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100 tips for Christmas in Amsterdam: the ultimate guide for 2023

31 December 2023

Christmas in Amsterdam is my favourite time of the year! And it seems to get better and more festive every year. Early December, all the festive lights are back in the shopping streets. The huge Christmas tree on Dam square is usually put up right after the Dutch celebration of ‘Sinterklaas’ (let’s say around December 8). And did you already spot the artworks from the Amsterdam Light Festival? If you are visiting to celebrate Christmas in Amsterdam this year, there’s no need to figure everything out yourself.

 | TIP: check out our complete list with Christmas Markets in Amsterdam in 2023 here >>

Christmas in amsterdam: more than 100 local tips

In this complete guide, we listed all you need to know, from the best events around Christmas time in Amsterdam to the nicest Christmas Markets and good restaurants that are open for Christmas Eve, the first day of Christmas or Boxing Day. Enjoy the most wonderful time in Amsterdam!

best things to do during christmas in amsterdam

MAGICAL: Hortus by Night is back

The popular Hortus will be open extra long again this winter with the ‘Hortus by Night’ evenings from December 21 to January 7. Put on your thick sweater and discover the botanical garden at night. The Hortus creates a cozy winter atmosphere with thousands of glittering lights in the garden. Take a fairytale evening walk here, listen to an exciting story by the campfire or go to a stimulating exhibition. In the colourfully lit greenhouses, you walk past centuries-old palms and special tropical plants. Curl up close to the campfire on the winter terrace, while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine. There are various special events for the kids. And of course, the Orangery is open for something tasty to eat. Click here for more info >>

gO ICE SKATING in amsterdam

Fancy putting on your skates? There is really no need to wait until there is natural ice!

  • New in 2023 is the skating rink on IJburg that you can find at De Japanner. Fun activities for kids are also organized there.
  • And do you want to practically combine a round of skating with doing the festive shopping? This year there will also be an ice skating rink at the Stadshart of Amstelveen!
  • Would you like to know where else there are skating rinks in Amsterdam? Check this list with 4 tips >>

festive vibes at the Winterparade

De Winterparade is open from Friday 22 to Saturday 30 December in the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam North. Go to festive performances in the theater tents, dance to Christmas classics in the silent disco and browse the stalls at the Christmas market. Of course there is also plenty of good food to eat and the pans with mulled wine are on the fire. Curious about the program? Check it here and book your tickets on time >>

Xmas movie nights at different locations in Amsterdam

Watching Christmas movies at home is nice (did you see this list with 31 new Xmas movies on Netflix yet?), but watching a Christmas movie on the big screen is even nicer. Especially if it is also at a special location in Amsterdam. There are several Christmas movie night pop-ups this winter. I list them for you below:

  • Cinema Palace at Museum ‘t Kromhout: Are you going to Amsterdam’s first Christmas cinema? Museum ‘t Kromhout transforms into a Christmas mecca: think Christmas lights, mistletoe, misshapen sweaters, Wham! on repeat, a tipsy elf behind the bar and a heart-warming selection of Christmas films, such as Catch me if you can and Home Alone. Check the schedule here and reserve your tickets >>
  • Rooftop Movie Nights at Hotel Areana: Remember how much fun it was last summer? Good news, the Rooftop Movie Nights are back this Christmas with a special viewing on December 24. They will be showing three different films: 1:00 PM – Home Alone 1, 3:30 PM – Home Alone 2 and 6:00 PM – The Holiday. Reserve your tickets here >>

The World circus in Carré

Normally this is our annual Christmas tradition as a family! For the 37th time, the World Christmas Circus is back in Carré from Wednesday, December 20, 2023 to Sunday, January 7, 2024. Fun with the whole family, but certainly also with the two of you. Tickets always go fast, so don’t wait too long for the best seats. More info >>

The most beautiful Christmas concerts in Amsterdam

Do you want to visit a real Christmas concert this year? Various locations have festive programming in the coming weeks. I’ll list a number of tips:

