Though Amsterdam is amazing any time of year, Yuletide imbues the capital of the land of Sinterklaas (as Santa Claus is called here) with a particularly festive atmosphere.
Apart from the myriad usual sightseeing suspects, why not spend some time doing some particularly original and affordable Christmas shopping? Start with some of the cool little shops in the boho Jordaan neighbourhood. Or if you’re more into the bigger, more mainstream scene, you’ll want to make a beeline for “the beehive” — the De Bijenkorf department store in central Dam Square is open daily, and while a bit pricier, it’s free to browse – and who knows, you may find some lovely and especially irresistible decorations to brighten up your holidays back home.
Eat and drink your fill of typical Dutch treats at affordable prices. One tasty option is to explore the various street stands which pop up with seasonal (and often whimsical sounding) goodies such as oliebollen (fried, sugar-dusted dumplings) and appelflappen (apple pastries). Or sit down to a hearty Holland breakfast at Omelegg (?Ferdinand Bolstraat 143), or homely lunch with cosy atmosphere and attractive prices at one of two locations of Grenwoods (Singel 103 or Keisersgracht 465).
Make like Hans Brinker and go ice skating. Jaap Eden is Amsterdam’s largest rink, open through February. Round and round we go!
Amsterdam’s exciting nightlife keeps going strong all winter long, but of course the pinnacle comes on New Year’s Eve – and at many restaurants, you’ll want to book ahead for NYE dinner. Afterward, the list of clubs throwing NYE bashes is a long one, indeed – or you could just go more free-form and stroll popular going-out areas of central Amsterdam such as Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein, and Rembrandtplein. An Amsterdam good time, indeed! 😉
Photo | Richard P J Lambert