You might be surprised to learn that Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most festive Christmas cities. The Amsterdam Christmas Market isn’t just one market; there are actually more than 12 Christmas markets in Amsterdam and the surrounding region.
This guide will help you plan your Christmas trip to Amsterdam with details on where to go, dates, locations and what to expect.
Amsterdam, renowned as one of Europe’s top city break destinations, offers a unique blend of culture, history, and entertainment that appeals to travellers throughout the year.
However, the festive season of Christmas and the holidays bring a special charm to this vibrant city, transforming it into an even more warm and welcoming destination.
With its enchanting canals, charming architecture, and a plethora of activities and events, Amsterdam during the holidays is a magical experience that should not be missed.
Amsterdam Christmas Market 2023
Amsterdam has several Christmas markets, with some neighbourhoods putting on their own events and celebrations. I’ve listed these in order of the best for visitors to Amsterdam.
1. Ice Amsterdam
The Ice Village is one of the most traditional Christmas markets in Amsterdam. It’s located in the very beautiful Museumplein, near the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and other smaller museums.
Christmas chalets surround an outdoor ice skating rink, and trees in the park are adorned with beautiful fairy lights. There is great food and traditional drinks like mulled wine, hot cider and hot chocolate.
Dates and Location
Ice Amsterdam: The best ice skating and Christmas market in Amsterdam.
Ice Amsterdam dates: Likely dates: 11th November 2023 to 5th February 2024.
Ice Village Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 13th December to 26th December 2023.
Opening times: 11am to 8pm. On the 24th and 25th December the market closes at 5pm.
Christmas Day: Open.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Santa: Yes. Ice skating: Yes, at Museumplein.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit:For the huge ice skating rink that will be open from the 11th November 2023 at Museumplein.
Recommended tour: This walking tour is ideal for first-time visitors to Amsterdam.
Specialities: Oliebollen, proffertjes, stroopwafels, frites and bitterballen.
Where to stay: Hotel V Nesplein is a highly-rated hotel, 25 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Amsterdam Christmas Market
Amsterdam is a compact, walkable city made up of distinct districts that are ringed by several canals. If you find walking difficult, cycling is accessible for many people and the city has an excellent, affordable public transport system.
Staying in one of these central districts, from Amsterdam Centraal Station to the Jordaan district and across to the Museum Quarter (Museumkwartier), would be convenient for Amsterdam’s Christmas markets and other sights.
I suggest staying atHotel V Nesplein, a boutique hotel close to Dam Square and the Royal Palace. It’s halfway between Amsterdam Centraal Station and the Museum Quarter.
Alternatively, my guide to hotels near Amsterdam Christmas Market lists several other hotels that cover all budgets.
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Amsterdam is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and diverse culture. With its enchanting canals, picturesque old town, and remarkable architecture, Amsterdam is a city that offers something for everyone.
I recommend this city tour of Amsterdam as it allows you to explore all the highlights of the city, or you might consider a food tour of the cool Jordaan district where you can delve into the local culture through its unique cuisine.
On a city tour, you’ll visit or pass by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the historic Anne Frank House, the stunning Rijksmuseum, and the vibrant flower market, Bloemenmarkt.
Location of Ice Village Amsterdam
2. Amsterdam Christmas Market at Westergas
Known as De Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt, this increasingly popular Christmas event in Amsterdam brings festive cheer to the city.
Spanning four days in mid-December, the market offers a delightful blend of seasonal shopping, entertainment, and culinary delights.
As a recent addition to Amsterdam’s holiday scene, De Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt captures the spirit of the season and entices visitors with its festive atmosphere and unique offerings.
Amsterdam Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 19th to 22nd December 2023.
Opening times: From around lunch time to the early evening.
Reason to visit:Ice rink near the historic factory buildings. Live music, food trucks and a film program.
Travel tips: Westergas is an interesting cultural centre with lots of activities. Have a look around even outside of the Christmas period.
Where to stay: Mr Jordaan is relatively close to Westergas (you might need to take the tram) while also being a great area to stay for general sightseeing, places to explore and eating out in Amsterdam.