  • Het Concertgebouw: From the Nutcracker to Christmas concerts with the most beautiful film music and performances for the whole family. The Concertgebouw’s agenda is full of beautiful performances. Tickets & more info >>
  • Candle Light Concerts: How special? Listen to a Candle Light Concert with the most beautiful Christmas music under the starry sky of the Maritime Museum. Tickets & more info >>
  • Muziekgebouw aan het IJ: It’s a tradition of the Muziekgebouw that they host a number of special Christmas concerts in December. Also this year! You can discover exactly what you can listen to on their website. Tickets & more info >>

Die Zauberflöte at the National Opera & Ballet

When I was in New York for Christmas, the whole family went to see Die Zauberflöte. Quite a journey, but incredibly impressive to experience an opera. This month the performance can be seen in Amsterdam until December 28 and there are still several tickets available. More info >>


Have you ever been to Fabrique des Lumières on the Westergas? Whether you are going for the first time or have already seen several of the immersive experiences… You don’t want to miss Destination Cosmos: The Immersive Space Experience and it can be seen until January 7. This spectacular exhibition takes you to outer space. In about 40 minutes you will be launched from the bottom of the earth for a journey past planets, nebulae, gas clouds and supernovae and you will experience for yourself how enormous the universe is. Good to know: in the morning the Dali exhibition can be seen at Fabrique des Lumières and in the afternoon and evening this new exhibition. More info >>

 | TIP: Tickets will be for sale via Tiqets and Get Your Guide and sometimes they do discounts here!

MORE festive tips for the Westergas

  • Cheese fondue at Restaurant Smelt: Cheese fondue phenomenon Smelt is back at the Westergas! I’ve already been and it’s very tasty as always, read the review here. During the dark winter months, Smelt serves all its classics for the visitors of Westergas, such as the Swiss fondue consisting of beautiful mountain cheeses and the Dutch fondue made from home-grown cheeses such as Le Petit Doruvael and Twentse Bunkerkaas. New this year is the Italian fondue made from Provolone Piccante, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina and Taleggio. All fondues are served with crispy sourdough bread from Fort Negen and fresh steamed seasonal vegetables. More info & reservations >>
  • Iglo’s at Bar Kantoor – until February 29: How fun is this? The terrace of Bar Kantoor has been transformed into a true winter wonderland. You will have a unique experience here all winter long through the cozy and heated igloos that stand around the entrance to Bar Kantoor. Enjoy a tempting Boozy Brunch on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Or join us in the evening for a delicious menu for 2 people or more for €39.50 per person and lots of winter magic. More info & reservations >>

Christmas market at the Museum square 

The ice skating rink at the Museumplein may not be happening this year, but the Ice Village Amsterdam Christmas Market is open. Full of winter chalets with artisan food and handmade (lifestyle) products. What I also like is that this market is also open on December 25 and 26. So perfect for a quick stroll before Christmas dinner, with your date or lover or the whole family if you don’t want to sit inside all day. This will be one of the nicest traditional Christmas markets in Amsterdam in 2023, which is also fun to visit with the kids!

Date: till December 26 2023
More info:

more Kerstmarkten tips

leukste kerstmarkten amsterdam, gezelligste kerstmarkten amsterdam, beste kerstmarkten amsterdam 2023

© Your Little Black Book

Amsterdam Light Festival 2023/2024

For the 12th time, the Amsterdam Light Festival 2023 gives our city a magical glow this winter. Until January 21, 2024 you will find many light artworks in and around the center of Amsterdam! During the 12th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival, the light artworks take you into the world of AI and its application to art. This year, the overarching theme of the Amsterdam Light Festival is ‘LOADING… Revealing Art, AI and Tech’. This year the Festival Hub in the Hoftuin is extra fun, where a catering point will also be open between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM. From Thursday to Sunday you can also reserve a special Amsterdam Light Festival 3-course dinner at Dignita before you go for a walk.

