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Amsterdam Christmas 2013

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Plymouth, United...
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Amsterdam Christmas 2013

Thinking of visiting Amsterdam over the Christmas period 2013 (not for New Year). What is it like during this period and is Christmas Eve (24th) the main day?

When do shops, restaurants, museums, public transport etc close over this period?

Are there any places / events you would recommend?

Thank you very much for your help

15 replies to this topic
Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
posts: 22,700
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1. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

Shops will close Christmas day but public transport will run a Sunday service which just means less regular trams etc. Not like the UK where everything shuts down. Most major museums will be open Christmas day. Certainly the Rijks is.

If you are looking for a Christmasy feel or events then Amsterdam is not the place to come. It's a low key event here.

2. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

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Edited: 7:05 am, August 25, 2013
 
Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

I tend to avoid shopping streets and I don't eat out during that period, I spend time with family and friends over Christmas. So I may not have the clearest answer.

But as far as I know we don't have much extra going on except for shops that do extra decorations (but not as big as in London or German cities), maybe a small fair and tiny ice skating rink.

Note that we have two 'Christmas Days', the 25th and 26th.

Museums are probably closed then, but check the websites of the museums you're interested in.

I have no idea how many restaurants will be open but I can imagine you would need reservations on the 24th, 25th and 26th and they might have special menus only.

Getting an apartment instead of a hotel would enable you to cook your own meals and not be stuck without food. :-)

The 24th in the evening there will be celebrations in churches. Basically the only time of the year they are full.

Nowadays more and more shops are open on the 26th for example big furniture stores.

Dutch people celebrate in their homes or go to those furniture shops in hordes (don't ask me why, it's a huge mystery to me) and the beaches and forests are also packed with people trying to get out of the house with their family members.

Look here too: iamsterdam.com/en-GB/…december

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

Edited: 6:50 am, August 25, 2013
Amsterdam
posts: 1,453
reviews: 69
4. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

Christmas isn't such a big deal in Amsterdam. In the Netherlands we celebrate Sinterklaas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas) on December 5 and New Year is a big party. Christmas tends to be a quiet at-home time.

These traditions are in flux (as traditions always are of course), with Sinterklaas doing cultural battle with Santa Claus, who, if I remember correct;y, was cast in his present form by Coca-cola in the 1930s. Santa's Christmas is somehow emblematic of the process of globalisation, which sweeps away marginal traditions like Sinterklaas, and that explains some of the Dutch resistance to what you think of as Christmas.

These two jolly bearded types are, of course, the same persona, but they've been commercialised in different ways. Santa migrated towards the winter solstice to head of the pagans, while Sinterklaas clung to Saint Nicholas day.

If you want "Christmas", stay in the UK or do a search here for Christmas markets in Germany. I've never been, but they seem to be a big attraction.

Essen, Germany
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5. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

MrOther, never :-)? Then you should come at least once to see one of our Christmas Markets ...and you will hear Dutch language all around you:-))

Norway
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6. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

My husband and I have spent Christmas twice in Amsterdam, in 2010 and last year. It was Christmasy enough for us with all of the shop and street decorations - but then we're not used to spectacular displays.

We found that museums close early on Christmas Eve, but some were open on Christmas Day and/or Boxing Day.

In 2010 we booked a traditional Dutch restaurant for Christmas Day (Moeders: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g188590-d804416-Reviews-Moeders-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html) Note that you have to book early here. On Christmas Eve that year, and twice last year, we dined at our favorite Greek restaurant where we're treated like old friends: tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g188590-…

Quite a few restaurants are open on the 24th/25th/26th. Some of them should definitely be booked ahead of time. Last year we found that on the 26th many places near our apartment (in the Jordaan) were either closed or all booked up.

We found this website to be very useful: http://www.iens.nl/restaurant/Amsterdam The website isn't in English, but not hard to understand. I used the search term "kerst" in order to find out opening times at Christmas, but I'm afraid that I can't for the life of me remember how I did it! Maybe one of the Dutch posters can help out here.

I had read that quite a few shops would be open on the 26th, but found that this wasn't the case, at least in the Jordaan and Haarlemmerdijk area. Only a couple of small food stores were open. One of them (on Westerstraat) actually was open on Christmas Day as well!

We have enjoyed spending Christmas in Amsterdam very much, and highly recommend it if you don't mind it being low-key.

Groningen, The...
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7. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

I think Amsterdam is a very good choice for Christmas. Unlike the UK, many things stay open. I've quite often gone to the opera or ballet in the Muziektheater at this time. Public transport is reduced, but still runs. Many restaurants open, but note that the better ones will have fixed menus and you have to book. However some simpler places are open as normal (I've eaten a few times in Opera on Rembradtplein after a performance in the Muziektehater). Shops will all be shut though on the 25th and 26th.

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8. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

I'll be solo in Amsterdam 23 to 26 December 2013

Saint kitts and...
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9. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

I am also travelling (solo) Amsterdam this December , yet to book flight but I think I will arrive on 19th Dec. Any tips to share especially about clothing's (considering winter season).

Winter Haven...
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reviews: 1
10. Re: Amsterdam Christmas 2013

Doc -

Be prepared to dress in layers - as many as 4 or 5.

Take rain gear.

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