Things to do in Amsterdam

Visiting Amsterdam in December – The Definitive Guide

Last Updated On

The Dutch Golden Age transformed Amsterdam, a sleepy fishing village on the River Amstel, to a trading powerhouse in the 17th century. The city reclaimed land over the centuries and turned its canals into a lifeline, earning itself the moniker ‘Venice of the North’. Today, Amsterdam draws millions of tourists to bear witness to its thriving and cosmopolitan cultural! In December, Amsterdam flaunts a festive feel and promises cheer and joy in spite of the biting cold. Here is a guide of things to do, places to see, and experiences to enjoy if you're planning to visit Amsterdam in December.

What makes Amsterdam in December special?


Amsterdam in December

  • Picturesque Cityscape – Amsterdam experiences a cold winter with a chance of a white Christmas when the pretty buildings of Amsterdam are covered with snow to create a fairytale paradise. The Amsterdam Light Festival adds more charm to the Canal Ring and the Christmas Lights and trees across town make it look a veritable wonderland.
  • Christmas Festivities – The Christmas festivities in Amsterdam run all through December, especially as Sinterklaas comes early in mid-November. The Christmas markets are a sight to behold with exquisite shopping and unique food experiences. Ice Skating rinks, Christmas concerts, and New Year’s Eve parties will make sure your days are fully occupied in Amsterdam in December.
  • Local charm – International tourists are far and few around Christmas especially in Amsterdam, given the cold weather. This means fewer crowds at Amsterdam’s many museums and attractions, which are usually chock-a-bloc in the summer season. It is an ideal time for backpackers and budget travelers to visit Amsterdam, especially in the first couple of weeks of December.

Amsterdam in December : Weather


Winter has arrived in Amsterdam in December and the temperatures are cold! The city witnesses a lot of rain, however there isn’t much snow, you can only expect a day or two of frosty snow. The average daytime temperatures are around 7°C, while night time temperatures around 2°C. The days are shorter and it is the time of the winter solstice!

Amsterdam in December

Amsterdam in December : Things to Do


1

Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam in December


The Dutch have a glorious history of art and Van Gogh is one of the few who are credited with putting it on the global map. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to the artist and offers a peek into his life and work. The museum has the largest collection of his artwork.

December Timings
Every Day : 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday : 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Location

Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

2

Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam in December


Your first visit to Amsterdam is incomplete with a stop at the Rijksmuseum. The vast museum contains a treasure of Dutch history, especially the Golden Age, and you can enjoy viewing the works of Masters like Rembrandt and Frans Hals. A skip the line ticket is the best way to beat the rush.

December Timings
Every day – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location

Dam 20, 1012 KW Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

3

Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Amsterdam in December


Canals are the lifeline of Amsterdam and were the reason for the booming of the city during the 17th Century Dutch Golden Age. Witness the wealth of architecture in over 1,500 monumental buildings on display alongside the canals and watch how the city has planned itself around these water bodies.

December Timings
Cruise timings depend on tour chosen

Location

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Getting There ›

Best Safety
Lovers: 1 Hour Amsterdam Canal Cruise with Audio Guide
Sightseeing Cruises
Lovers: 1 Hour Amsterdam Canal Cruise with Aud...
upto 17% off
from
€17 €14
Best Safety
Blue Boat Company 1.5-Hour Evening Canal Cruise
Sightseeing Cruises
Blue Boat Company 1.5-Hour Evening Canal Cruise
upto 8% off
from
€18.5
Best Safety
Gray Line 75 Mins Amsterdam Canal Cruise & Snackbox
Sightseeing Cruises
Gray Line 75 Mins Amsterdam Canal Cruise & Sna...
from
€13
Best Safety
City Sightseeing Amsterdam Hop on Hop off by Boat 24hrs
Hop On Hop Off
City Sightseeing Amsterdam Hop on Hop off by B...
New Arrival
from
€26
Best Safety
Saver Combo - Blue Boat Company Canal Cruise & Van Gogh Museum Direct Entry
Cruise & Attraction Combos
Saver Combo - Blue Boat Company Canal Cruise &...
from
€32.66
Best Safety
Heineken Experience with Drinks + 24hr Hop On Hop Off Boat
Hop On Hop Off
Heineken Experience with Drinks + 24hr Hop On ...
New Arrival
from
€33
Best Safety
Saver Combo - Blue Boat Company Canal Cruise & Heineken Experience Direct Entry
Cruise & Attraction Combos
Saver Combo - Blue Boat Company Canal Cruise &...
from
€33
Best Safety
City Sightseeing Amsterdam Hop On Hop Off Boat
Hop On Hop Off
City Sightseeing Amsterdam Hop On Hop Off Boat
upto 15% off
from
€26 €22
Best Safety
Skip the Line Rijksmuseum + 24 hr Hop On Hop Off Boat
Hop-On Hop Off Cruise + Attractions
Skip the Line Rijksmuseum + 24 hr Hop On Hop O...
New Arrival
from
€37.5
Best Safety
Van Gogh & Rijksmuseum Guided Tour with Canal Cruise
Cruise & Attraction Combos
Van Gogh & Rijksmuseum Guided Tour with Canal ...
from
€129

4

Anne Frank House and Walking Tour

Amsterdam in December


Anne Frank is known the world over for her book ‘The Secret Diary of Anne Frank’ which was an account of her life during the Nazi occupation in the house on Prinsengracht 263. A tour of the house will take you through her living quarters and help learn more about life during the Second World War.

