Where do all the Christmas trees in the Netherlands go after the holidays? Unfortunately, not to a better place.
Quite a few internationals have asked us how to get rid of their Christmas trees in the Netherlands. They thought that a neatly organized country had some kind of decent system in place.
Indeed, in some municipalities, there’s a pick-up scheme for Christmas trees right after New Year’s Day. But there’s, of course, a traditional way of getting rid of the old tree in the Netherlands that warms my heart, figuratively and literally.
Burning the old Christmas tree
As a kid, I grew up with the burning of Christmas trees tradition that takes place every year in the Netherlands — the more trees burning the better! It brings back the primal being in you, and, well, big fires are awesome!
So we at DutchReview can totally dig this photo report by Renzo Gerritsen on a good-old-burn-your-tree gathering in Amsterdam: it’s seriously lit!
If you like Renzo’s photos, then check out his website or follow his Facebook page.
How do you get rid of your Christmas tree in your home country? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2018, and was fully updated in December 2022 for your reading pleasure.
There’s got to be a better way than this… We snuck into the woods and replanted ours (it still had its roots). It’s probably better than burning it in the street, but I doubt the boswachter would approve.
What’s needed is Christmas Tree Rental – you rent your own tree in a pot, to be taken away and replanted after Christmas. I think some options for this exist, but we couldn’t find anything locally.
In Groningen you can rent it and then they replant them. Tuin in de stad has organised it.
I personally contacted one of these tree recycle companies in Amsterdam and they told me if I didn’t buy from them they wouldn’t care to collect it and replant it. We bought it in the supermarket with roots to keep it alive. What can we do? Who to contact? Can we just go to a park and try to replant it? I just wouldn’t like to see ours following the same destiny as the hundreds burnt or in the streets. Thank you in advance for the answers:)
I can’t figure out what to do with mine either! I bought one with the roots assuming there would be options to replant after the holidays. Yet, everyone I’ve asked has responded with confusion and/or annoyance. The Netherlands believes itself to be forward-thinking when it comes to sustainability, so it’s strange to me that the culture so vehemently embraces this incredibly wasteful tradition.
Did you figure out how to recycle your xmas tree? I’m from Eindhoven and I have one which is dying. I’d love to know if there’s any way to gently recycle it. Please let me know if you’ve any ideas.
What a waste! In my town in Ontario, Canada they are collected mid January by the town. The works department grinds them up into mulch. Some is used to put around new plantings, parks, etc. The rest is mixed into mulch and sold to the public. I’m not a tree hugger by any means but I think this is a better and safer solution.
In Gemeente Velsen, Noord Holland, Mid January kids receive one Euro to every used tree they bring to the square (Plein) of every village. The municipality team grinds it on the spot and transform it into mulch. Some is used to put around new plantings, parks, etc. The rest is mixed into mulch and sold to the public. This is a good way to get rid of it easy, economic and environment friendly and engagement of the young community in a simple symbolic paid work.