Looking for the best Netherlands Christmas markets? Known for its tulip fields, scenic canals, and rustic windmills, The Netherlands is a fantastic year-round destination.
But if you want to experience an unforgettable Christmas holiday, there is no better time to visit the country than during this festive season.
After all, winter in the Netherlands means spectacular light festivals, bustling ice-skating rinks, and cosy Dutch Christmas markets. Indeed, the Netherlands’ Christmas markets are some of the best in Western Europe.
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Christmas in The Netherlands
In December, the Netherlands transforms into a festive wonderland. Twinkling lights, delightful Dutch treats, and joyful carolers fill the air. Central to the festivities are the country’s renowned Christmas markets.
Growing annually in popularity, these markets offer an intimate look into Dutch holiday traditions. From sipping hot glühwein to tasting oliebollen and selecting handcrafted gifts, the experience is unparalleled.
Planning a visit in 2023? Christmas markets in The Netherlands promise to be grander than ever. Highlights include the Amsterdam Christmas market 2023 and various other enchanting destinations.
Why You Should Explore the Christmas Markets in The Netherlands
The Netherlands Christmas markets are more than just a spot to shop for fancy trinkets and knickknacks. They are a place to cosy up with friends and family over mugs of glühwein (mulled wine) and bites of oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts).
Skate your heart out at the ice rink. Marvel at the dazzling light displays. Sample sumptuous holiday delicacies. The Christmas markets in Holland are a must-see winter attraction.
- Christmas markets in the Netherlands are a relatively new trend compared to more established ones in other countries. But they are just as impressive. They are less crowded. Still, they are quieter, less commercialized and not cramped. So, you get to enjoy a genuinely homey Christmas.
- There’s no better place to find delicious seasonal delicacies than in the Netherlands’ Christmas markets. The food is fabulous. Try reibekuchen (fried potato pancakes), pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes) and flammlachs (roasted salmon). Don’t miss the popular gluhwein. For kids, there’s hot chocolate with whip cream.
- The shops are diverse. Whether you are looking for Dutch Christmas decorations, customized gifts, or unique souvenirs, you’ll find them all and more in the various Netherlands Christmas markets.
- The lights are breathtaking. Christmas decorations in Holland are mesmerizing, and you feel the holiday spirit everywhere. No matter what part of the country you go to, Dutch Xmas markets glimmer with lovely fairy lights that are breathtakingly out of this world.
Best Dutch Christmas Markets in 2023
Undoubtedly, the Netherlands will have some of the best Christmas markets in Europe in 2023. But where do you find these holiday spots? Here are our top picks:
Amsterdam Christmas Markets
There are some fantastic Christmas markets in Amsterdam. Here are our top picks:
Ice Village Amsterdam Christmas Market 2023
Ice Village Amsterdam 2023 Opening Dates: 11th November 2023 – 5th February 2024
Right next to the ice rink in Museumplein, the Ice Village evokes an authentic winter feeling. What’s most Christmassy than the combination of skating and shopping?
Find everything, from clothing to jewellery, Christmas trinkets to Christmas gifts, and hot chocolate to hot waffles. There are fireplaces where you can warm up and snack on delicious delicacies.
Amsterdam Winter Paradise
Amsterdam Winter Paradise Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 14th December 2022 –1st January
Boasting the merriest holiday event in Holland, the Amsterdam Winter Paradise is the place to enjoy the ultimate Christmas experience. Not only will you find a plethora of Christmas stalls and two ice skating rinks.
There will also be new additions to the attractions, including a Boomerang slide and an Après-ski village. Kids will love the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel.
Funky Xmas Market
Funky Xmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 17th December Only
If you’re looking for handmade art, accessories, and souvenirs, this Amsterdam winter market will amaze you with its groovy and artsy atmosphere.
It may appeal more to adults, but children can still enjoy the array of handcrafted toys and delicious homemade Christmas delicacies.
Pure Markt Wintermarkt
Pure Markt Wintermarkt 2023 Dates: 17th December
Pure Markt Wintermarkt is a popular farmers’ market that frequently moves around the capital, Pure Markt will be setting up at Frankendael Park for its winter schedule.
Those looking for rare artisan products will find a mishmash of vintage, designer, and locally-made items. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love this bazaar, which focuses on food-related local and international goodies.
Where to stay nearby: Looking for an elegant but cosy place to stay with your family on your winter holiday? Check out Ambassade Hotel for spacious and homey accommodations by the canal in the city centre. View Prices and Availability for your dates here>>
Netherlands Christmas Markets in Other Cities
There are plenty of Christmas markets in The Netherlands to visit outside of Amsterdam. Here are our top picks:
Valkenburg Christmas Market
Valkenburg Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 17th November – 30th December
The charming town of Valkenburg, about three hours from Amsterdam, is home to one of the most amazing Christmas markets in the Netherlands.
Located beneath the ruins of the Valkenburg castle, the market hosts more than 50 stalls and miniature village dioramas where you can listen to Christmas stories.
Where else will you find an underground Christmas bazaar decked with thousands of fairy lights and historical charcoal drawings on the walls?
Where to stay nearby: A cosy bed and breakfast located in the town centre, B&B No. 42 offers all the comforts and conveniences of a home away from home.
Maastricht Christmas Market
Maastricht Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 1st December – 30th December
Set in Vrijthof Square, this enthralling Christmas market features stalls of holiday items and delicious food along its gorgeous alleys. Be sure to sample savoury bratwurst, warm glühwein, or a cup of local coffee with a splash of Schrobbelèr liqueur. It also has a giant Ferris wheel, a brightly-lighted carrousel, and a sheltered skating rink.