Because the boat trips and canal cruises around the festival are also back, there are Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Tours with different departure locations, types of boats and packages can be booked. You can book both a semi-open and a fully closed boat. I think the best time is always around 6:30 or 7 p.m. when it is really nice and dark. You can then go straight to a nice restaurant or a cozy pub!

⋙ Boat tour in a closed off boat 

Boat tour in a semi open boat (and perfect for photos!)

⋙ Boat tour with unlimited drinks 

 Boat tour in a saloon boat

Winter Market at Chamuyero

A fun and especially tasty Winter Market at Chamuyero Carnicería & Deli. You’ll find this small market right in front of their delicatessen, packed with seasonal specialties, hot drinks and delicious gifts for loved ones. The Winter Market is still open from December 20 to 30. More info >>

Eating out at Christmas in Amsterdam?

Very nice and delicious to see that so many restaurants in Amsterdam are serving a special menu for the holidays this year. Many restaurants are also open at Christmas or on Christmas Eve. What those are? I listed 44 good restaurant tips for Christmas in Amsterdam >>

order or take out a festive dinner in Amsterdam

  • Daalder*: Go on a culinary trip with chef Dennis Huwaë from restaurant Daalder in Amsterdam, awarded with a Michelin star. The Christmas menu consists of five courses and is also available in a vegetarian variant. Extra nice: you also receive Dennis’s playlist with your order, which gives you the feeling that you are in his restaurant. Want to give away a box? The box can be transformed into a festive gift in no time!
  • getvoila: The Christmas menu from star chefs Peter Gast or Jonathan Zandbergen, or from celebrity chef Julius Jaspers or the signature menu from the famous German star chef Max Strohe, getvoila stands for the most beautiful dishes, prepared with the best ingredients. The ready to finish boxes consist of menus from renowned chefs and restaurants that have been created and prepared exclusively for getvoila. From Michelin and Gault&Millau to today’s trendsetters, television chefs and local trendsetters. From both the Netherlands and Germany!
  • Lindenhoff: Maybe the most culinary farm of the Netherlands: Lindenhoff. Supplier of the best restaurants, but they also sell delicious products for you at home! Especially for Christmas, they have made a nice selection, for example a beef wellington that you only have to put in the oven, a luxurious cheese plate or a delicious pear-praline cake. Warning: it’s hard to choose between all those goodies!
  • NENI Amsterdam: Are you a fan of eastern Mediterranean cuisine? Then get something different than the obvious Christmas dishes and opt for a special Christmas box from restaurant NENI Amsterdam. This is filled with a balagan menu, but just a little more luxurious and extensive. The box consists of four mezze, two main courses and a dessert and you can also supplement it with a festive Christmas cocktail from the upstairs bar The Lemonman. Pick up only!
  • Cook Like a Chef: Be your own master chef with the boxes from Cook Like a Chef. This is next level home cooking, where all components of the dishes are prepared and packaged and delivered to you. All you have to do is finish dinner. The menus consist of dishes from various Dutch star chefs and include champagne, luxurious nuts and chocolates.

The Amsterdam Winter paradise

This winter wonderland event has now become a household name in December. And to continue the Christmas atmosphere, this event will last until the end of December. This makes The Amsterdam Winter Paradise also a perfect Christmas market in Amsterdam to visit during the Christmas holidays! This year this Christmas market, which is actually much more of a mega-large Christmas festival than a normal Christmas market, will be even bigger. With lots of live music, various bars, entertainment for the kids and more.

Date: till December 30th 2023
More info & times:

kerstmarkten amsterdam 2021 overzicht

© Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs

More KIDS-PROOF TIPS for the xmas holiday

Do you want to do something fun with the minis? There are all kinds of fun things to do in and around Amsterdam in the coming weeks.

