There’s nothing better to get into that ‘gezellige’ holiday feeling than visiting one of the (many) Christmas markets in the Netherlands. The Dutch have now fully embraced the Christmas market concept and they’re popping up all over the Low Lands. You want to waste your time with ice skating, buying ‘kerstballen’ and drinking hot cocoa and not by browsing the internetz for the best Christmas markets in the Netherlands to visit. So we took one for the team and compiled this collection of Christmas markets in the Netherlands that are totally worthy of your visit.
1. Royal Christmas Fair in The Hague
Never quite got the idea behind setting up a Christmas market in some kind of soulless factory hall, it’s all about that classy location, right? The Hague gets it as the city has set up their market along the romantic Lange Voorhout and the classy Hofvijver. The Lange Voorhout deserves some extra attention, it’s one of the most beautiful streets of the Netherlands: carfree, linden-trees and flanked by monumental buildings – resembling the great Berlin boulevard ‘Under den Linden’.
Being the center of the Dutch government the market has been labeled ‘royal’ as well. With over 100 stalls with the usual Glühwine, chocolate eating and Christmas-gift- buying-experience the Royal Christmas Fair can also boast a programme of storytellers, acting groups and (children’s) choirs. Nicely adding to that Dickensian feeling you might have been looking for.
2. Leiden’s floating Christmas Market
Or maybe this Christmas market has the most scenic location in the Netherlands. We’ve already written about the Nieuwe Rijn as a perfect place to get some delicious food in Leiden near the lovely canals. During the Christmassy period (16-28 Dec.) this big canal has floating pontoons with a Christmas market right on top of it. And boy does it look the part:
What really makes a visit to Leiden during the holiday season worth your while if you’re from out of town is the ice-skating rink right next to Christmas market. Open-end at the 9th of December till 8th of January, the rink allows you to engulf in one of the Dutch people’s favorite wintery past-times for a little fee, don’t worry about bringing skates – they rent them out on the location.
More info on the merry spirits in Leiden here
3. Christmas Markets in the Netherlands: Magical Maastricht
If there’s one city that can pull off the perfect setting for a Christmas market then it’s Maastricht. This un-Dutchlike city is perfect for a day trip or weekend away and their version of the Christmas market can be just the reason why you should head down to the Deep Dutch South.
The Vrijthof Square in the smack death center of Maastricht is the venue for a Christmas fair that lasts until the end of December (the 30th!). So you can even celebrate a belated Christmas here. It comes with a Ferris wheel, those beautiful ice-skating rinks you now see popping up in every Dutch city and 75 stalls. If you’re done there then there’s of course the rest of Maastricht to enjoy! (which we did earlier, check out our ‘perfect 36 hours in Maastricht‘)
More info on the Maastricht Christmas market here!
4. A Christmassy day in Amsterdam
Couldn’t leave out the capital could we? There’s plenty of heartwarming magical stuff going on there. We’re talking about a Christmas Palace, a Christmas Village and the mesmerizing light festival – which is technically not a Christmas thing but totally fitting for this time of the year. Heck, we could spend a whole day on Christmassy stuff in the Amsterdam!
*Which Marianne Lalande did, read her perfect day of Christmas in Amsterdam here right here