9 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands in 2018
It's that time of year again! All over the Netherlands, the streets and shops are decked out with dazzling decorations, and historical and cosy hotspots are highlighted with alluring, twinkling fairy lights, ready for Christmas.
9 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands
There are so many fantastic Christmas markets in the Netherlands. Depending on your taste, you can choose from intimate markets, markets in unusual settings or, if you're lucky, you can swing by a market close to your home. Having a hard time deciding which Christmas market would suit you best? Take a look at our pick of the 9 best ones:
[November 16-December 30] Valkenburg Christmas City
Valkenburg Christmas City is an annual collaboration between seven glorious Christmas attractions in Valkenburg that lasts a month and a half.
The multiple underground Christmas markets in the fascinating caves of the Cauberg are without a doubt the main attraction of the Valkenburg Christmas City. 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.
[December 1-January 2] Magical Maastricht Christmas Market
The Market is an enchanting coming-together of innovation and tradition, with an indoor ice rink, a Ferris wheel, all kinds of other activities and nostalgic Christmas chalets fitted with red roofs and attractive Christmas garlands and wreaths.
[November 29-December 2] Castle Christmas Fair
One of the most magical Christmas fairs in North Holland is the Castle Christmas Fair, taking place at the Medieval Assumburg Castle in Heemskerk. At the castle grounds, 20.000 visitors are welcomed into a winter wonderland, with a Christmas bazaar selling seasonal wares and an exclusive programme featuring winter fashion, performances and culinary treats.
[December 14-16] Dordrecht Christmas Market
The historic heart of Dordrecht is home to the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands, with hundreds of market stands and multiple stages to the backdrop of the city’s iconic inner ports.
Dordrecht is a small and charming city with just over 100.000 people. The whole city participates in the Dordrecht Christmas Market, so that the stalls are well-dispersed and not too busy. Different areas have particular themes, and strolling through them gives you a great view of the picturesque streets of Dordrecht!
[December 8-9] Haarlem Christmas Market
At the Haarlem Christmas Market, more than 300 stalls are laid out through the city centre, coming together to form one of the most celebrated Christmas events in the Netherlands.
Dispersed 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, such as handmade crafts and artisan foods, is impeccably high.
[December 9-10] Archeon Midwinter Fair
If you’d like to do something special this winter, which doesn't necessarily follow the classic Christmas aesthetic, there is the 16th Midwinter Fair, a charming fantasy event at Archeon. Archeon celebrates its 25th year, therefore the 2018 Midwinter Fair will be a special one.
The indoor market is filled with interesting stalls and the outdoor terrain contains all kinds of tents with traditional tradesmen selling their unique items. Warm yourself by one of the fires, check out one of the delightful bands and grab a bite after shopping. There will also be various fun shows to admire, as well as trade demonstrations and Medieval fights.
[December 14-23] Royal Christmas Fair The Hague
Aiming for an international audience, the stately Lange Voorhout in The Hague will once again transform into the Royal Christmas Fair. The fair 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.
You will find glühwein, winter pelts, 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 14-26] 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 eighth edition of the scaffolded 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 15-16] 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 carollers 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!
Visit a Christmas market this festive season
Whether you decide to go on a day trip to another city especially to visit a festive fair, or look for a top Christmas market near you, you'll be in for a treat. These Christmas markets in the Netherlands are well worth a visit.