  • Opening of Club Abbey: The club for messy busy parents with the best intentions. That’s how they describe themselves at Abbey! This Saturday you can come here with the little ones to toast the opening of the new clubhouse every hour. Walk-in is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info >> 
  • Spot Penguin eggs at Artis: It is that time again! The cute penguins in Artis have laid their eggs and are sitting proudly on top of them. And if you’re lucky you’ll see some chicks walking around! More info >> 
  • Ice skating at the Jaap Eden IJsbaan: Which Amsterdammer has not learned to skate on this iconic rink? Nice as a winter outing or maybe you want to start lessons for the little ones. Either way, a fun and affordable outing! More info >> 
  • Circus Zanzara in the Westerpark: Circus Zanzara has settled in the Westerpark and if we know one thing here at home, it is that a circus performance is guaranteed to be a hit with the little ones. From December 15 to January 7 you can see the new show Felix Terra here. More info >>
  • WONDR is all about Christmas: Cuddling with huge bears, playing in a huge ball pit, the magic of a winter wonderland; At experience WONDR you can now enjoy their Christmas & Frozen special. Happy Holidays! More info >>

‘old fashioned’ movie night in Tuschinski

Tuschinski remains my favorite cinema! When was the last time you went to the cinema? Precisely ;-)! That is why this tip should not be missing from this list of fun things to do during the holidays in Amsterdam. Because what gives you more Christmas feeling than red velvet? Enjoy a bowl of popcorn and a drink and enjoy the beautiful renovated halls in this iconic cinema in Amsterdam. Click here for the movie schedule >> 

Sniff up some culture (with the kids)

Perhaps your good intention this year was to do something more often in terms of art and culture in the city. In any case, I can recommend everyone to buy a Museum Card for 2024. Because it remains incredibly inspiring to occasionally visit the beautiful museums in Amsterdam. In addition, many cool art experiences have been added in recent years, like Fabrique des Lumières which I already tipped earlier. Below are a number of tips that I regularly visit:

  • STRAAT, the street art museum in Amsterdam-Noord.
  • MOCO, for Banksy and more modern art.
  • Rijksmuseum, there are plenty of fun things for kids to do during the Christmas holidays.
  • H’ART Museum, have you been to the ‘Hermitage’ yet after the name change? During the Christmas holidays they have extensive programming. For example, there is now an exhibition about Amsterdam Tokos.
  • Allard Pierson, do you have kids who are already in that ‘Egypt phase’ like my own son? At this museum in Amsterdam they have a room full of mummies!
  • Huis Willet-Holthuysen, during the Christmas holidays the kids can go out in the museum with their dog Sammie. Also nice: entrance for the kids is free. More info >>

more Museum tips

pop-up christmas bar at boom chicago

This might be the ultimate Christmas pop-up of this year! And good news: on Saturdays and Sundays the Pop-up Christmas Bar at Boom Chicago is open from 5 p.m. There are mocktails for the kids and the stronger work for mom and dad ;-). The idea of this pop-up? Easy! OVER THE TOP CHRISTMAS. In terms of decoration, in terms of drinks and yes… it just doesn’t get more Christmas than that! The Christmas Pop-up Bar is open until December 27 Want to know more? Read all about it here and make a reservation >>

Go for a walk in and around Amsterdam

Want to get a breath of fresh air in the city or in the forest? With these tips you can walk a different route every day:

Street Art in Amsterdam

Discover all the street art in Amsterdam with these walks or cycling routes. And end the day, for example, with a visit to STRAAT Museum on the NDSM wharf. Have a look at the 4 street art routes in Amsterdam >>

Go for a jeu-de-boule

Want to do something fun during the day with friends? Then go to Mooie Boules in Amsterdam Oost. A Jeu de Boules court and food hall in one! Here you can have a nice drink, but also throw a ball. In addition to the location in Amsterdam, Mooie Boules now also has businesses in Rotterdam, Delft, Eindhoven and Haarlem. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you want to be sure of a job for you and your date or your group of friends, it is best to make a reservation!


