5 Reasons to Get Festive in The Netherlands

Are you doubting whether to spend Christmas in the land van Oranje? If you are into celebrating the old-fashioned way in beautiful, historical cities, then it’s the place for you! The country turns into a beautiful snow scenery, and the old buildings give out a unique charm. There are plenty of things to explore at this time of the year. Below we’ve listed the top 5:

1. Winter from a Fairytale

The canals look particularly stunning covered in snow. Think of images from vintage postcards: slender historical houses lined with frozen canals filled with ice skaters (if it’s cold enough). Snow-covered rooftops and little cobble streets decorated with wreaths and twinkle lights. There’s nothing cosier than enjoying this view from a café.

2. The Best Place to Ice-skate

Will you be lucky enough to enjoy Elfstedentocht this year? We hope so! Let’s manage expectations, though... the last edition was held in 1997: when the temperature remained - 10 for over a week. Otherwise, there is a high risk of collapsing in the ice. See the daredevil skaters in this video below. No one wants an unexpected ice swim :)

Thankfully, the country is also full of artificial ice-skating spots. Check out the beautiful rink by Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, or glide around the Railway Museum in Utrecht.

3. Get into the Festive Spirit Early

The festive season in the Netherlands begins already in mid-November with the arrival of Sinterklaas. You can watch the jolly bearded man arrive at a different Dutch city on TV (finally proof that he exists!). On 5th December, children traditionally leave their shoes out overnight in hope of receiving small gifts. There is also a tradition of making up little personalized riddles for family members and exchanging gifts as a reward. New tradition to try with friends?

4. The Light Festival in Amsterdam

Every year, hundreds of artists from all over the world submit their fascinating light constructions, hoping to display their work. You can admire the beautiful illuminations from the comfort of a cruise boat taking you around the city centre. It’s a wonderful experience. The festival begins on 1st December and continues to 22nd January (tickets can be purchased here).

5. Indulging in olliebollen – guilt-free!

Starting from November to New Year’s, the Dutch eat lots of deep-fried doughnuts sprinkled with sugar. They come either plain or with a variety of fillings. You might wonder how the Dutch manage to stay fit! The secret must lie in cycling each day...