Location of Amsterdam Christmas Market
3. Amsterdam Winter Paradise
Winter Paradise stands out as one of the area’s most prominent regional Christmas markets. Often referred to as a ‘Winter Wonderland,’ this festive event is hosted at RAI Amsterdam, the city’s expansive exhibition centre.
Featuring an array of attractions, entertainment, and seasonal shopping opportunities, Winter Paradise transforms the exhibition centre into a captivating, holiday-themed spectacle that captivates visitors and locals alike, making it an essential stop during the Christmas season.
Amsterdam Winter Paradise dates: Likely dates: 14th December 2023 to 1st January 2024.
Opening times: 9:30am to late.
Location: RAI Amsterdam Exhibition Centre.
Tickets: Book online.
Reason to visit:The indoor and outdoor ice skating and the giant Ferris wheel.
Travel tips: This is a little further out from the city centre so you would need to the the metro to RAI station.
Location of Amsterdam Winter Paradise
4. Funky Xmas Market
The Funky Xmas Market is a one-day Christmas market held as a special edition of the weekly Sunday Market at Westergas.
My full guide to the Funky Xmas Market has more details and what to expect with a funky Christmas experience.
Funky Xmas Market: A special Christmas event at Westergas Sunday Market.
Funky Xmas Market dates: Likely date: 17th December 2023.
Opening times: 12 noon to 6pm.
Location: Westergas at Westerpark.
Reason to visit:A special event popular with locals. There are lots of cultural events, food trucks and handmade Christmas presents.
What to Expect in Amsterdam
As you watch the following video, you’ll get a glimpse of the delightful atmosphere at the Amsterdam Christmas Market at Museumplein.
Immerse yourself in the festive spirit and imagine strolling through the market, taking in the sights, sounds, and scents of this magical holiday experience.
Christmas Specialties in Amsterdam
These traditional Dutch Christmas foods offer diverse flavours and cater to both meat eaters and vegetarians, making the holiday season a time for everyone to enjoy.
- Kerststol: A Dutch Christmas fruitcake filled with almond paste, dried fruits, and nuts, dusted with powdered sugar.
- Pepernoten: Small spiced cookies that are crunchy and typically enjoyed during the Sinterklaas season.
- Speculaas: Thin, crisp spiced cookies often featuring windmill or Sinterklaas designs, made using a traditional wooden mould.
- Gourmetten: A popular Dutch holiday dining experience where guests cook their choice of meats, vegetables, and cheeses on a tabletop grill, offering numerous vegetarian options.
- Erwtensoep: A hearty split pea soup often served with rye bread, which can be made vegetarian by excluding the traditional pork ingredients.
- Stamppot: A classic Dutch dish made from mashed potatoes mixed with various vegetables, like kale or sauerkraut, and served with smoked sausage. Vegetarian sausages can be used as a meat-free alternative.
Food at the Christmas Market
At the Christmas markets in Amsterdam, you can expect to find a variety of scrumptious street foods that cater to diverse tastes. Some typical offerings include:
- Oliebollen: Deep-fried dough balls filled with raisins or currants, dusted with powdered sugar, and similar to doughnuts.
- Poffertjes: Small, fluffy Dutch pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of butter.
- Stroopwafels: Thin waffles made from two layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling, often served warm and freshly made at the market.
- Kibbeling: Deep-fried fish bites, typically made from cod, served with a tangy mayonnaise-based sauce.
- Bitterballen: Deep-fried, breaded meatballs filled with a creamy meat ragout, usually served with mustard for dipping.
- Grilled sausages: Various types of grilled sausages, including the traditional Dutch smoked sausage called “rookworst.”
- Roasted Chestnuts: A seasonal treat, these chestnuts are often roasted over an open fire or in the oven, giving them a smoky flavour.
- Frites (Dutch fries): Thick-cut fries served in a paper cone with a choice of dipping sauces, such as mayonnaise, ketchup, or curry sauce.
- Warm beverages: Hot chocolate, mulled wine (Glühwein), and spiced apple cider are popular choices for keeping warm while browsing the market.
