10 Things To Do In Amsterdam In December

December; it’s the one month we can go crazy on Christmas sweaters, decorations, eggnog, Christmas presents and last but not least quality time with friends and family! Of course Amsterdam is the perfect place to be! So here you will find the Christmas special of the 10 Things To Do in Amsterdam In December 2015! For the not Christmas lovers; we have added some activities for you too in these 10 Things To Do In Amsterdam! For 1o things to do in Amsterdam in December 2016 click here.

Pure Winter Market

1. Pure Winter Market

The Pure Winter Market is a place to explore, discover, taste and learn about all the different foods of Holland (and the rest of the world). It’s where you want to go to try some Dutch Gouda cheese, Surinam roti, Indian curry, American pie or a freshly chucked oyster. Oh don’t forget to order an organic beer, coffee or wine to go with that. And as we are always looking for presents for our loved ones or ourselves at this time of year, you can also find some nice gifts at the Pure Winter Market!

(credit image: iamsterdam.nl)

When? 13 December 11am-5pm and 20 December 11am-5pm.
Where? Beatrixpark (13 December 2015), Park Frankendael (20 December 2015)



2. Sinterklaas

We all know Santa Claus; the man with the red suit and white beard, but in Holland we also have Sinterklaas. He has a red suit and white beard too, but he comes a little bit earlier on the 5th of December and brings presents to all children who have been good this year. Travelling by boat from Spain, at night he rides over the roofs with his horse Amerigo and his helpers. He gives the children presents and sweets. It is a real family festivity. In the weeks prior to 5 December there are multiple activities in the city of Amsterdam, in stores and public areas.

(credit image: sinterklaasfan.nl)

When? 5 December
Where? Allover Amsterdam


Swan Lake Amsterdam

3. Swan Lake

This Christmas the biggest Swan Lake of the world will spread its wings at the Amsterdam RAI Theater. It’s a unique cooperation between the national ballet of Shanghai and the English choreographer Derek Dane. One can truly say that this ballet is quite a spectacle. Instead of 16 swans, you will see 48 swans! In case you wondered, Derek Dane has a great reputation in the field of arena productions.

When? 23 December to 30 December
Where? RAI theatre


Valhalla Amsterdam

4. Valhalla

All three previous editions where sold out end this year Valhalla, a cirque orientale, is back in Amsterdam RAI! An unimaginable reality will surprise you and the conventional is challenged by the impossible. This is going to be a spectacular night, where the classical circus and modern nightlife will merge. Valhalla is a labyrinth of musical styles. It is a world in which oddities are not an exception and where the extraordinary is considered normal. You should experience it for yourself.

When? 19 December 22.30PM – 7.00AM
Where? Amsterdam RAI


Ice skating Leidseplein

5. Ice skating at the Leidseplein

Every year an ice rink appears on the Leidseplein. Lights in the trees, “snow” canons, a Christmas tree in the middle of the rink, you get the picture. It is a real Winter Wonderland! Round the rink you can find little stalls where you can buy all different kinds of traditional Christmas treats. They organize activities like the “Drag Queen Winter Games”. A perfect way to end a day of shopping.

When? Open daily from 10 November to 10 January
Where? Leidseplein


Winter Parade

6. Winter Parade

The Winter Parade is the little sister of the travelling theatre festival Parade. The concept was originally thought up for the New Island Festival in New York by Parade-founder Terts Brinkhoff. It offers a wild mix of theatre and dance performances, poetry and interactive fun. An audience of 500 people will be seated at a giant dinner table, enjoying food as well as diverse performances. Do not forget to dance in the Silent Disco!

(credit image: iamsterdam.nl)

When? 1-9, 25-30 December
Where? Zuiderkerk, Zuiderkerkhof 72, 1011 WB Amsterdam


Christmas Markets Amsterdam

7. Christmas markets

Up for Christmas shopping or just want to get into the Christmas mood? Go and visit one of the Amsterdam Christmas markets. There’s something for everyone’s taste. There is a Christmas Fair Market, a Local Goods Christmas Market, a Christmas Evening Market, even a Funky Xmas Market. Drink some Gluhwein (mulled wine) of Hot Chocolate! Enjoy the live music!

When? Various dates in December
Where? Various places (check the website)


Christmas at Willet

8. Christmas at Willet

Experience how the wealthy couple Willet-Holthuysen celebrated Christmas in the 19th century. Their impressive canal house with dining room, ballroom and kitchen is transformed in the Christmas atmosphere of those days. With stylish decorated Christmas trees and other typical 19th century festive elements, it is promised to be even bigger than previous years.

(credit image: iamsterdam.nl)

When? 9 December to 6 January
Where? Museum Willet-Holthuysen, Herengracht 605, Amsterdam.


New Year's Eve Amsterdam what to do

9. New Year’s Eve

From a dance event to a costumed ball, from a free family event to an outrageous theme party; Amsterdam has got it all on New Year’s Eve. Through the whole city there are multiple festivities. So where are you going to pop the champagne or light your fireworks? Most events start at 9.30pm and end in the early hours. The national countdown moment is at the Oosterdok. The VOC-ship and the Scheepsvaartmuseum form the perfect setting for a huge firework show.

(credit image: events.nl)

When? 31 December
Where? Various places downtown (check the website)



10. Samples Sales Amsterdam

Nothing beats Christmas shopping at steeply discounted prices. Find what you are looking for at the December Amsterdam sample sales. Check the guide out here.



what to do in Amsterdam Amsterdam light festival

Don’t forget to go to the Amsterdam Light Festival from the 10 Things To Do in Amsterdam in November. You can still do this in December and it is so worth it! So for the ones who did not read it yet, this is the information:

In the dark winter months Amsterdam transforms into a true city of lights. During this annual festival for young and old, both the residents of Amsterdam and the city’s many visitors are treated to a spectacle of light. This year the theme of the festival is ‘Friendship’. There are two different ways to go and have a look at the festival. The boat route, Water Colors, offers a unique view of the city from the perspective of Amsterdam’s famous waterways. Or are you more interested in going for an evening walk? The walking route, Illuminade, leads you through the culturally rich neighborhoods Weesper and Plantage in Amsterdam East.

When? 26 November to 17 January
Where? The walking route starts at Amstel 3, here you can also book the boat tour


By Linda Joosen

(credit images: all photos have been sourced from the official event page websites listed above or separately aforementioned cover photo credit – Instagram dutchie)


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