December Timings
Every day – 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Location

Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

5

A Day Trip to Zaanse Schans and Volendam

Amsterdam in December


Windmills dotting the endless countryside and Gingerbread Dutch architecture in the fishing villages are the most iconic landscapes of Netherlands. Experience these sights firsthand in a day trip from Amsterdam in December. Enjoy a planned itinerary and a comfortable bus ride to travel despite the cold weather!

December Timings
Depends on the chosen tour

Location

Zaanse Schans, Zaandam
Netherlands
Getting There ›

Free Cancellation
From Amsterdam: Windmills, Edam and Volendam Tour
Zaanse Schans Windmills
From Amsterdam: Windmills, Edam and Volendam Tour
from
€49.5
Free Cancellation
Half Day Visit of Zaanse Schans Windmills from Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans Windmills
Half Day Visit of Zaanse Schans Windmills from...
from
€34.5
Best Safety
Zaanse Schans Windmills, Volendam and Marken Extended Tour + Free Amsterdam Canal Cruise
Zaanse Schans Windmills
Zaanse Schans Windmills, Volendam and Marken E...
from
€59
Best Safety
Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Windmills + Amsterdam City Tour
Zaanse Schans Windmills
Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Windmills + Amste...
from
€79
Best Safety
Best of Holland Tour with Canal Cruise
Day Trips & Excursions
Best of Holland Tour with Canal Cruise
from
€99

6

Heineken Experience

Amsterdam in December


Beat the cold in Amsterdam in December by heading to the warm interiors of the Heineken Factory. Take a guided tour and find out what goes behind the making of the world’s favorite beer. Learn more about the history of the brewery and get to sample free beer at the end of the tour.

December Timings
Monday – Thursday – 10:30 AM – 7:30 PM (Last admission at 5:30 PM)
Friday – Sunday – 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM (Last admission at 7:00 PM)

Location

Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

7

Amsterdam Icebar

Amsterdam in December


Amsterdam in December does not experience much snow like other European cities, to make up for it instead head to the Amsterdam Icebar for a ‘cool’ experience. The theme bar is perfect for Instagram-lovers who can enjoy the unique offerings like the ice furniture, sculptures and ice cutlery!

December Timings
Sunday – Thursday – 11:45 AM – 1:00 AM
Friday – Saturday – 11:45 AM – 2:40 AM

Location

Amstel 194, 1017 AG Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

8

Madame Tussauds Amsterdam

Amsterdam in December


Increase the heat in Amsterdam in December by heading for selfies with A-list celebrities like George Clooney, Zayn Malik, Michiel Huisman, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande. The likeness of the wax statues will stun you and make for incredible memories of your holidays in Amsterdam.

December Timings
Daily, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Location

Dam 20, 1012 KW Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

9

ARTIS Royal Zoo

Amsterdam in December


The ARTIS Royal Zoo is a wonderful space for viewing flora and fauna from around the world and to learn about their habitat and life cycle. There is also an Aquarium and Planetarium that will make your visit much more interesting. Don’t miss out on the daily zoo activities with the staff!

December Timings
Every day – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Location

Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

10

Red Light District Tour

Amsterdam in December


The Red Light District is one of the most happening areas in the city and has a long history dating back centuries. Take a guided tour to explore the streets of this area, especially the Warmoesstraat and ChinaTown. Admire the historic buildings and neon-lit shop fronts alike!

December Timings
Depends on the chosen tour

Location

De Wallen, Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Getting There ›

Amsterdam in December : Events to Look Out For


Amsterdam in December

Amsterdam Light Festival

All through December
Amsterdam’s Canal Ring and River Amstel are transformed every winter with beautiful light structures and art work by artists from across the world. The best way to view these sculptures is by taking a canal cruise and admiring the creativity that goes behind these amazing pieces.

Amsterdam in December

Christmas Markets

All through December
Christmas markets are the highlights of every European City and Amsterdam is not far behind. It’s best Christmas Markets are at Funky Xmas Market (Westergas), Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt (Amsterdam Noord), Ice Village (Museumplein), Winter Village (Amstelveen), and Amsterdam Winter Paradise (RAI Amsterdam).

Amsterdam in December

Concerts at Het Koninklijk Concertgebouw

All through December
Christmas season heralds the production of several Christmas concerts and ballets at the Royal Concert Hall in Amsterdam. You can witness concerts of Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart played by the National Orchestra and several other music companies.

Amsterdam in December

TangoTrain

26 December 2019 – 31 December 2019
Amsterdam holds one of the biggest Tango festivals where professionals and amateurs come together to enjoy and learn Tango. Whether it is just to watch or participate, the week-long Tango Train festival is the perfect place to spend your evenings in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam in December : 5-day Itinerary


Amsterdam Essentials in December


?