These street food options provide a mouthwatering taste of Dutch cuisine, perfect for enjoying as you explore the festive atmosphere of the Christmas markets.
What to Buy
At Dutch Christmas markets, you can find a diverse array of gifts and products that cater to various tastes and interests. Some typical items to look for include:
- Handmade crafts: Artisan-made ceramics, wood carvings, ornaments, and other unique handmade items that make perfect gifts.
- Dutch souvenirs: Wooden shoes (clogs), Delftware pottery, and windmill-themed items to remind you of your time in the Netherlands.
- Local delicacies: Dutch cheeses, such as Gouda and Edam, as well as traditional sweets like stroopwafels, chocolate, and licorice.
- Festive food: Jams, preserves, and specialty condiments, perfect for creating a memorable holiday feast or giving as gifts.
- Dutch art: Reproductions of famous Dutch paintings and prints by artists like Van Gogh and Vermeer.
- Knitwear: Warm and cosy scarves, gloves, hats, and socks to keep you snug during the winter season.
- Christmas decorations: Unique and festive ornaments, tree toppers, and holiday-themed decorations that bring a touch of Amsterdam to your home.
- Eco-friendly and sustainable products: Locally sourced or upcycled items that promote environmental consciousness while offering attractive and functional gifts.
- Jewellery and accessories: Handcrafted jewellery, bags, and other fashionable accessories that make thoughtful presents.
- Toys and games: Traditional Dutch toys, puzzles, and board games for children and adults alike, offering hours of entertainment.
These gifts and products showcase the rich culture and craftsmanship of the Netherlands, making the Christmas markets in Amsterdam an ideal place to find one-of-a-kind treasures for yourself or your loved ones.
Christmas Markets Near Amsterdam
If you’re interested in exploring other Christmas markets in the Netherlands, there are several options that are easily accessible on a day trip from Amsterdam.
Alternatively, if time allows, spend a couple of nights discovering these enchanting destinations:
- The Royal Christmas Fair – The Hague: Only an hour by train from Amsterdam Central, this festive fair is located at Lange Voorhout. Likely running from December 7th to 22nd, 2023, it opens daily from 12 noon to 9pm.
- Winter Village – Amstelveen: Situated just south of Amsterdam, this winter market can be found at Winkelcentrum Stadshart. It kicks off on Saturday, 2nd December 2023.
- Vreeland Christmas Market – Vreeland: This charming market is located 90 minutes by train from Amsterdam towards Utrecht and will return in 2023.
- Castle Christmas Fair – Heemskerk: Nestled in North Holland, this fair takes place at Slot Assumburg, Beeckestijn Estate, which is 90 minutes northeast of Amsterdam. The likely dates are 16th to 19th November 2023. Tickets can be purchased at the door, but buying online beforehand is recommended.
- Haarlem Christmas Market – Haarlem: Just an hour from Amsterdam, this is one of the largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands. Located at Grote Markt, Haarlem, it is likely to run from 8th to 10th December 2023.
- Country & Christmas Fair – Kasteel de Haar, Utrecht: This picturesque market offers a delightful holiday experience in a castle setting.
- Light Night Edam: Edam’s winter event is a must-visit, with its festive atmosphere and stunning light displays.
- Alkmaar Christmas Market: A charming market that showcases Alkmaar’s festive spirit and offers a wide variety of shopping and entertainment options.
- Leiden Christmas Market – Winter Wonder Weken: Visit the House of Sinterklaas and the Floating Ice Rink at this festive market in Leiden, which offers a unique blend of holiday activities and attractions.
These markets provide an excellent opportunity to experience the warmth and magic of Dutch Christmas celebrations, all within reach of Amsterdam.
The latest information for locals and travellers is published byiAmsterdam, the city’s local tourism board.
Responsible Travel in Amsterdam
As travellers, our choices have environmental and social impacts on the places we visit. When exploring Amsterdam, especially during the festive season and its Christmas markets, it’s important to consider sustainability and make conscientious decisions.
