 or 12 people. The captain can tell you all about the art. On board there are unlimited hot and cold drinks (also beer, glüwein!) and there are typical Dutch deep fried snacks and warm blankets.Book online
Christmas markets in Amsterdam
Christmas Village at Museum Square
In December, the Museum Square (Museumplein) is the heart of all Christmas events in Amsterdam. The large square is transformed into a Christmas Village. Stalls are set up for the Amsterdam Christmas market. Find original gifts and souvenirs, many of them handmade by Amsterdam designers.
The Christmas Market on Museumplein also offers seasonal treats from Holland, Germany and Belgium. Try some mulled wine (glüwein), Dutch pancakes (poffertjes) and sausage (worst).
The pond becomes a popular ice rink. You can rent ice skates here. There is even a miniature version of Amsterdam’s famous Skinny Bridge.
The Sunday Market is a popular market where you can find the best Christmas gifts and souvenirs. All the gems are made and sold by local (Amsterdam) makers. Focus is on design, fashion and art.
The Sunday Market takes place at various locations and dates. A special Christmas is planned at the wonderful Westergasfabriek on 15 December 2019. The New Market is on Nieuwmarkt Square on 27 November and on 27 December 2019.
Haarlem Christmas Market
Visit Amsterdam’s charming little sister Haarlem around Christmas time. Famous is Haarlem’s Christmas market on the historic main square. Three hundred (!) festive Christmas stalls can be found in and around Grote Markt square and various shopping streets. With music everywhere!
In 2019 the Haarlem Christmas Market takes place Saturday and Sunday 7 and 8 December.
The Floating Christmas Market of Leiden
Also not in Amsterdam, but Leiden is easily reachable in a forty minute train ride. And it’s worth it. The historic town of Leiden dresses up for Christmas with a huge floating Christmas market.
The Floating Christmas Market of Leiden is from 7 until 14 December 2019.
Christmas in The Netherlands
The spirit of Christmas enters Holland after the traditional Dutch feast of Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas, Santa in Holland) on December 5. Christmas Eve, December 24, is ‘Kerstavond’, but there is no special celebration. Christians in Holland might attend the traditional Christmas mass followed by hot drinks with family or neighbours.