It is, without a doubt, the most magical time of the year – and what a special treat it is to be in Amsterdam during the holiday season. Stroll along the canals with an oliebolletje in hand, marvel at the seasonal decorations, do some unique Christmas shopping and take part in the many activities the city has to offer. Discover below our most wintry picks of things to do, see and shop in Amsterdam in December.
Pack your skates and make your way to Museumplein to do some pirouettes on the ice. Or, if you’re not a graceful ice skater, sip a hot chocolate, tug into a fluffy waffle and enjoy the general splendour of the surrounding Christmas market booths. Ice*Amsterdam presents the wonderful opportunity to enjoy a winter wonderland in the heart of the city, at the foot of the monumental Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam Light Festival
A spectacular tradition now in its eighth year, the Amsterdam Light Festival is an open-air light exhibition on the waters of Amsterdam. Snuggle up with someone special while you take in the breathtaking and pioneering installations by modern artists. With this year’s theme “Disrupt!”, you can experience Amsterdam’s canals in a whole new and exciting light. Book a canal tour early so as not to miss this truly unique event.
Soak in the holiday spirit at the myriad Christmas markets popping up in Amsterdam and across the Netherlands throughout the month of December. From the carnival-like Winter Paradise in Amsterdam’s south to the cosy Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt in the west, find beautifully crafted gifts, drink a cup of mulled wine and revel in the joy of the season under twinklings light and a cosy atmosphere.
A hot cup of coffee and buttery, sugary biscuits are a welcome treat on any winter afternoon. If you are looking for a sweet break to pick you up on a cold day, stop by Patisserie Holtkamp on the Vijzelgracht. They have a wide variety of baked delights that make excellent hostess gifts to bring along to holiday parties. If you ask us, the classic koggetjes, nicely wrapped with a silky bow, also make for a pretty delicious present.
De Posthumus Winkel
Sint Luciënsteeg 25
Isn’t there such a charm in sending real Christmas cards? Set yourself up for card-writing success with a visit to De Posthumus Winkel in the centre of Amsterdam. Their extensive selection of rubber stamps, velvety ink pads, colourful sealing wax, intricate calligraphy pens and stationary are the tools you need to make your handwritten correspondence a hit. Keep an eye out for their collection of bicycle stamps to add an extra Dutchie touch to your letters.
Image: Janus van den Eijnden