To create a positive impact on the city and its residents, consider implementing some or all of these simple measures:
- Shop mindfully: Focus on purchasing items you genuinely need or making meaningful gifts, supporting local artisans and businesses.
- Opt for eco-friendly transportation: Walk, cycle, or use public transport to get around Amsterdam, reducing your carbon footprint.
- Choose a sustainable hotel: Stay in accommodations that are powered by renewable energy and follow sustainable practices.
- Support local housing: Opt for hotels over short-stay apartments to avoid contributing to locals’ lack of affordable housing.
- Minimise plastic use: Avoid using single-use plastics and refrain from purchasing items made or packaged with plastic.
- Savour local, organic cuisine: Whenever possible, choose to eat locally sourced and organic food, supporting Amsterdam’s sustainable food scene.
- Limit meat and dairy consumption: Enjoy plant-based or vegetarian meals, reducing the environmental impact of your diet.
- Embrace cultural diversity: Be open to experiencing Amsterdam’s diverse cultures, traditions, and customs.
- Venture beyond tourist hotspots: Explore more than just the main attractions, discovering hidden gems and local neighbourhoods like the Jordaan district.
- Support the arts: Attend local events, performances, and exhibitions, fostering Amsterdam’s vibrant artistic community.
- Focus on quality over quantity: Instead of rushing from one destination to another, visit fewer places but spend more time at each, enabling deeper connections and understanding.
By adopting these responsible travel practices, you can contribute to a more sustainable and enjoyable experience for yourself, other visitors, and the people of Amsterdam.
As you embark on your winter journey to Amsterdam, prepare to be captivated by the city’s enchanting atmosphere, illuminated by twinkling lights and the spirit of the season.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the charming Christmas markets, where you can indulge in mouthwatering street food and find unique gifts for loved ones.
Remember to bundle up and stroll along the picturesque canals, admiring the stunning architecture adorned with festive decorations.
Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine as you wander through the vibrant streets, taking in the sights and sounds of this captivating city.
Consider attending local events, performances, or exhibitions to further immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s artistic scene.
Throughout your stay, be sure to venture beyond the tourist hotspots to discover hidden gems and local neighbourhoods that showcase the true essence of Amsterdam.
As you experience the magic of this unforgettable winter destination, you’ll undoubtedly create lasting memories and leave with a newfound appreciation for the city’s charm and beauty.
When does Amsterdam Christmas Market start?
Amsterdam’s Ice Village Christmas Market starts on the 13th December and continues until the 26th December 2023.
Where is Amsterdam Christmas Market?
Amsterdam’s Ice Village Christmas Market is held at Museumplein, while other events are held at Westergas and RAI Amsterdam.
What is Amsterdam like at Christmas?
I was fortunate to spend one Christmas in Amsterdam when it snowed and the canals froze. It was an incredible festive experience I’ll never forget. I highly recommend visiting at Christmas if you can.
If you have any questions or comments about visiting Amsterdam in winter or specifically visiting the Amsterdam Xmas market in 2023, please leave a comment or review below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.
Dates and LocationWhat date do Amsterdam Christmas markets start? ›
December 13 @ 11:00 am – December 26 @ 8:00 pm
In 2023, the market can be visited from Wednesday 13 December to Tuesday 26 December. Events and opening hours for the 2023 / 2024 Winter Festival are still subject to change. Stay up to date with all the news about Winter Festival Amsterdam.
|Munich||27th November 2023 to 24th December 2023|
|Nuremberg||1st November 2023 to 24th December 2023|
|Frankfurt||27th November 2023 to 31st December 2023|
|Bozen||24th November 2023 to 6th January 2024|
The biggest Christmas market in Europe happens in Vienna, Austria, near the city's historic city hall, called the Rathausplatz. The Vienna Christmas market receives around 3 million visitors every year.How early do Christmas markets start in Europe? ›
When do Christmas markets start in Europe? Each European Christmas market has its own timeline, but many start in early or mid-November. Most Christmas markets run through December, and a few remain open into January.Is November a good time to visit Amsterdam? ›
Best Times to Visit Amsterdam for Smaller Crowds
“November and February are relaxed months in the Netherlands — and that's very true of Amsterdam,” explains van der Werk.
