Travel & Places Europe (Continental)

Christmas Markets in Amsterdam

Market stalls dressed up as snow-capped wood cabins; powder-dusted, deep-fried treats washed down with mulled wine; snatches of Germanic chatter in the chilled air - it's a scene most commonly associated with Germany's famous Christmas markets, but can just as easily be had in the Netherlands. At least a dozen Christmas markets (Kerstmarkten) crop up over the holiday season in Amsterdam, and while most are one- or two-day affairs (in contrast to their protracted German counterparts), the character and convenience of the markets below make them an excellent option for visitors to Amsterdam in winter.

 Some of the markets are special winter-holiday editions of year-round markets, so visitors in other seasons needn't miss out. In either case, see the individual market web sites for this year's schedule - and don't miss our list of Christmas markets outside Amsterdam.
  • Antiekcentrum Amsterdam Kerstmarkt
    Elandsgracht 109 (The Jordaan)
    The Antiekcentrum Amsterdam is a veritable warren full of diverse antiques dealers, a must-see for any antiques lover who finds themselves in the city - and even more so when its Kerstmarkt draws out its vendors' best yuletide antiques each year, from decorations to all manner of curiosa. As befits a Christmas market, seasonal drinks and other refreshments are also on hand.
     
  • CoCasa Winter Fair
    Blijburg aan Zee, Muiderlaan 1001 (Eastern Docklands)
    A beach pavilion isn't the most obvious site for a winter market, but this three-day winter fair kicked off its first edition just a stone's throw from the IJ River in 2013. The self-described "sustainable lifestyle market" features eco-conscious entrepreneurs as well as collective lunches and dinners with special midwinter ritual ceremonies.
     


  • Funky Xmas Markt
    Westergasfabriek, Pazzanistraat 41 (Westerpark)
    The succinctly-named Sunday Market has fast become a city institution in the past several years - and its special winter edition, the Funky Xmas Markt, the favorite Christmas market of many an Amsterdammer. The web site sums it up nicely: "If you are into hip, trendy, funky or even quirky stuff, the Sunday Market is the place for you" - and if you and your loved ones appreciate one-off, hand-crafted items, then their unique assortment of fashion, fine art, home decor, toys and more is a perfect match. Best of all, the Funky Xmas Markt also has the most delicious and diverse team of food vendors in this list.
    The Sunday Market is held at the Westergasfabriek every Sunday year-round.
     
  • Kerst Brocante Markt
    Amstelveld (Amsterdam Center)
    2013 saw the second edition of Dutch fashion label Sissy-Boy's Kerst Brocante Markt which, as attested by the French word brocante, features both new and used merchandise with an old-timey aesthetic. Set on Amstelveld square, the markets spills into the white, wooden Amstelkerk and over the terrace of Café Nel, two of the square's chief attractions.
     
  • Pure Winter Markt
    Multiple locations
    The winter edition of the year-round Pure Markt, established in 2008, rotated between three picturesque locations on sequential Sundays in 2013: the Amstelpark and Beatrixpark - both in Amsterdam South - and Park Frankendael, site of Huize Frankendael, a country estate-turned-contemporary art center. Expect a Christmas-y twist on the usual Pure experience - artisanal, eco-friendly wares in a warm, family-oriented atmosphere.
    Pure Market is held every Sunday year-round, from the last Sunday in March to December.
     
  • Winter Warehouse at Amsterdam Roest
    Jacob Bontiusplaats (Eastern Docklands)
    Roest translates the open-air Christmas-market formula to its expansive indoor warehouse space in the Eastern Docklands, with none of the festive atmosphere lost in translation. The exposed roof beams, unfinished-wood stalls and spray-painted boards lend an attractive DIY aesthetic to the off-beat art space's winter market, where visitors can browse affordable, artisanal merchandise to the tune of live local music.
     
  • Wintermarkt Amsterdam
    Damrak and Beursplein (Amsterdam Center)
    Despite its name, the Wintermarkt doesn't have an especially cozy winter atmosphere amid its location on the tackily commercial Damrak, and seems more to me like a desultory assortment of vendors out to make a buck on the pedestrian-tourist traffic on the street. But for visitors who are pressed for time, there are a few stands with desirable wares, and at the very least you can enjoy an oliebol and warm wine al fresco from one of the bulb-festooned wooden stands; you'll probably be there anyway. Plus, it's open from late November to mid-January.

Sail to Europe's Favorite Christmas Markets
Amsterdam is also the embarkation city for Emerald Waterways' 15-day Christmas Markets of Europe cruise. The new European river cruise company lets visitors explore the Leidseplein Christmas stalls and the city canals, then sail down the Rhine and Main to some of Germany's most iconic Weihnachtsmarkten and other attractions, and onward to Vienna and other Austrian cities, Bratislava and Budapest via the Danube.

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