10 Fun things to do in Amsterdam in winter!
About the author: Laura Danielle is co-founder of Comedy Walks: comedy walking tours with a professional comedian as guide! Amsterdam – Utrecht – Eindhoven
I get this question a lot: what to do in Amsterdam in winter? First of all, Amsterdam is absolutely fabulous during any season of the year! Each season has its own beauty and particularities. There are dozens of things I love to do in winter in Amsterdam and I’d love to share them with you. Here are my recommendations for an awesome trip to Amsterdam during the winter season:
#1 Visit a Christmas market
My favorite Christmas market is the Amsterdamsche Christmas market in Westerpark from 20-21 December. You can expect food, Christmas gifts, ice skating, etc. The other one is Ice*Village at the Museumplein from 14 – 26 December 2022. Apart from the amazing ice skating rink you will find o-lee-bollun (see #3), giftshops and food & drinks. This year, I will check out the Amsterdam Winterparadise, at the RAI from 15 December 2022 – 3 January 2023.
#2 Go on a Comedy Walk©
Comedy Walks© offers the most fun way to discover Amsterdam! A professional comedian takes you around to the most beautiful historic sites in the city centre and makes fun of the city, the Dutch and himself of course. During a Comedy Walk, well obviously you walk, but you also laugh and both of these physical activities will keep you warm during a cold winter day in Amsterdam! Comedy Walks are organized every Saturday afternoon at 15.00.
#3 Eat an oliebol (o-lee-bol)
Oliebollen are traditionally Dutch deep-fried buns made of milk, yeast, sugar, flower, oil and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. It is a typical winter snack as they are only available from October till 31st December. Where to you find these delicious oliebollen? Little confession: two years ago, I visited most, if not all, of the oliebollen food trucks in Amsterdam and reviewed them in this blog.
#4 Visit Museum Willet-Holthuysen
Do you ever wonder what the exclusive 17th century canal houses looked like from the inside back then? Here is your chance! The couple Willet-Holthuysen, who lived in Amsterdam in the 19th century, donated their house including the furniture to the municipality of Amsterdam, allowing us to immerse ourselves in their hysterically abundant lifestyle. The cherry on the cake is when the Willet-Holthuysen museum puts up the 19th-century Christmas decoration: for December visitors only! For more information read my previous blog on this museum.
#5 Go see Hortus by Night and Amsterdam Light Festival
During the Hortus by Night, normally opens around 18 December, you can visit the beautifully lit gardens till 10pm! If you give sh*t about plants you can always drink mulled wine (glühwein) or hot chocolate at the camp fire next to the entrance. The Amsterdam Light Festival takes place from 1 December 2022 – 22 January 2023.
#6 Warm up at sauna Deco
As a last resort for people who really can’t stand the cold weather in the Netherlands there is sauna Deco. Sauna Deco is the only Art Deco sauna in the world and is located at the Herengracht in the city centre. If during a moment of relaxation you feel like shopping, it is totally normal: the decoration from sauna Deco comes from a department store from the 1920’s in Paris! For more information see my previous blog on sauna Deco.
#7 Play at the Ton Ton club
Most of us associate cold winter evenings with games or board games. Well, I got good news for you: Amsterdam is blessed with the Ton Ton club where you can play dozens of arcade games and board games. To name a few: air hockey, several pinball machines, race games, shooting games, jenga, halli galli etc. You simply buy your coins at the bar, take them upstairs, and loose yourself in arcade heaven! They also serve good food!
#8 Shop at the 9 little streets
The 9 little streets are Amsterdam’s small and picturesque shopping streets where you can still find some specialized and authentic shops from the 80s (yep, last century). Somehow these streets have a permanent Christmas vibe, but with the winter street decorations it is even more beautiful. Stop by at Pompadour to indulge in premium pastry, chocolates and hot drinks! See my previous blog on the 9 little streets.
#9 Go ice skating at the Museumplein
Typical Dutch wintertime fun: ice skating on the frozen canals in Amsterdam. It is a unique experience but very rare so don’t put your money on it. The second best option is the beautifully lit and idyllic ice skating rink at the Museumplein. For me ice-skating is like breathing, but if you feel your legs might go in opposite direction, you can take ice-skate lessons. Skates are for rent. This year, 2022, the ice skate rink opens on 12 November until 5 February 2023.
#10 Cuddle up during a movie
To stay warm, cuddle up to each other during a movie, preferably to someone you know. Ideally you book a love seat at the Pathé Tuschinski movie theater; it includes a snack and bubbles. The Tuschinski theater was built exactly 100 years ago in the dramatic Art Nouveau/Jugendstil style, hence a lust for the eye! You can also try the most striking cinema in Amsterdam: the Eye Filmmuseum. Just take the free ferry behind Central Station across the river.
All information in this blog post is based on personal experiences and commission free.