6 Dutch New Year’s Traditions

Are you planning to spend New Year’s in the Netherlands? Curious about how to spend the New Year in your serviced apartment? Just like many other countries across the world, the Lowlands hosts many spectacular fireworks displays. The Dutch gather each New Year’s Eve (with exception to certain circumstances…) in city or town centres to admire the show and perhaps blast a few firecrackers themselves. Or a couple of cars for that instance, but more about that later. There are definitely some surprising and quirky ways of celebrating New Year’s. We’ve listed some of them below:

1. Indulging in Oliebollen

When the oliebollen trucks park all around the city, you know winter season has begun! These delicious greasy treats are a precedent of the popular American dognut. Traditionally, they come plain or with raisins and are sprinkled with a generous heap of icing sugar. You can also get them with cherries, chocolate… another sweet treat are appelflappen with… you guess it: apples. Warning: highly addictive!

2. The New Year’s Dive

Getting the jitters just reading it? Well, in the Netherlands, ice swimming is a thing. Wim Hof aka The Iceman has made it popular worldwide, but ice dips have been practiced in the Lowlands since the 1960’s (in Scheveningen to be exact). The Dutch plunge into the ice-cold sea or lakes wearing bright orange Unox beanies. Whether it’s for the health benefits, or just to kick start the year afresh – we are not sure.

3. Fireworks and… Burning Stuff

Yes, you read correctly. The Dutch have a fascination for fireworks… and burning cars (in the past phone booths). They really like to start the New Year with a BANG!. You might feel disappointed this year, however, because the sale of consumer fireworks is forbidden, with exception of snaps and sparklers. Two years back, the Dutch spent a mind-blowing 77 million EUR on fireworks of all sorts – that’s how much they like them. About the seemingly pyromaniac traditions: you can burn your Christmas tree in assigned places in the city. Participate in Carbidschieten and explode milk canisters. And… in Brabant and Drenthe, you can even burn a car or two. SA advises against trying it yourself.

4. Playing the Big Lotto 

Every New Year’s, millions of Dutch citizens watch in anticipation the big draw on television organized by Staatsloterij. It’s usually an accumulation of around 15 to 30 million euros. ServicedApartments.nl include a TV, so you can watch the draw from the comfort of your sofa. Managing expectations is important, but who knows: maybe this year will be even luckier than you expected!

5. Oudejaarsconferentie on TV

If you know Dutch… or are learning, tune into the Oudejaarsconferentie (New Year’s Conference) on NPO 1, RTL4 and SBS6. Switch on your television and laugh at a humorous summary of the past year hosting a leading comedian. In 2021, it will be led by Javier Guzman under the slogan Staying in Despair

6. Bohemian Rhapsody 

“ But why?” – you ask. Well, starting on Christmas Day and ending on New Year’s Eve, Radio2000 announces their top best tracks of all time and… almost every year, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody ranks first! We don’t deny Queen shaped the music industry, but what about Adele? Whoever you decide to vote for this year, ramp up the music and get dancing in your living room!

There you have it! ServicedApartments.nl has prepared a full list of activities you can participate in (choose wisely!) to make you feel Dutch as can be. Our apartments are all equipped with a TV, so tuning in to the New Year’s Conference while munching on oliebollen will not be an issue… Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar!