Day trips Winter

Christmas markets & winter festivals in The Netherlands

Christmas markets & winter festivals in The Netherlands, 9x Christmas markets in The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Want to visit Christmas markets in The Netherlands? That’s a great plan. Visit the most beautiful Christmas market in Amsterdam or venture out further and visit some more Christmas markets in The Netherlands. I have made the ultimate list of all (!) Christmas markets and winter festivals to visit in The Netherlands during the advent period. So enjoy yourself and zalig kerstfeest

Christmas markets The Netherlands: plan your trip

  • Check your flights to Amsterdam for the lowest rates.
  • If you’re travelling from Belgium, France, Germany or the UK travelling by train is also a really good option. If you book your traintickets three months before departure you will find the lowest rates.
  • November and December are popular months for a trip to The Netherlands, so book your hotel ahead of time so you’ll secure the lowest rates.
  • Read more advice on travelling to The Netherlands on my page ‘Plan your trip‘.

Christmas markets in The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

How to visit Christmas Markets in The Netherlands

  • Getting around The Netherlands on public transport is easy. If you buy an OV Chip Card you can use all public transport in The Netherlands. Simply charge the card as you go.
  • You can buy train tickets and check the time tables on NS Online.
  • Plan your door to door trip by pubic transport in The Netherlands on
  • Of course, you’ll be more flexible if you just rent a car when visiting The Netherlands in winter. The roads will mostly be clear, so don’t be afraid to drive in December.

About Christmas markets in The Netherlands

Unlike the Christmas markets in Germany, the Czech Republic and France, for example, the Christmas markets in the Netherlands do not take place throughout the entire Advent period. The Christmas markets in the Netherlands often take place on one of the weekends of the Advent period, usually during the Advent period. Many Dutch cities also have special winter or Christmas festivals in November, December or the Christmas holidays. Below are the best Christmas markets in the Netherlands, with the period in which you can visit them.

Christmas markets in The Netherlands

Christmas markets Amsterdam


Amsterdam Christmas Market | Your Dutch Guide

Want to visit a Christmas market in Amsterdam? Every year, Museumplein transforms into a cute winter village when Ice*Amsterdam settles on the square in front of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Do your Christmas shopping in the cozy winter chalets, enjoy the live entertainment and all the lovely comfort food. Step on the ice rink to enjoy a bit of ice skating in this amazing setting. Ice*Amsterdam take place from the second week of November until the first week of January.

Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light festival | Your Dutch Guide

Amsterdam Light Festival | Your Dutch Guide

From the beginning of December until the last week of January the Amsterdam Light Festival is the best light festival in The Netherlands. Every edition has a different theme and runs 6 or 7 kilometers along the Canals of Amsterdam. The best way to enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival is to book a Light Festival canal cruise to enjoy all the light art installations from the water.

Plan your trip to Amsterdam

Christmas market Zaandam

Christmas Market Netherlands: foto by Zaanse Dickets Market

The Christmas Market in Zaandam is called the Zaanse Dickens Market, where Charles Dickens A Christmas Carrol comes to life at the Christmas Market at the old Verkade factory. Travel back to Christmas time somewhere in the 19th century and enjoy all the market stalls, warm food en drinks. Take a ride in the nostalgic ferris wheel, whirl around the ice rink and huddle close to the giant Christmas tree. Visit this Christmas market in The Netherlands the second and third week of December.

Plan your trip to Zaandam

Christmas market Utrecht

Christmas Market Utrecht, photo by Spoorweg Museum Utrecht

Unfortunately there isn’t a real Christmas market in Utrecht anymore (though I highly enjoy the Swan Market the second or third weekend of December). But that’s no reason to stay away from Utrecht in winter, as Winter Station is taking place at Spoorweg Museum the entire Christmas break (last week of December, first weekend of Januari). The Utrecht train museum is completely transformed to a magic place where you can enjoy historical trains, an ice rink, games for children en of course great winter drinks and comfort food. And another advantage: this Christmas market in The Netherlands takes place indoors, nice and weather proof.

Read more about Utrecht

Candle lit Gouda

Gouda by candle light, Christmas Market in The Netherlands

On December 15th the entire city centre of Gouda is lit by candles. A unique festival in The Netherlands and a unique thing to see. From noon until midnight the beautiful central square of Gouda is beautifully dressed in candlelight. All the shops and restaurants in town are decorated for Christmas and the candlelight festival is a great excuse to visit Gouda.

