Christmas and New Year’s holidays see many international students embarking on journeys to explore Europe. The neighbouring countries of Germany and France offer unlimited fun. However, not all is calm in the Netherlands during that time. If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands during your holidays, there are plenty of things to try out.
Illustration: Henk van Ruitenbeek
What: Ice skating
Where: Museumplein and on Radioweg, Amsterdam
When: Until 5 February
Price: Starting from €10
Details: The skating rinks are open only during a short period, so it might be a little busy. Worthwhile to enjoy the European winters.
What: Enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival
Where: Walking route along the Keizersgracht canal and several special events in the Amsterdam Botanical Garden and the Frankendael Park, Amsterdam
When: Until 22 January
Price: Boat tours starting from €20, some events are free
Details: Winter festival of light, art and water, where artists from over 40 countries present their work.
What: New Year’s Dive
Where: Various locations around the Netherlands
When: 1 January 2017
Price: Most are free
Details: There are over 60 locations, and the largest dive is held at the beach of Scheveningen.
What: New Year’s Celebrations
Where: Oosterdok, Amsterdam
When: New Years’s Eve
Details: The celebration is characterised by spectacular fireworks, nice pub crawls in
the city and much more fun gatherings.
What: Maastricht Christmas market and Magical Maastricht
Where: Vrijthof square, Maastricht
When: Until 1 January 2017
Price: Various fares for the skating rink, Ferris wheel and more; shops have products starting
Details: A Christmas experience different from other Dutch cities - a fully magical
What: Winter Efteling
When: Until 31 January 2017
Details: During wintertime, the Efteling is transformed into a winter-themed fairy tale
wonderland. You can also celebrate Christmas and New Year’s at the park.
What: Serious Request
When: From 18 until 24 December 2016
Price: You can donate money to charity by requesting a song
Details: During Serious Request, two DJs of the radio station 3FM will be broadcasting
from a glass house in Breda without eating solid food for six days. The aim is
to collect money for charity. This year’s charity is infants with pneumonia.
You can contribute to this campaign by making a request or taking action in
various ways. There are many people around the Glass House each day and evening.
What: The Hague Christmas market
Where: Lange Voorhout, The Hague
When: Until 23 December 2016
Details: The Christmas market is in the historical city centre of The Hague. Besides
various stalls, there are also music, theatre and various ensembles present.
What: Christmas Circus Nijmegen
Where: Jonkerbosplein, Nijmegen
When: Until 3 January 2017
Price: Starting from €20
Details: Around Christmas and New Year’s, various circuses can be visited around the
Netherlands. If you don’t mind travelling a tad further, you could also try the
Christmas Circus in Amsterdam, The Hague or Rotterdam.
Oliebollen, appelflappen (tasty apple fritters) and erwtensoep are must-try holiday delicacies. One can find these in almost every Dutch town and it would be worthwhile to try making the erwtensoep by oneself. Advocaat liquor and Christmas wreath cookies (kerstkransjes) are Christmastime delicacies to savour. Advocaat is the Dutch counterpart of eggnog, and the creamy beverage is simply yummy.