Travel & Places Europe (Continental)

Winter Holiday Season Traditions in Amsterdam

Amsterdam begins to sparkle with twinkling lights as early as mid-November, as the city gears up for the winter holidays of Sinterklaasavond and Christmas. Find out what tasty treats and seasonal traditions you'll find in Amsterdam this time of year.

Oliebollen and Poffertjes Stands

Mid-to-late November through winter

Stalls selling these warm sweet treats are everywhere this time of year, and the smells are their best advertising. Oliebollen are fried dough balls that come plain, with powdered sugar or sometimes with fruits like apples and raisins. The name literally means "oil balls," so they are certainly a sinful and delicious treat.

Poffertjes are small, puffy pancakes usually served with powdered sugar or cherries. During the holiday season in Amsterdam you can find them for sale on popular tourist squares. Wash either of these down with some Dutch hot chocolate. Yum!More »

Ice-Skating Rinks at Leidseplein and Museumplein

Leidseplein: mid-to-late November to January
Museumplein: mid-to-late December to March


Amsterdammers don't retreat inside during the holidays just because it's cold out. Join them as they glide on ice under the glow of fairy lights and café signs at Leidseplein, or skate in the shadow of the Rijksmuseum on Museumplein. Both are great ways to burn off all those poffertjes and hot chocolate!

Holiday Events at Amsterdam Museums and Attractions

Throughout December into early January

During these festive months, visitors can enjoy a range of seasonal performances and events. See my article What to Do During the Christmas Holidays in Amsterdam for special programs.

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