Amsterdam is well-known for its spellbinding views of canals and out-of-this-world cute houses. In the morning mist that blesses cold mornings, the city looks eerier than ever in the fall. With Halloween just around the corner, I can’t help but look for magical things and places to visit during Halloween in Amsterdam.
If you, too, like to hunt for witches/ghouls/spirits/unicorns and so forth, or would like to know more about Halloween in the Netherlands, read on!
Is Halloween celebrated in Amsterdam in 2019?
Generally the Dutch don’t celebrate Halloween, as we have our own slightly different version called Sint Maarten. During Sint Maarten children don’t dress up, they instead go door to door with homemade lanterns in hopes of scoring a months’ supply of candy. However, Amsterdam being the internationally oriented city that it is, there are of course quite a few events surrounding Halloween for everyone to enjoy!
Halloween in Amsterdam: Visit the Chimera Fantasy Shop
Okay, I know, a shop isn’t the most magical place you would think of. But this is no ordinary shop. As soon as you walk in, you are transported into some kind of magical forest full of fairies, little trolls and miscellaneous objects and accessories you will love to stare at.
Breathe in the fairy dust and try to spot all the little characters and fun details sprinkled here and there for your enjoyment. This shop is a must-see for fantasy lovers, wiccans and anyone with a taste for interesting scene-setting. The shop is located on the Damstraat, right downtown.
Halloween in Amsterdam in 2019: Find a party
There are quite a few Halloween parties in Amsterdam, especially when you take into account the Dutch don’t even celebrate Halloween! Take for instance the Helloween Bal Masqué happening at Paradiso. Hosted by Amsterdam BeatClub, go with the most frightening costume you can think of and rock out to The Helloweeners, T-99, The Spades and Venderghoul on the decks. They say you should dress-to-kill and not impress!
If parties aren’t your thing, the Amsterdam Dungeon may well be. Brace yourself! You’ll get to turn back time and witness a real-life witch-burning… Brrr! But be warned: your own magic may be found out, and punishments may ensue…
If you love your Halloween movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be showing its camp glory at Q-factory. Or experience silent cinema with a touch of creepy at the Cinemagie Halloween Scary Special. Dressing up in costumes definitely allowed.
Halloween in Amsterdam in 2019: Reconnect with your familiar
Cats have been associated with witches for the longest time. They were believed to be spirits that assisted witches in practicing their craft. Amsterdam is a cat lover’s paradise; it is the home of a (rescue) cat boat, a cat café and numerous pubs with resident cat assistants.
Whether you prefer shopping for your cat (or your own cat-related needs) or honoring cats’ power of inspiration by visiting Amsterdam’s cat museum, you will find whatever you need to reconnect with these elusive and loving creatures.
Visit the apothecary for your magic potions
… Literally. The Jacob Hooy apothecary was established in 1743 and used to stock products such as tobacco and opium, which were used as medicine back in the day. Nowadays, Jacob Hooy is a herbalists’ shop where you can find essential oils, herbs (no, not those herbs), candy and all sorts of tea. For added effect, the shop has retained some of its original decor. A must-see for potions masters.
I just love that a place that holds so much history still fulfills its original purpose. Pop in and meet fellow witches or druids; y’all could discuss your favourite magical must-haves.
Take a moonlit walk down the Prinsengracht
Magic is often found in simple places for anyone who has a keen eye. The Prinsengracht is one of the prettiest canals of Amsterdam. The tall, narrow houses will enchant you; so many secrets and stories of times past and present must be held in these whimsical buildings.
Taking a walk through the old town at dusk or at night is a sure way to make you feel like you have gone back in time and that maybe, just maybe, you might cross the path of a magical creature on your way.
And if you don’t want to be in Amsterdam, there are a lot more things happening around the country. Celebrating Halloween in the Netherlands can be an exciting (spooky) time!
Me, I’ll keep looking around for magic in Amsterdam – and perhaps cozy up with a cuppa and a good Halloween movie.
What are you going to do for All Hallows Day? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated in October 2019 for your reading pleasure.