Run out of funds? No need to be glum in the Netherlands, here are a few free things to enjoy this month…

2017 has arrived and as with every new year a collective ‘new year, new me’ sentiment arises. Many of us have over indulged on good food and good wine over the festive period, stretched (or dare I say burst) our budgets on social soirees and further splurged on gifts for all your nearest and dearest (yourself included, naturally). After a month of unreputable extravagance it is quite right that we see the new year as a chance to reset, rein it in a little and let our bank accounts as well as bodies recover!

Therefore, as bright and shiny as the new year initaially appears, this period we are shuffling into can also be rightly referred to  as the January Blues. We are afterall,  in the depths of winter, our monthly paycheck feels as if it is an eternity away after we too readily frittered away the last; and to top it all off, we are expected to start the dreaded summer body sculpt with oodles of leftover choclate, biscuits and other such delights hiding in every drawer of the house. It is notoriously known as the month of austerity, in this month we stay inside and attempt to restrict the purse strings, calorie intake and even give up our beloved alcohol intake in the name of Dry January (a growing British tradition that has recently creeped onto the shores of the Netherlands).

However, before you lock yourself in your house with a salad, self imposed shopping ban and bottle of no-alcohol, no-calorie , no-fun wine; check out the fun stuff below that is happening in this bleak month for absolutely free! That’s right, you needn’t spend a cent! So get your calendar ready and take note of a few cool events that the Netherlands has to offer.


Amsterdam Light Festival – 15th Dec 2016- 8th Jan 2017

Christmas and New Year celebrations have passed and all decorations are slowly to be taken down from homes and street alike. For some it feels down right odd to still take joy from a santa light post-Christmas and the poor fellow  is quickly packed back into his box for the following festive period. If you are still wanting to be dazzled by some great lights in the dark evening, you can still catch a glimpse of some of the amazing light installations placed along the Illuminade walking route until the 8th January. There is an opportunity to hire a guide for a wander down the brightly lit way, however you can also enjoy a leisurely stroll for free and take time to admire the works of 23 (inter)national artists who have contributed to the Amsterdam Light Festival.


Eurosonic Air – Groningen –  12th/13th/14th Jan 2017

Eurosonic Air is the free, slightly more low-key, but nevertheless fun, outdoor sister event to the larger Eurosonic Noorderslag music festival / conference in Groningen. Held in the city’s Grote Markt, you can expect to see new and upcoming artists strutting their stuff across stage and bringing the night to life. The fun kicks off on Thursday 12th with Hip-Hop/ Trap group Gallowstreet and is followed by artists such as Indie/Rock bad, Orange Skyline and Americana style singer, Hans Hannemann who will both play on Saturday 14th. So throw your coat on, take a wander into the city and dance the cold away at this mini festival.

Here is a peak at what you can expect from the festival as a whole…


Niewjaarsduik – Utrecht – 15th Jan 2017

Niewjaarsduik literally translated into English is; New Year’s Dive. This cultural event traditionally marks the beginning  of the cultural calendar in Utrecht and is the first of a series of exciting Culturele Zondagen held throughout the year. This years theme is a celebration of the De Stijl art movement founded 100 years ago, in part by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.  Events include guided bike rides showing lesser known gems of the city, furniture workshops as well as a large array of theatre productions and workshops. So if you’re feeling brave let your inner thespian out for the day or take a back seat enjoy the work of others before you!


National Tulip Day – Amsterdam – 21st Jan 2017

Now what would the Netherlands be, without its bright and beautiful Tulip?! Since 2012 the unofficial flower of Netherlands has been given its own day; Nationale Tulpendag.

Usually taking place on the third Saturday of the month, the day kick starts the beginning of the Tulip season. To celebrate, a huge pop-up Tulip garden is created in Dam Square. Complete with over 200 000 tulips, visitors can also witness some traditionally dressed folk tending to the garden too. Here you can take some snazzy pics for instagram, witness a bit of colour in the often grey January days and in the afternoon (if you queue) pick your own bunch of Tulips to take home- for free!

Chinese New Year – Den Haag – 28th Jan 2017

Hopefully by the end of January you will have pretty much recovered from the celebrations at the beginning of the month and ready to celebrate 2017 all over again! For the 15th year, Den Haag will host an all-day festival to welcome the year of the rooster with parades, fashion shows and some fireworks (organised!).  The Chinees Nieuwjaar  seeks to sweep out the old and make way for the good luck that the new year has to offer. Festivities will be held in the Town Hall and Chinatown throughout the 28th and is free to all visitors!