Christmas in Amsterdam

Christmas in Amsterdam

If you’re looking for

a fantastic place to spend the “most wonderful time of the year,” look no

further: Amsterdam has all the charm and cheer you could ask for, as well as

its own quirky Christmas traditions to keep you on your toes.

If you’ve ever seen


you know all about Santa Claus, but what you may not know is that his name

comes from the Dutch

Sinterklaas, who

is, indeed, a large old man in a red coat who brings presents once a year and

then disappears. There are,

however, a few essential differences: Santa Claus lives in the North Pole and

travels by flying sleigh, whereas Sinterklaas lives in Madrid and travels by

boat; Santa Claus employs (or enslaves) a crew of helper-elves, while

Sinterklaas relies on Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes, which look to most of the

world like clowns in blackface. Sinterklaas

arrives at port in mid-November to mark the beginning of the holiday season

each year, where he is greeted by a massive parade and even received by the

current monarch.

In the Netherlands, the biggest celebration of the Christmas season

takes place on December 5th, which is the eve of the day of

Sinterklaas. The 24th

and 25th are generally observed as holidays and children receive

another round of presents from “Christmas Man,” but many businesses stay open

and the pitch of celebration is nothing compared to the 5th. That

said, Amsterdam’s tourism industry is in top gear all through December, so

you’ll be treated to holiday sights, sounds and spirits whether you’re in town

for Sinterklaas Day, Christmas or both.

After the arrival and abrupt departure of the beloved

Sinterklaas and his dark helpers, Amsterdam hurdles toward the holidays with

characteristic gusto. The markets

that dot the streets of Amsterdam year-round become epicenters of holiday

cheer, churches give free concerts, and ice skating rinks open sporadically

around the city (if the temperature gets low enough, you can even skate on the

canals). The largest Christmas

market can be found in Museumplein, where the immense lawn is covered with

stalls hawking all sorts of sweets, toys and souvenirs and an ice rink lets you

glide past the Rijksmuseum.

Leidseplein, Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt are also notable for their

decorations, festivities and celebrations.

The best place to stay in Amsterdam to get the most out of

your holiday stay is in the city center, where a variety of markets, squares

and holiday hotspots will be within walking distance. We offer plenty of options in the highly central

Dam Square area, as well as near


and even

Museumplein. Book your stay today and look forward

to spending this Christmas in Amsterdam!