A Christmas Guide to Amsterdam

By Marit Grootswagers

Illustration by Ruby Delaney

The Christmas season in Amsterdam is a fairy-tale scenery of brightly coloured canals, majestic trees and decorated streets. This is The Herring’s ultimate guide to a “gezellig” holiday season in the city of Amsterdam. We will explore cute boutiques for some last-minute Christmas gifts, festive Christmas markets, charming bakeries and fun activities to do this holiday season!

Christmas markets in Amsterdam

Ice Village Amsterdam
Museumplein, 1079 RA Amsterdam

Every year, Museumplein transforms into a charming Christmas scenery where you can enjoy the Dutch ice-skating tradition, eat “oliebollen”, and have a hot chocolate or glühwein whilst you enjoy the scenery. Because of covid the market will not be appear this year, however, the ice rink will still be open from 10:00 until 17:00 every day.

De Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt (CANCELLED)
Westergas, 1014 DB Amsterdam

The ‘Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt’ is a Christmas festival of Amsterdam located in de Westergas. Here you can buy gifts to put under the tree, enjoy live music, Jägermeister Christmas karaoke, theatre, movie and film. Sadly because of COVID, the Kerstmark will not take place this year, however, it will return in December of 2022.

Bakeries and more

De laatste Kruimel

Langebrugsteeg 4, 1012 GB Amsterdam

De Laatste Kruimel is a lovely bakery for both sweet and salty treats located in central Amsterdam. Pro-tip: Students get a 10 percent discount when showing their student card and there are a lot of vegan options, too. 

Holiday gift guide

Multiple locations around: De Pijp, Amsterdam

De Pijp is a lovely location in Amsterdam, full of independent boutiques and second-hand stores. Here you can find the ultimate gift that does not get re-gifted. In the concept store ‘Hutspot’ you can find accessories to decorate your (dorm-)room. In ‘Kaufhaus’ you can score vintage items and in ‘Kiloshop’ you can buy second-hand clothes priced per kilo. Furthermore, you have ‘Charlie & Mary’ where they sell eco-friendly fashion. 

Cultural scene 

National Opera & Ballet – The Stopera
Amstel 3, 1011 PN Amsterdam

If you want to dress up for an elegant night out, but do not want to splurge all your savings, you can go to the Stopera, where the Dutch National Ballet performs the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. As a student, you can book a ticket for 19 euros (instead of 70 euros) if you buy it on the day of the performance from 1 pm onwards.

Amsterdam Light Festival  
Start: Amsterdam Central Station. End: Entrepodock

This winter season, you can attend the Amsterdam Light Festival which illuminates a 6.5 kilometre stretch of central Amsterdam. The festival takes place from Thursday, 2 December until Sunday, 23 January. You can watch the lights from the streets every day from 07:00 until 09:00 and 15:00 until 22:00, buy the official route map for 7,50 euros, or book a canal boat tour of the exhibition for 26,50 euros. And the entire exhibition can of course be viewed for free, just follow the lights!

Several edits were made in light of current COVID restrictions.

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