Tis the season to be jolly, and Amsterdam in the run-up to Christmas is one of the best places on earth. From sparkling lights along the canals, to restaurants by ice-rinks, to the coldest swim you’re ever likely to endure, here’s what’s on in Amsterdam this December.

December highlights

Amsterdam Light Festival

From 30 November until 21 January, witness Amsterdam in a completely different light. Literally. The theme for this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival is  ‘Existential’, meaning select international artists, including Ai Weiwei, are exploring what connects humans and how light can bring us all together. The best way to see it is by boarding a canal boat, but you can also walk and see all 35 sculptures on foot.

Jump into the Future

As well as over 90,000 objects dating from 1850 to the present day, this December at The Stedelijk Museum you can see Jump into the Future – Art from the 90’s and 2000’s. Witness contemporary art produced in a decade of turbulence, reflecting events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Yugoslav Wars, conflicts in the Middle East and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Food & Drinks

Everyone knows December is the month when dieting goes out the window and the chocolate/turkey/cheese feasts commence. Don’t feel guilty about hitting up these foodie hot spots, you can always diet again in January.

Café Jaap

Dutch pea soup, cheese and sausage, meatballs and fried eggs with ham… just a few of the winter warmers on the menu at Cafe Jaap. This hot spot (or should it be cold spot?) at the Jaap Eden Ice skating rink is run by the founders of Finch and Bar Moustache, and it’s just as good. Take a date, or just dine with friends before strapping on those ice-skates and making like Torville and Dean.


Looking for a cosy place for a Christmas dinner with friends or visiting family? You can’t go wrong with the French chef’s festive-themed menu at Razmataz. The special Christmas Eve menu costs £50 per person and promises excellent gin cocktails and wine pairings. Expect a three-course stunner suitable for all tastes, and an ‘Eve’ that’ll leave you stuffed as a Christmas stocking.

Tiqets’ top picks

When you’ve had enough of boozing at office parties, it’s time to think about your Christmas shopping. (Don’t pretend you’re not leaving it to the last minute again!) Here are two places to start you off.

Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt

Almost 20 artists will be selling their own work at the Pop Up Art Christmas Market on the weekend of 16 & 17 December 2017. Shop for last minute Christmas gifts in a fun, festive atmosphere and when your bags are full with unique ceramics, glass objects, jewelery, bags, mosaic sculptures and textiles, sit down and sip on a hot mulled wine and enjoy a performance by some of Amsterdam’s best live musicians.


The name Meesterlijk translates to masterly, which is fitting for this arts, design and food fair featuring products by a host of talented international designers. Sellers will gather at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam from December 1-3, just as they do every winter, transforming it into an inspirational City of Design. Prepare to be impressed, and to make more than a few pre-Christmas purchases!

And now for something completely different

It wouldn’t be the silly season without something totally… well, silly. Once you’re done with the NYE fireworks, which are known for turning the streets into something resembling Armageddon, how about this?

New Year’s Dip

Thousands wouldn’t dare, but thousands more crazy people would! If you want to join the masses on January 01 for an ice-cold, hangover-busting dip, head to Zandvoort aan Zee just 30 minutes west of Amsterdam and look for the swim-hats. Or simply listen for the screams. Now in its 57th year there’s no sign of this tradition ending, no matter how cold it gets. Take something warm for after. Brrrr.

What are you planning this December? We want to hear from you! Comment below for a chance to get featured in the next Amsterdam newsletter or read the blog for more travel inspiration

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Yasmine Gleghorn

Yasmine Gleghorn

Yasmine is an English/Spanish hybrid who's lost count of the countries she's lived in. Typing away in Tiqets' Content team, she's best known for taking European city breaks and complaining about the lack of baked goods in Dutch supermarkets.
Yasmine Gleghorn

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