Christmas Holidays in Amsterdam: Things to Do and See

Christmas decorations in Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam
George Pachantouris / Getty Images

If your Amsterdam travel plans include a visit during the Christmas season, you won't find the city's attractions and restaurants closed for the holidays. Choose from any of these activities and events to make your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day a memorable one.

Unique Seasonal Entertainment

Christmas in Amsterdam is an enchanting time where you can take in seasonal performances and events.

  • The Dutch National Ballet performs shows such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty during the Christmas season. Fairytale ballets performed to live music will enchant children and adults alike. It's a favorite holiday tradition in Amsterdam.
  • Christmas Concerts at the Concertgebouw are scheduled throughout the Christmas season. The performances vary year to year.
  • Winterparade: On dates from December 20 to 29, 2018, if you want something a little less traditional than the typical holiday celebration, head over to Zuiderkerk Church. The WinterParade is not a real theatre show, not a fancy dinner, and not quite a Christmas feast. It is much more; it is a mix of stories, encounters, and being together. It's hilarious, pleasant, and very international and it's all set along a 120-meter table filled with guests.
  • Wereldkerstcircus at Theater Carré: From December 20, 2018, to January 6, 2019, the Wereldkerstcircus (World Christmas Circus) performance has been an anticipated Christmas tradition in Amsterdam for more than three decades. International acts performing live music, awe-inspiring acrobatics, stallion dressage, and other animal shows entertain visitors young and old in this grand 120-year-old theater. And yes, there are plenty of clowns, too.

Special Christmas Programs at Amsterdam Museums

You'll find all the details on the full museum holiday opening hours page available on museum websites for details on which museums are open. These museums offer special programs during the Christmas season:

  • Christmas in the Bijbels Museum: During the Christmas season, garlands of evergreens and sparkling decorations adorn the stately interiors of Amsterdam's Bijbels Museum (Biblical Museum), housed in three stunning canal houses. In previous years, you could enjoy a Christmas concert on December 25 or a Christmas sing-along for young children on December 26. Children can also watch the tafeltheater (table theater) presentations of the nativity story.
  • Christmas in the Attic at Museum AmstelkringThe Museum Amstelkring, also known as Our Lord in the Attic, features an exhibition called Kerst op Solder (Christmas in the Attic), highlights of which include colorful Santon figurines from the South of France. The hidden church is decorated in grand Christmas splendor for visitors to enjoy.

    Christmas Dinner Out

    While Christmas Day and the day after Christmas are national holidays in the Netherlands, countless restaurants in Amsterdam are open for service on these days and many offer special holiday menus. To find a restaurant that suits your taste, try an advanced search on The Fork, where you can select "Open on December 24/25" in the search criteria.

    If you're looking for a fine-dining experience for Christmas, most of Amsterdam's five-star hotels offer multi-course menus for the holidays. The restaurants at boutique hotels like The Dylan are also excellent choices for a delicious, festive meal.

    Religious Services in English

    Many churches in Amsterdam offer Christmas services in English. To find a comprehensive list, see the Expatica website.