5 fun winter activities in the Netherlands

5 fun winter activities in the Netherlands

Yes, it’s cold outside. While the cold weather might make it tempting to curl up indoors under a fluffy blanket and binge-watch Netflix shows, why not get out and about and see what's out there to see and do in the Netherlands this winter season?

Things to in Holland in the winter

Stumped for ways to spend your days in the Netherlands when the weather is cold and the days are short? Don't worry, we're here to help!

1. Get your skates on (or rent a pair) and dance on the ice

It’s a very Dutch thing to do and whilst you may think that some Dutch children are born with their own bicycle, already cycling away, you could also say that some are born wearing ice skates. The Dutch take ice skating seriously and have won dozens of medals in speed skating.

But if you weren’t born wearing ice skates, or aren’t champion-level yet, that’s ok. Ice skating is something you can do for fun too; it doesn’t have to be competitive. Just go on down to your local ice rink - this could be a seasonal one - and get some ice time in with friends. A great addition to ice skating is, of course, hot chocolate. Yum! It’s the perfect treat to warm yourself up after dancing on the ice.

There are plenty of rinks to be found across various Dutch cities and towns, but some of the most popular ones include Ice Amsterdam and Schaatsbaan Rotterdam.

2. Visit the ballet

If you don't want to be spending too much time outside in the cold, there are several indoor activities for you to enjoy too - this winter, why not head to the ballet!? 

Ballet is mesmerising, especially during the winter. The dancers make it look effortless, but trust me; it’s very, very difficult. Ballet sounds like something only wealthy people can go to, and I get it, but it is simply not true! There's something for everyone at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam, and you can get tickets for some performances for less than 20 euros.

That is a bargain in almost everyone’s books; after all, think how much it costs to go to a concert. A ballet performance features extravagant sets, costumes, and dancers that have trained for years and years and it isn’t over after 30 minutes. Worth every penny!

3. Head out to taste some traditional Dutch winter dishes

Let’s be honest, the Dutch don’t exactly shine when it comes to the traditional dishes their kitchen has to offer, especially when compared with other cuisines that have very distinctive flavours. However, in the winter the dishes here are downright delicious and not all centred around sweets (think stroopwafels and hagelslag).

In the winter, the Dutch really know how to satisfy your appetite with their hearty stamppots or thick soups. Venture out to a local restaurant to try some of these goodies. If you are stuck for a place and just want to grab a quick bite, you can always go to the Hema!

4. Experience the magic of a winter theme park

Theme parks are not just for the summer; they are amazing in the winter too, full of twinkling lights and delightful amusements! Some theme parks even embrace the spirit of the holidays, offering special attractions and warm food and drinks.

The Efteling is probably one of the most well-known theme parks in the Netherlands and it holds a special winter edition during the cold months of November to the end of January. At the Winter Efteling, you’ll find all of the usual fairy-tale characters and be able to visit each and every attraction, with the exception of the water rides, of course. In addition to the usual attractions, the theme park has some great winter extras, such as a cross-country ski slope, snow slide and ice-skating rink.

Of course, Efteling is not the only theme park in the Netherlands open during the winter season; this winter also sees Toverland open its doors for the first time, and it's a great option for those wanting to experience the thrill of a roller coaster and the magic of the winter season!

5. Enjoy a blockbuster on the big screen at your local cinema

This is a classic, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you want to get in from the cold and be whisked off to another world, then undoubtedly the best place to do this is the cinema. Not only does this activity offer you some perhaps much-needed escapism, but it's also something that can be enjoyed as a family, a couple, with friends, or just by yourself if you need some me-time.

Take a look at the films showing at your local cinema - they might even have some special expat or vintage screenings, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for special events taking place at this time of year!

Enjoy winter in the Netherlands!

So, now you know about a few of the awesome things you can do during the winter season in the Netherlands, will you be unwrapping yourself from your self-made, fleecy burrito state, turning off the TV and venturing out of the house? We hope you will, and we hope that you will have a great time discovering the winter magic and fun that the Netherlands possesses!

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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