9 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands

9 best Christmas markets in the Netherlands

Love them or hate them, December in northern Europe means Christmas markets. Although the general consensus is that the Germans and the Swiss do it best, there is an ever-increasing number of Christmas markets happening right here in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands' Christmas markets

As many who have visited can attest, the quality of Christmas markets in the Netherlands varies from city to city. While fond memories are made at one, holiday cheer is assaulted by heavy crowds and kitsch at the other.

In an attempt to drown out the shabbier variants, the following list presents the best few good bets for finding Yuletide cheer amongst the many Christmas markets taking place in the Netherlands this year.

Best Christmas markets in the Netherlands

Although diverse, the top three represent the best Christmas events, combining quality markets with a festive atmosphere.

Dordrecht Christmas market

The top spot goes to the Christmas market in Dordrecht. On its own, the small city is a charmer: home to just over 100.000 people, a well-preserved medieval quarter and a massive 13th-century Grote Kerk acting as a beautiful Gothic centrepiece. 

Although it only lasts a weekend, Dordrecht Christmas market spares no expense and features over 200 stalls arranged in practical categories that include a hobbyists' square, winter-themed gifts and music, art and antiques and various charities offering information about their fundraising efforts.

Valkenburg Christmas Market

Nestled between Maastricht and Heerlen, the small city of Valkenburg has made Christmas celebrations its forte with the Valkenburg Christmas Town. Extended over a month and a half, the city features seven activities meant to draw visitors from near and far. The major events include a culinary walking tour, a Santa’s Village, weekly Christmas Parades and "the Largest Underground Nativity Scene in Europe."

The main attraction is, however, the multiple underground Christmas markets. Set in the Cauberg, the most popular caves are the municipal and Velvet Caves. Combined, there is actually quite a diverse product mix to be found; from Polish crafts to more typical ornaments, the stalls are festively decorated with approachable service.

Valkenburg Christmas Market

Classic Christmas markets in the Netherlands

These events take a more classic approach to the holiday market and are certainly worth a visit!

Magical Maastricht - Maastricht Christmas market

Every winter, the city of Maastricht gets a bit more magical to kick off the holiday season. Taking up the entirety of the central Vrijthof square, the month-long Magical Maastricht event features over 75 stalls, a Ferris wheel and a beautiful ice skating rink that, unlike some more novel attempts, is actually large enough to enjoy.

What's more, everything is set in Maastricht’s delightful centre with the shopping streets and cafes in the Jekerkwartier just a street away.

Delft Christmas Market

Every year, Delft hosts a Christmas market along the canals and on its market square in the city centre. Here, you can admire the wintry wooden huts erected for the market, and browse through the different options of things to buy, such as food, drinks or small Christmas trinkets. 

In the city centre, you will also find lots of Christmas-themed entertainment, such as carol singers, choirs and bands playing Christmas songs. It really is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Christmas Markets in and near Amsterdam

In terms of Christmas markets in the vicinity of Amsterdam, Haarlem is home to a great Christmas market. Haarlem is particularly well suited to host a market due to its compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets. Haarlem Christmas Market takes place on the central square, but it would be a mistake to miss ducking into the small side streets and enjoying the variety of stalls and eateries offering delectable snacks. 

Aside from Haarlem, there is also the Christmas market located at the Museumplein in central Amsterdam. Here, from around mid-December, you can find lots of market stalls selling Christmas trinkets and cosy fire pits where you can warm yourself up in the cold. 

Not too far from Amsterdam, you can also find the Winter Village Amstelveen, located south of the city. For those in the North of Amsterdam, why not try visiting the Alkmaar Christmas Market or the Castle Christmas Fair - these markets have the privilege of being fairly close to Amsterdam on public transport, while being less crowded than central Amsterdam in the run-up to Christmas.

Amsterdam Christmas Markets

Image: Boris-B /

The Hague Christmas Market - Royal Christmas Fair

The Hague is a beautiful city at the best of times, let alone at Christmas when the city is lit up - that makes it the perfect place for a Christmas market fit for a monarch! At the Royal Christmas Fair in the Hague, you can experience Christmas in the historic heart of the city.

At the Royal Christmas Fair, you will be met by a number of Christmassy bars, stalls, and even a photo booth! There’s also a Christmas stage where you can catch some performances and for the kids, there’s even a chance to see Santa!

Small Christmas markets in the Netherlands

Due to their unique layouts, these smaller markets are oozing with Christmas charm!

Utrecht Christmas market

Utrecht doesn’t have a Christmas market per se, but there are a number of Christmas-themed events taking place in the city during the festive period. Firstly, the Country and Christmas Fair Utrecht will take place during the final week of November in the Slot Zeist - a stunning 17th-century palace and park, where you can buy Christmas gifts, trinkets, delicacies and art, all while taking in the atmosphere. 

There are also a number of other wonderful Christmas events taking place in Utrecht throughout the holiday season, such as Winter Station at the Spoorwegmuseum, where you can ice skate and enjoy some christmassy snacks and drinks, and the Christmas Fair at Doorn House. At Doorn House, located not far from Utrecht, you can enjoy a high-end Christmas shopping experience, with more than 100 retailers in a stately home!

Still want something fancier? We have one final shot! The Soestdijk Palace transforms into a magical Christmas market event for just a few days each November, so if you're looking to have a sophisticated Christmas this one could be for you! Set in the grounds of a former royal palace, during the Spirit of Winter event you'll find yourself surrounded by glittering lights, cosy market stands and delicious food in the grounds of a castle fit for a king!

Soestdijk palace spirit of winter

Rotterdam Christmas Market

While Rotterdam also doesn’t have a main Christmas market, the city is home to many cool, smaller markets over the festive period that feature food, drinks and Christmas gifts available for purchase. The main Christmas event that does take place in Rotterdam is the Winter Fair, taking place at Rotterdam Ahoy. 

Here, you can shop, eat, drink or even take part in workshops on subjects such as arts and crafts, food or health and leisure. Overall, the venue makes for a great opportunity to relax, unwind and simply take part in the festivities.

Leiden Christmas market

One of the newer Christmas markets in the Netherlands, the event in Leiden is unique due to its layout. With temporary scaffolding set over the central Nieuwe Rijn, the entire market literally takes place on the water.

Combine the unique construction with a good amount of sellers and some worthy holiday foodstuffs and this market looks to become a perennial favourite for those looking for a cosier holiday experience.

Visit a Christmas market in the Netherlands

Now you know the best spots to go, make sure to wrap up warm and head to your favourite Christmas market before the season ends. It's the time to eat, drink, and be merry after all!

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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