12 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands in 2019
That festive time of the year has returned! All over the Netherlands, the streets and shops are decorated to the nines and festive hotspots are illuminated with arresting, shimmering fairy lights, ready for the Christmas holidays.
12 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands
There are plenty of excellent Christmas markets in the Netherlands, the perfect day out for families and kids during - and leading up to - the school holidays and for anyone looking forward to getting psyched for the festive period. Most Christmas markets in the Netherlands take place outdoors in the streets of various Dutch cities, but there are a few indoor ones, which always prove reliable no matter how bad the Dutch weather gets.
Choose from intimate markets, stalls in unusual settings or maybe even a spin on an ice-rink! Take a day trip to another city or swing by a market close to your home. Start your Christmas shopping and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones!
Having a hard time deciding which Christmas market would suit you best? Take a look at our pick of the 12 best ones:
[November 15-December 29] Valkenburg Christmas Market
Valkenburg Christmas Market is an annual celebration in the famous caves in Valkenburg that lasts a month and a half. The multiple underground Christmas markets in the fascinating caves of the Cauberg are one of the prime attractions of the Limburg region. The merchandise is not the most diverse, but the setting is unique, a first-rate Christmas treat in the Netherlands.
The most popular attractions are the Municipal Caves and the Velvet Cave. The newest addition to the Christmas market caves is Mergelrijk, where you'll be surrounded by brittle marlstone. Santa’s Village is the main market above ground and you can also visit the Christmas Parade and walk the delicious Route d’Amuse. Valkenburg is close to the Dutch-German border, therefore the market is also popular with expats in Germany.
[November 29-December 31] Magical Maastricht Christmas Market
The market is a bewitching melting pot of innovation and tradition, with an indoor ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, all kinds of other activities and nostalgic Christmas chalets fitted with red roofs and attractive Christmas garlands and wreaths.
[December 13-26] Ice Village Christmas Market
Taking place for two weeks in Amsterdam in December, Ice Village Christmas Market is located on Museumplein, in the vicinity of some of the most famous museums in Amsterdam, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum.
The market is open from December 13-26 from 11am until 8pm. It's even open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (on these two days, it opens from 11am-5pm). As well as the many stalls, there's also ice skating, which continues until February 2 at Ice Amsterdam, as well as places to enjoy tasty Dutch snacks like poffertjes and oliebollen, as well as festive favourites like mulled wine and hot chocolate.
[December 7-January 5] Winter Village Amstelveen
Taking place for almost a month this holiday season, Winter Village Amstelveen is one of the biggest Christmas markets in North Holland. Complete with stalls, a restaurant and an ice skating rink, it's the archetypal pop-up Christmas wonderland.
Winter Village Amstelveen is open from December 7 until January 5 and entry to the Christmas market is completely free, while an ice skating ticket costs only 7,50 euros.
[December 5-8] Winter Fair Ahoy
This indoor Christmas market is at one of the biggest and most famous events venues in the Netherlands. Winter Fair Ahoy in Rotterdam goes that extra mile, offering even more than the average indoor Christmas market. Book your Winter Fair Ahoy tickets online and don't miss out on the exciting Christmas cheer!
[November 28-December 1] Castle Christmas Fair
Get ready for one of the most magical Christmas fairs in North Holland: Castle Christmas Fair, at Beeckestijn country estate. At the castle grounds, 20.000 visitors are welcomed into a winter wonderland, with a Christmas bazaar selling seasonal goodies and an exclusive programme featuring winter fashion, performances and culinary treats.
[December 13-15] Dordrecht Christmas Market
The historic heart of Dordrecht is home to one of the largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands, with hundreds of stalls against the backdrop of the city’s iconic inner ports. There are also concert stages, where performances take place throughout the market.
Dordrecht is a small, charming city, south of Rotterdam, with just over 100.000 inhabitants. The whole city comes alive during Dordrecht Christmas Market, and the market stalls are well-dispersed and not too congested. Different areas of the market have specific themes, and strolling through them gives you a great view of the lovely streets, lanes and canals of Dordrecht!
[December 7-8] Haarlem Christmas Market
At the Haarlem Christmas Market, over 300 stalls are laid out throughout the city centre, forming one of the most famous Christmas events in the Netherlands.
Spread out amongst the stalls are choirs singing Christmas songs, stirring up those warm and merry festive feelings while you browse. Haarlem is an exceptionally great place to host a market thanks to its compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets. The quality of the products on sale is impressively high.
[December 7-8] Archeon Midwinter Fair
If you’d like to do something special this winter, which doesn't necessarily follow the typical Christmas vibe, then you'd probably like the 17th Midwinter Fair. This is a captivating fantasy event as part of the Celebrate Winter at Archeon event at the archaeological living museum known as Archeon.
The indoor market in Alphen on de Rijn in South Holland is filled with interesting stalls and the outdoor fairgrounds contain a medley of tents with traditional tradesmen selling their unique items. Warm yourself by one of the fires, check out the exciting bands and grab a bite after your Christmas shopping. Expect to see fun shows, trade demonstrations and medieval fights.
[December 12-23] Royal Christmas Fair The Hague
The stately Lange Voorhout in The Hague will once again transform into the Royal Christmas Fair, which is set to be even more fun and colourful than previous years, with more than 80 Christmas chalets, a children’s market, thousands of lights and a diverse cultural programme. It's open every day for 12 days from 12pm-9pm.
You will find traditional German food and drink, like glühwein and flammkuchen, mood lights, wood carvings, candles, all kinds of Christmas wares, and, of course, there will be a great entertainment programme including various performances by children’s choirs, theatre companies, ensembles and storytellers.
[December 13-24] Floating Christmas Market Leiden
Floating Christmas Market Leiden was named the best Christmas market in Europe in 2016 by kerstmarkten.nl. This year is the ninth edition of the floating spectacle on the canals of the historic inner city of Leiden. In 2016, 150.000 visitors entered the winter village. This year will see 75 wooden chalets full of merchandise, and interesting attractions include a floating ice rink, multiple performances and a winter boat tour.
[December 14-15] Dickens Festival
The yearly Dickens Festival is a massive Victorian-era re-enactment in the heart of Deventer, featuring over 950 characters from Charles Dickens' most famous novels. Aromas of roasted chestnuts, the towering Christmas trees and beautifully restored buildings form the stage of this city-wide performance.
The Christmas market around the Lebuïnuskerk is substantial, and the groups of Christmas carol singers and musicians playing pleasant tunes in period style garb are sure to delight. The Dickens Festival is visited by 150.000 visitors annually. Be warned that due to its popularity, the waiting time at the entrance can run up to 1,5 hours. On the plus side, entry is free! A similar festival, Scrooge Festival, is taking place at the same time in the Limburg town of Arcen.
Visit a Christmas market this festive season
Whether you decide to embark on a day trip to another Dutch city to visit a festive fair or look for a Christmas market near you, you'll be in for a treat. These Christmas markets in the Netherlands are well worth a visit.