14 things to tick off your Amsterdam winter bucket list

  1. Watch the Light Festival from the water - This yearly event stages exhibitions and displays from world-class artists, with the illuminating artwork in the streets and canals. Take a cruise and see the festival at night as it’s reflected into the 17th century canals.
  2. Go ice skating outside Rijskmuseum - ICE* Amsterdam takes over Museumplein from November to January each year. The setting, with the impressive Rijskmuseum and beautiful green surroundings, paired with the ice rink and chalets, all add up to some seriously seasonal vibes.
  3. Have hot chocolate in a brown café - These historic spots make up much of Amsterdam’s cultural heritage. The quaint establishments, with their warm, brown interior, are the perfect place to warm up.
  4. Witness the WinterParade - Dinner and a show takes on a whole new meaning as 500 guests are served a delicious menu at a 120m long table which also acts as a stage for all manner of theatrical performances.
  5. Take your skates to the canals - It doesn’t happen every year, but when the canals freeze over you’ll find the locals with their skating boots on showing off their skills. Join in for this completely unique experience.
  6. Wrap up for a walk in Vondelpark - Amsterdam’s most popular green space, and for good reason, Vondelpark is a massive 47 hectares. The diverse park, offering vast open spaces, areas of dense foliage and beautiful lakes, makes for a lovely winter walk.
  7. Warm up with the local cuisine - Gastronomy in Holland steps up a notch as the cold weather sets in. Oliebollen, Dutch donuts, and appelflappen, hot apple pastries, are just two to choose from.
  8. Enjoy National Tulip Day - Get down to Dam Square in January as hundreds of thousands of tulips are laid out into a beautiful arrangement. You can pick a bunch for yourself for free, too.
  9. Try a different kind of New Year - Amsterdam’s traditional New Year celebrations are legendary, but head back in February and see in the Chinese New Year. Amsterdam’s multiculturalism means the New Year celebrations are authentic and exciting.
  10. Get your fill of gezelligheid - Whether that means warming up by a real wood fire in one of Amsterdam’s restaurants, or sitting down for a local beer in a cosy pub.
  11. Learn something new - There’s some fantastic museum exhibitions to visit, like We Have a Dream at Nieuwe Kerk which looks at 20th civil rights figures including Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.
  12. One for the fashionistas - Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam takes place every January. Although dates are still to be confirmed, the event is highly regarded, with designers from both the local and international scene.
  13. Enjoy some retail therapy - On the subject of fashion, make sure to head to Holland for Amsterdam’s January sales. Unlike the UK, Holland only has 2 sales a year: one in winter and one in summer, so they go big.
  14. Taste some flippin’ good food - Head to Pancakes Amsterdam for an authentic taste of this Dutch breakfast staple. Opt for traditional toppings such as sugar and lemon, or go all out with options including bacon, camembert and chocolate.

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