Do you have something to celebrate soon? The Festive Afternoon Tea at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is perhaps the MOST festive of the year. I’m going to taste it myself soon, but I’ve already seen some and the team has outdone themselves again this year! Good news, because the Festive Afternoon Tea can be reserved every day, especially for the month of December. Reserve a table here >>

cheese fondue o’clock

Of course… I think we’ve all been stirring a pan of cheese fondue from the supermarket. But let’s face it… really fresh cheese fondue is 10 times tastier, right? Or no 1000! 3 Addresses you can buy fresh cheese fondue >>

Want to go out for cheese fondue? Then these are 15 tips for the best spots in Amsterdam >>

Go for a Fine Dine lunch

Eating out in the evening is wonderful, but secretly I have been enjoying an extensive lunch even more over the last few years. Fortunately, there are many good restaurants in Amsterdam that are open (especially on weekends) for an extensive lunch. I have listed some of my favorites for you! Check out all 23 fine dining lunch spots in Amsterdam >>

more Restaurants tips

Thuis Wijnproeverij

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Hot chocolate date

Have you drunk it yet this year? When I go for a walk, I notice that I increasingly order a hot chocolate instead of coffee during this festive period. Where you can drink delicious chocolate milk in Amsterdam? Discover our 10 yummy tips here >>

Grocery shopping for the holidays? 

Anyone who has been following Your Little Black Book for some time may have seen these lists before. But now take a really good look at them, because even if you think you know Amsterdam very well… I’m sure you will discover new culinary shops. And be sure to do your holiday shopping with these local entrepreneurs. Of course for yourself (because oh so delicious!), but certainly also for them:

Collect fresh oysters in the netherlands

Do you have time to go out of town? Then I can recommend all oyster lovers to go collect oysters themselves. For example in Zeeland! These oysters are a bit larger than you would normally eat in a restaurant. I find them perfect for gratinating or preparing Asian style. Wondering where that is possible? I explain it all in this article >>

Coffee date during the holidays?

There is a tip for the best coffee in every district of the city! 63 tips for coffee spots in Amsterdam  >>

more Amsterdam tips

Our favourite hotels in Amsterdam:
☾ Pillows Maurits at the Park: this newly opened hotel is all about luxury.
☾ Pulitzer Amsterdam: on the canals at the border of the Nine Streets and the Jordaan.
☾ L’Europe: recently renovated, this hotel has the best spa with a view in Amsterdam.
☾ Conservatorium Hotel: located in one of the most beautiful buildings in town.
☾ Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam: if you have something to celebrate this is the one.
☾ W Amsterdam: with lively restaurants and a posh rooftop bar with swimming pool.
☾ The Hoxton: favourite lifestyle hotel right on the canals with great all day bar.
☾ Hotel Jakarta: the most sustainable hotel ánd great value for money with a spa.
☾ Hotel V: with two locations and a great restaurant, in the city center and East.
☾ Sir Adam: with the coolest view over Amsterdam from the North side.
☾ Sweets: a unique stay in former bridge houses.
☾ Hotel Dwars: small scale and around the corner of the trendy Utrechtsestraat.
☾ Hotel Mercier: pretty new hotel in the cosy and historic Jordaan district.
☾ INK Hotel: lifestyle hotel in the heart of the city by MGallery.
☾ Morgan & Mees: boutique hotel with restaurant in Amsterdam West.
☾ Conscious Hotel Westerpark: in a beautiful building at the industrial Westergas area.
☾ Ruby Emma: eco design hotel with a great skybar near Amstel station.
☾ Generator Hostel: the best poshtel of the city located in a park.
☾ The Social Hub budget proof in trendy East district close tho the subway.
☾ Het Volkshotel: affordable and with a cool rooftop bar.
☾ CitizenM: all you need is that XL bed (location near Amstel is great).
☾ Motel One: budget design hotel with several locations in Amsterdam.

Let’s get social

I really hope you enjoy your time in Amsterdam! On my Instagram account @yourlbb and you can find more recommendations and new hotspots in town.

More hotel tips


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Anne de Buck

Travel Essentials

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