7 Tips How to Spend Christmas in Amsterdam

When you’re spending Christmas in Amsterdam, you’ll notice lots of places will be closed, especially on Christmas Day or ‘1e Kerstdag’. The Dutch use both December 25th and December 26th to visit family. The first day of Christmas is mainly the day lots of restaurants and public places are closed. So what to do then if you’re not visiting family?

Here are our 7 tips on how to survive the Christmas days in Amsterdam, have fun! 🙂 

1. All the big museums are open on December 25th & 26th!
And they are far less crowded during Christmas, so here’s your chance to visit one of these museums and take your time to enjoy the art. We recommend:

  • The Rijksmuseum: an all time favorite. Off course you must visit the oldest part of the museum with the ‘Eregalerij’ to see ‘Het Melkmeisje’ by Vermeer and the ‘Nachtwacht’ by Rembrandt. But if you like photography you must also visit the newest wing of the Rijksmuseum. There’s an exhibition about 20th century photography, called ‘Modern Times‘. Oh, don’t miss the special hologram Christmas tree at the Rijksmuseum!
  • The Stedelijk Museum: there are only a few days left for the large exhibition by Marlene Dumas. Or visit the exhibition ‘Bad Thoughts‘, which is a very diverse collection of art. But the Stedelijk Museum also has an amazing collection of modern art for you to enjoy.
  • The photography museum Foam: there are 2 interesting exhibitions right now: street photography by Vivian Maier and photography for the afterlife by Araki Ojo Shashu
  • The Van Gogh Museum, last but not least.

2. Walk around the city after 17:00 to enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival!
All the art work is visible during the holidays as well. The Illuminade walking route will be open too. So, put on your walking shoes and enjoy the city by night!

3. Go to the Zoo!
Artis will be open both days with lots of extra activities. 

4. Eating out during Christmas can be hard.
A lot of restaurants will be closed on December 25th. When a restaurant is open on December 26th it will probably only allow you to come in when you’ve made a reservation days or weeks beforehand. So, what to do if you don’t want to end up eating a burger at Burgerking?

  • Go to the small China Town at the Zeedijk. The restaurants will be open and you won’t need a reservation.
  • Look for a Turkish or Moroccan restaurant, there are plenty of those especially in Amsterdam West.
  • And off course the Indian and Halal restaurants around the city center.
  • For the vegans & vegetarians: the Golden Temple in the Utrechtsestraat! 

5. Go ice skating on one of the many ice rinks around the city!
To name a few:

6. Book a canal cruise
Almost all the canal cruises companies are in full business during the holidays. You’ll find most of them opposite Amsterdam Central Station.

7. Go to the cinema!
During the holidays there are always a couple of new films released, like the last of the Hobbit trilogy or Samba (from the makers of Intouchables). So why not watch one of those? All movies in the Netherlands are shown in their original language with Dutch subtitles.

These are our favorite cinemas in Amsterdam:

Christmas in Amsterdam

Hologram Christmas Tree at the Rijksmuseum