LanguageDutch

?

Time zoneGMT+1

☎

Country Code+31

?

Socket Type C, E and F

?

CurrencyEuros €

Amsterdam Weather in December

Amsterdam does not experience a lot of snow throughout the year, especially not snow storms or blizzards. The city itself might experience a couple of days of snow that won’t last long. The days are overcast and cloudy, and incredibly short with sunrise around 8:30 AM and sunset around 4:30 PM, leaving you little time to explore the outdoors.

Where to Stay in Amsterdam during December

Amsterdam is a spread out city and zigzagged with canals, however the city is well connected through public transportation and you can easily get around within minutes. Each of the areas in Amsterdam offers something unique, stay in the Historic centre to be closer to the canals or in The Jordaan for postcard views. Oud-West offers a chic neighborhood with shopping, while Amsterdam-Noord has eclectic establishments by the riverside. Here are our favorite places to stay in Amsterdam -

What to Pack for Amsterdam in December

Rain continues to be a feature in Amsterdam in December and it is one of the wettest months. Pack an umbrella or buy one in the city, and add waterproof jacket, a windcheater, and waterproof shoes or boots. The temperatures plunge in December so ensure you are carrying enough warm clothing like gloves, scarves, and sweaters. Cycling might not be an option in this weather so you can avoid planning for it.

Getting Around Amsterdam in December

Biking is a popular in Amsterdam but with the cold and rain, you are better off using public transport in Amsterdam in December. The city is very well-connected through a variety of public transport means, the popular among which are –

  • Metro – Quick and easy, its four routes cover the Greater Amsterdam region.
  • Tram – Fast and cheap, they are perfect for hopping on and off between attractions and most of the sights in Amsterdam are along the Tram Route #2.
  • Bus – With both day and night buses, you are never far from your destination.
  • Train – A convenient option to head to the airport and other European cities.

Don’t forget to buy the I Amsterdam City Card where you can travel for free across all public transportation.

Amsterdam in December - Must-Try Delicacies


Amsterdam in November - what to eat
Glühwein

Glühwein is a kind of mulled wine that is sold across Christmas markets and restaurants in Amsterdam come December. The wine is flavoured with spices like anise, cinnamon and nutmeg and served with an orange slice. The wine is the perfect antidote to the cold nights of December.
Where To Order: Cafe-Restaurant IL Panorama

Amsterdam in November - what to eat
Oliebollen

High calorific food is what winters are about! Oliebollen, literally translating to oil balls in English, are a rich tasty treat that are akin to deep fried doughtnuts. These doughnuts often have fillings of raisins, currants and sultanas and are served with powdered sugar. Be careful, you just can’t stop at one!
Where To Order: Banketbakkerij Lanskroon

Amsterdam in November - what to eat
Hachee Stew

The long winter days of December in Amsterdam call for heart-warming dishes and the Dutch have just the recipe for it – Hachee Stew! This dish is made of minced beef, fish or any other meat that is simmered with caramelised onions and herbs and spices. It served on a platter of mashed potatoes or rice.
Where To Order: Bistro Bij Ons

Amsterdam in November - what to eat
Suddervlees

Winter is the best time to eat hearty meat dishes and Suddervlees is the most iconic Dutch dish you can sample. The dish is mainly braised beef and ale stew that is served with a side of fries. The meat is slow cooked with beer, onions and seasonings that bring out the rich flavour.
Where To Order: Moeders

Amsterdam in November - what to eat
Advocaat

Christmas is the time to sing and be merry and a drink that can help you do that is the Advocaat! Made from sugar, eggs and brandy, Advocaat is a smooth liqueur that has a custard-like consistency and is a staple in pubs and restaurants in Amsterdam in December.
Where To Order: Hap-Hmm

Tips to visit Amsterdam in December


  • Looking for a variety in food? Then head to the Hong Kong Food Festival to be held at the RAI Amsterdam from 25th December to 29th December 2019. You can sample exotic Hong Kong style cuisine and food products.
  • On 14th December the Christmas tree at Dam Square, infront of the Amsterdam Royal Palace, will be lit up with more than 40,000 LED fairy lights.
  • For a truly magical Christmas you should head out of Amsterdam for the day to the Royal Christmas Fair in Hague. The fair is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Netherlands and has over 100 businesses offering a variety of goodies.
  • St. Nicholas Day is celebrated with much gaiety across Europe. In Amsterdam it is celebrated a day earlier with Sinterklaas making an appearance in homes on 5th December and indulging in gift-giving with the evening known as ‘sinterklaasavond' or Sinterklaas Evening.
  • Plan ahead to bring in the New Year at one of the numerous New Year Eve parties in the city, reservations run out quickly! Be sure to catch the fireworks from Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) or at Kop Van Java.

Explore Amsterdam Through The Year


Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Paris in Oct
Oct
Nov
Dec

Ready to Visit Amsterdam in December?


Here are some more guides to make your trip to Amsterdam a splendid one.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *