Get ready for Christmas in Amsterdam 2022. Find the best Christmas markets in and nearby Amsterdam, cruise the canals during the Amsterdam Light Festival and try typical Dutch delicacies.
Go ice skating at the Museumplein.
The Museumplein is the heart of Christmas celebrations in Amsterdam. The pond in front of Museumplein turns into a charming ice rink surrounded by a Christmas market where you can eat Dutch traditional seasonal food such as oliebollen and glüwein, as well as German sausages and beer.
Are shops and museums closed in Amsterdam on Christmas in 2023?
December 26 is Second Christmas Day (‘Boxing Day’). In bigger cities, like Amsterdam, most shops, museums, and restaurants are open. In the rest of The Netherlands, shops are closed on Christmas Day.
Things to do in December in Amsterdam in 2023
Finding things to do in December in Amsterdam, is not difficult! There are many markets where you can shop for Christmas presents. Try to find one of the maker markets at De Hallen or Pure Market. At these special markets you can find beautiful handmade gifts. Often these special items are sold to you directly by the maker. For a list of dates and places, check Events in Amsterdam in December 2022.
Cruise the canals during the Amsterdam Light Festival
From 1 December 2023 until 22 January 2024 the Amsterdam Light Festival 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.
The Amsterdam Winter Paradise
The Amsterdam Winter Paradise is the ultimate Winter Experience for families. The activities take place indoor and outdoors at Amsterdam RAI, a huge space. You can go ice-skating and ride a 40-meter toboggan slide through a snowy paradise with real snow and tubes! There are Christmas movies, hot wine, and live shows. Regular tickets are best bought online.
The Amsterdam Winter Card includes tickets to the Amsterdam Winter Paradise, a canal ride at the Amsterdam Light Festival, an audio guide app and a 10% discount on other attractions.
Ice skating at Amsterdam’s favorite Ice Village at Museum Square 14 – 26 December
Among the locals as well as tourists, the ice rink at Amsterdam Museumplein is a real favorite! The pond in front of the Rijksmuseum is a skater’s paradise when it transforms into an ice rink all of the month of December. There is even a miniature version of Amsterdam’s famous Skinny Bridge.
The entire Museumplein turns into a winter market: Ice Village. You can try typical Dutch winter food at small eateries such as oliebollen and shop for souvenirs and special Christmas gifts at the Christmas market on weekends. A lovely area to enjoy the Christmas spirit in Amsterdam!
Christmas markets in and near Amsterdam 2022
For an up-to-date list of Christmas markets in Amsterdam 2022, please check the Amsterdam Calendar of Events 2022. Most markets have special decorations during their markets in December. Good examples are the Funky Xmas Market (indoor) at the lovely Westergas or Pure Market at Park Frankendael (outdoor). Both are on 18 December.
Albert Christmas Cuyp
Albert Cuyp is Amsterdam’s favorite old-school market. It lies in the heart of De Pijp, a fun neighborhood with lots of cafés to go for food and drinks. The week before Christmas, the Albert Cuyp market dresses up seasonally with lots of extra lights and a heavy dose of Christmas spirit.
The best Christmas markets in The Netherlands however are held in other cities and not in Amsterdam. Combine a visit to a nearby town in December:
Christmas market in Haarlem
Haarlem is less than 30 minutes away from Amsterdam and easily accessible by train and bus. Haarlem is known for its charming streets and small boutiques, great for fashion. Visit this neighbor city of Amsterdam from 9 to 11 December, when there the lovely old center transforms into one big Christmas village.
Monnickendam Christmas market
Recommended Christmas markets near Amsterdam 2022 are the Flea & Sunday Christmas market in the village of Monnickendam. Monnickendam is an old fisherman’s village that is worth a visit. So why not combine it with a Christmas market? Most gifts are second-hand or otherwise sustainable. The market is at the Bierderij in Monnickendam.
A Dickens Christmas at Zaandam
Enjoy a Charles Dickens-themed Christmas market at Zaandam. At the old chocolate factory, you will find many market stands, food, drinks, live entertainment, and a nostalgic Ferris wheel. From 10 – 20 December, 16.00 – 21.00. Free entrance.
More Christmas markets in the Netherlands
Want more? Read more about the best Christmas Markets in the Netherlands.
Christmas food from Holland
Like elsewhere, food and drinks are a big part of the festive season in Holland. In the streets of Amsterdam, you will find many ‘oliebollen‘ trucks. You can try a variety of the ‘oil balls’: dough fried in hot oil. It’s a special food that is only eaten at this time of year, especially on New Year Eve. If you are a real foodie, I also highly recommend taking this food tour.
Sweets are also popular: cookies named ‘speculaas‘ and many Dutch treats, often filled with almond. Other seasonal sweets from the Netherlands are ‘tulband‘ (cake), ‘kerststol‘ and chocolate of course.
Spiced hot red wine is also popular. It’s sold at many Christmas markets in Amsterdam under its German name: ‘glüwein’.
Christmas dinner in the Netherlands
At home, a classic Christmas evening in the Netherlands starts with an appetizer of French bread, sausage, and French cheese or raw herring with onions. A classical menu in the Netherlands includes shrimp cocktail, roasted meat or poultry with cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, chicory. This is followed by a dessert, Irish coffee (coffee with whiskey and cream) and chocolate. All served with lots of red wine!
Christmas in The Netherlands
The spirit of Christmas enters the Netherlands after the traditional Dutch feast of Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas, Santa in Holland) on December 5. From mid December, schools in The Netherlands close for 2 weeks. Families prepare their homes for this special time with candles and a really decorated Christmas tree. In The Netherlands, Christmas is a real family celebration.
Christmas Eve, December 24, is ‘Kerstavond‘, but Christmas eve is not celebrated in the Netherlands. Christians might attend a traditional Christmas mass followed by hot drinks with family or neighbors.
December 25, it is ‘1st’ Christmas Day. This day is an official holiday. Most people will visit their family to enjoy a Christmas dinner. The next day (26 December) it is ‘2nd’ Christmas Day, also a holiday! The festive period ends with New Year Eve. In Amsterdam, it is celebrated heavily with fireworks.