Where to stay nearby: After a long day of shopping, unwind at The Dutch, a full-service, self-service hotel in the bustling Wyck district.
Haarlem Christmas Market
Haarlem Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 8th – 10th December
In Haarlem’s city centre, you will find the quintessential European Christmas market, with cosy wooden chalets weaving through the streets, a church tower blazing with lights, and carols filling the air.
Browse through the Haarlem Christmas Market stalls selling gourmet gifts and lovely handicrafts. Then warm up by the fire pit and relish classic holiday favourites. The giant Christmas tree in the city square is a scene stealer.
Where to stay nearby: The Rose is a quaint bed and breakfast perfect for families travelling with kids. It features a kitchen, a private bathroom, and a seating area.
Deventer Christmas Market
Deventer Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: 16th – 17th December
From Ebenezer Scrooge to Oliver Twist to the Ghost of Christmas Past, you’ll meet them all in the Dickens Festival as the city steps into 19th-century England in Charles Dicken’s books.
Stroll down the historic quarter lined with open carts selling roasted chestnuts, filling soups, baked potatoes, and mulled wine. At the end of the route is Deventer Christmas market with over 75 stalls and shops.
Where to stay nearby: FINCH is a charming boutique hotel in downtown Deventer. It features spacious family rooms with private bathrooms, free WiFi, and a complimentary American or vegetarian breakfast.
Delft Christmas Market
Delft Christmas Market 2023 Opening Dates: Unannounced
Delft Christmas Market lies along a scenic canal and stretches into the city square. Wooden chalet stalls flank the alleys, offering a wide range of holiday décors, handcrafted souvenirs, and delicious food.
Enjoy the Christmas music as carolers perform on the streets.
Where to stay nearby: An old cigar factory in the city centre, Hotel Johannes Vermeer Delft, features luxurious family rooms with stunning views of the canal.
Royal Christmas Fair, The Hague
2022 Opening Dates: 8th December – 23rd December
One of the country’s biggest and busiest holiday celebrations, the Royal Christmas Fair takes place in some of the Hague’s most famous landmarks, including museums, churches, the Binnenhof, and the Noordeinde Palace.
The Christmas market, located in Lange Voorhout, features over 110 Christmas stalls, lit up with thousands of glittering LED lights. You’ll find unique gift ideas, lovely decorations, fashion jewellery, and holiday food favourites.
Where to stay nearby: Located in the heart of the Hague, the Collector features comfortable family rooms and stunning city views.
Leiden Floating Christmas Market
2022 Opening Dates: 16th December – 28th December
Built on top of pontoons on the Rijn River, this floating winter village of brightly-lit chalets is hands down the most unique among all the Netherlands Christmas markets. It has over 90 stalls where handcrafted items, winter garments, décors, food, and drinks are available.
The market also features a floating ice rink, a Sinterklaas house, and a stage for Christmas performances.
Where to stay nearby: B&B Hart van Leiden is a family-friendly bed and breakfast a short distance from the city centre. It features expansive family rooms with a kitchen, dining area, and seating area.
Winter Village Amstelveen
2022 Opening Dates: 3rd December – 8th January
Amstelveen lies six miles south of Amsterdam and boasts a magical winter wonderland of snow-covered treetops, beautifully-lit streets, natural ice-skating rinks, and a bustling Christmas market with over 60 stalls.
Shop for handcrafted gifts, sip a cup of chocolate milk, or watch a figure skating competition.
Where to stay nearby: Delve into the town’s history and stay at Station Amstelveen, a hundred-year-old train station converted into a modern bed and breakfast with five spacious rooms.
Netherlands Christmas Markets FAQs
The Netherlands embraces Christmas with a mix of tradition and whimsy. Streets and canals are adorned with twinkling fairy lights, giving cities a dreamy glow.
Homes often feature wooden Christmas trees, hand-painted ornaments, and intricately designed candles. The iconic Dutch clogs may be set out in anticipation of gifts, and wreaths of evergreen branches grace many doors.
The blend of classic Dutch style with festive holiday flair makes the Netherlands exceptionally picturesque during the holiday season.
December in the Netherlands is packed with winter wonder. Ice-skating rinks pop up, particularly on frozen canals, providing a picturesque setting.
Attend the ‘Festival of Lights’ in Amsterdam, where artists globally create mesmerizing light sculptures. Explore the snow-blanketed countryside, ideal for picturesque winter walks or cycle rides.
Also, attend a traditional Sinterklaas parade, where St. Nicholas arrives on a steamship with his mischievous helpers. The month is a blend of festive fun and serene winter beauty.
Christmas in the Netherlands is a two-day affair, celebrated on both December 25th and 26th.
Attend a midnight church service on Christmas Eve, a cherished Dutch tradition. Feast on ‘kerststol,’ a Dutch Christmas bread filled with dried fruits and almond paste.
Visit historic homes and museums, many of which are specially decorated and open to the public for Christmas. Join in local celebrations, with caroling, live nativities, and horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Above all, immerse yourself in the cozy Dutch concept of ‘gezelligheid’ – a feeling of warmth and togetherness.
Amsterdam’s Christmas markets typically begin in late November and run through December. They are a highlight of the festive season.
Locations vary from the city’s heart, like the Dam Square and Museumplein, to the more quirky, like the Funky Xmas Market in Westergas. Dates can change annually, but for a precise experience, considering the Amsterdam Christmas market 2023, always check closer to the season.
These markets are brimming with food stalls, unique gifts, ice rinks, and festive workshops, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.