There is no main Amsterdam Christmas market, but many of the city's squares transform into Christmas markets packed with stalls selling food, mulled wine and seasonal gifts. Christmas in Amsterdam starts early as the Dutch day for gift-giving isn't Christmas day, it's the 5th December.What Christmas markets start in November? ›
- Cologne, Germany. Dates November 23 to December 23, 2023. ...
- Salzburg, Austria. Dates November 23, 2023 to January 1, 2024. ...
- Berlin, Germany. Dates November 20, 2023, to January 1, 2024. ...
- Budapest, Hungary. ...
- Prague, Czech Republic. ...
- Strasbourg, France. ...
- Gothenburg, Sweden. ...
- Bratislava, Slovakia.
- Budapest, Hungary. Budapest's markets take place from mid-November. ...
- Zagreb, Croatia. Zagreb's main Christmas attraction is its Ice Park. ...
- Lille, France. Lille's main market is held in Grand Place. ...
- Berlin, Germany. Berlin boasts more than 70 markets. ...
- Vienna, Austria. ...
- Bruges, Belgium. ...
- Copenhagen, Denmark. ...
- Basel, Switzerland.
Taking place from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30, 2023, the Düsseldorf Christmas market will have more than 200 elaborately decorated Christmas huts to wander, staged at various locations throughout the city center.
Every December, a small Christmas Market is set up in front of the Rijksmuseum at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Sip on mulled wine and shop at various stalls for the perfect presents to go under the Christmas tree.What is the best Christmas market to visit? ›
- Birmingham Christmas Market 2023. ...
- Leeds' Winter Favourites 2023. ...
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2023. ...
- Southbank Winter Festival 2023. ...
- Manchester Christmas Markets 2023. ...
- Winchester Christmas Market 2023. ...
- Brighton Christmas Festival 2023. ...
- York Christmas Market 2023.
“Strasbourg, capital of Christmas” is exceptionally renowned. Every year, close to two million visitors flock to the Alsatian capital to experience its enchanting market. For over a month, Strasbourg is imbued with a festive, spiritual ambiance with few parallels anywhere else in Europe.What is best European city for Christmas markets? ›
- 1.) Hamburg, Germany.
- 2.) Gendarmenmarkt (Berlin), Germany.
- 3.) Copenhagen, Denmark.
- 4.) Tallinn, Estonia.
- 5.) Nottingham, England.
- 6.) Cologne, Germany.
- 7.) Edinburgh, Scotland.
- 8.) Munich, Germany.
WHERE: Valkenburg, Netherlands. Christmas Town Valkenburg takes place in three historic caves deep underneath the city. It's the largest underground Christmas market in Europe and has recently been voted one of the best in the Netherlands.Are Christmas markets in Europe worth visiting? ›
The great thing about the best Christmas markets in Europe is that they're usually full of holiday fun for the whole family. In Heidelberg, home to Europe's most famous universities, visiting the Christmas market from November 27–December 22, 2023 is also a great way to explore the Old Town.Is Red Light District in Amsterdam open in Christmas? ›
'Yes, Amsterdam's red light district is open during Christmas,' the website reads. 'Most of the prostitutes who work here come from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary and they usually work during Christmas. For them, Christmas can be a good time to work because there is less competition which means more customers.Is the Amsterdam flower market open in December? ›
The Amsterdam Flower Market is open all year round. Including public holidays. Below are the opening hours for each day: Monday: 09:00 – 17:30.Is December a good time to visit Amsterdam? ›
Amsterdam in December is one of the coldest and rainiest months indeed but the festivity of Christmas markets with beautifully lit up canal houses are worth braving the chill. The city squares are thriving with holiday markets and the canals freeze into stunning ice skating rinks.What is the biggest Christmas market in the Netherlands? ›
The largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands are in Dordrecht, Deventer and Maastricht. Valkenburg offers a truly unique experience with underground Christmas markets set in caves. Experience the magic of Christmas on illuminated ice rinks in various Dutch city centers.