How to visit Gouda

Dickens Festijn Deventer

Photoo by Dickens Festijn Deventer

Dickens Festijn in Deventer is one of the most popular Christmas Markets in The Netherlands and takes place the thirs weekend of December when Christmas preperations and celebrations are in full swing. Dickens Festijn turns the historical heart of Deventer into a 19th century English neighbourhood. It’s the perfect setting to have all the characters by Charles Dickens come to live and to shop for antiques and jewellery. It’s just that little more special than an average Christmas market if you ask me.

More about Deventer

Glow festival Eindhoven

Foto met dank aan GLOW Eindhoven

Eindhoven is the Dutch city of light. Literally, as for decades, it was the world leader of production of light bulbs, as Philips calls Eindhoven its home. Therefore, light and Eindhoven are strongly connected. Also, Eindhoven is the capital of Dutch Design. And being both the capital of light and the capital of Dutch Design is the perfect combination for hosting a yearly light festival: GLOW. Yearly, around 35 light artists create their installation around a specific theme, forming a cutting edge light route through the city centre of Eindhoven. Glow Eindhoven is celebrated every third week of November.

How to experience GLOW Eindhoven

Winter Efteling

Winter Efteling (photo by Efteling)

Winter Efteling (photo by Efteling)

Winter Efteling (photo by Efteling)

In my not so humble and not so modest opinion, Dutch theme park Efteling is the best theme park in the whole world. It combines Dutch folk tales, famous Grimm fairytales and blood boiling rollercoaster rides and is set in a lovely wooded environment, making all rides just that bit more magical and mysterious. In winter, Efteling has special opening hours and festivities between October and March during Winter Efteling. Some of the outdoor rollercoasters won’t be open, but that shouldn’t discourage you. Lots of rollercoaster and rides are indoors and the fairytale forest in enchanting for both small and big children. Please buy tickets online as there will be long lines to get in (who doesn’t like to skip a line!).

Christmas market & light route Maastricht

Christmas markets The Netherlands, Christmas Market Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

Christmas markets The Netherlands, Christmas Market Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

The Maastricht Christmas market is one of the most popular Christmas markets in The Netherlands. And truth be told: Maastricht is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year, but especially so around Christmas time when the beautiful central square Vrijthof has been turned into a winter wonderland village. Kids can hang there wish in the wishing tree, you can take a spin on the ice ring or go shopping in Magic Christmas World an don’t forget to visit the most beautiful bookshop in the world, it’s set in a 13th-century church. I also highly recommend following the beautiful light route through the city, with beautifully lit streets and light installations.

Plan your trip to Maastricht

Christmas market Valkenburg, Limburg

Christmas market in a cave (Valkenburg, The Netherlands), photu by Kerststad Valkenburg | Your Dutch Guide

From mid-December the caves of Valkenburg in the most southern tip of The Netherlands are probably turned into the most stunning Christmas markets in The Netherlands. They’re really like fairytales. The caves are filled with stalls selling handmade presents, like hats, gloves, beauty products and Christmas lights. In one of the caves, you van even see some sculptures and cave paintings. If this sounds a little claustrophobic to you, don’t worry. The Christmas market above ground is also really worth a visit.

Plan your trip to Valkenburg

  • You can visit this special Christmas market in The Netherlands from the second week of November until the first week of January.
  • Valkenburg is a 2,5 drive from Amsterdam, so you better stay over night. Check out the nicest hotels in Valkenburg.
  • If you’d rather stay at a holiday park, I recommend Kasteeldomein de Cauberg, which is really close to Valkenburg.
  • Valkenburg and Maastricht are rather close together, so you can easily combine a visit.

Christmas markets in The Netherlands
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Christmas markets in The Netherlands, 7 Christmas markets in The Netherlands you should visit | Your Dutch Guide

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  • Reply
    October 11, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I’m always up for a good Christmas market. I love learning about all the little touches that makes each market different than the others.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    These look so beautiful!! I would love to visit the Netherlands during the Christmas season. Now I have even more reason to do so!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Wow what a great list of places! I’m feeling festive already! We’ve always just gone to Germany for a Christmas market break, but you’ve now put the Netherlands on our radar!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    They all look wonderful! I love Christmas markets, though I of course rarely get to them. A trip to the Netherlands in December sounds like a great idea!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    How I would love to go to a Christmas market in Europe! Looks like Amsterdam would be my first choice in the Netherlands. Maybe someday!

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