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Celebrate Christmas in Amsterdam

Date Posted: 10/11/14

Celebrate Christmas in Amsterdam

Although the nights are drawing in and there's a definite bite of cold in the air, Amsterdam is most definitely the place to be for the festive season, with top quality shopping, traditional Christmas markets and an unbeatable atmosphere.

You can find all this if you spend enough time wandering through the streets, but if your time in the city is limited, follow our guide below to all the hotspots worth checking out in December.

Dam Square

Few places in Amsterdam are prettier than Dam Square, and the festive period is no exception. The plaza has been decorated with its usual Christmas tree, grown in the German Ardennes and soaring more than 20 metres into the sky. As always, it is bedecked with energy-saving fairy lights which, if you stretched them out and lay them alongside each other, would measure more than four kilometres in length.

Other decorations have been added to Dam Square's beautiful buildings, including the resplendent De Bijenkorf department store where you can make a start on the Christmas shopping.


Festive markets are undoubtedly one of the highlights of the time of year, and we all know that nobody does an outdoor market better than Amsterdam. There are a number that are well worth putting in the diary - the Funky Xmas Market (December 14th), the Local Goods Christmas Market (December 21st) and the Pure Winter Market, which is taking place on both of the upcoming Sundays.

Browse the stalls seeking out tasty Christmas snacks and beautiful home-crafted objects with which you can decorate your home, offering an authentic Dutch touch to the festive proceedings this year. Find out about the unusual traditions from this part of the world and see if you can convince your family to commemorate Sinterklaasavond (present evening).

Opera and ballet

A family visit to the theatre is a staple Christmas activity for many at this time of year, and this is as true in Amsterdam as it is in London and New York. If you're lucky enough to be here in December, there are plenty of productions that you have an opportunity to see, including La Bohéme and Cinderella at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet venue. Both productions are set to close on January 1st though, so make the most of the magic.

Amsterdam Light Festival

This year's Amsterdam Light Festival is all about putting the city in the limelight (literally) as organisers attempt to brighten the darkest corners of the metropolis with all manner of exotic colours and hues. Running until January 18th, this extravaganza ensures that the Dam is even more beautiful than usual for the festive period.

Classical music

Venues throughout the city hold classical music performances, with locals and tourists alike going out of their way to see them in droves. Particularly popular in Amsterdam is Bach's Christmas Oratorio at Concertgebouw, which attracts thousands of classical revellers every year. So don't miss out! There are a lot of reasons to go to Amsterdam for the festive season - these are just a handful of them.

Posted by Michael Middleton

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