Celebrating Christmas in the Netherlands: Popular Dutch Christmas songs
Sinterklaas may once have been the number one gift-giving holiday in the Netherlands, but Christmas has seen its popularity grow significantly over the past few years. These days, more and more families celebrate the Christmas holidays, decking out their homes with plenty of decorations and all sitting together for a delicious meal on the big day.
Of course, there are plenty of Sinterklaas songs that you and your children can sing to celebrate the traditional Dutch equivalent to Christmas, and you might be familiar with the rather grim Dutch Christmas classic Flappie, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other, more cheery Dutch Christmas songs too!
Christmas songs in Dutch
Looking for ways you can Dutch-ify your Christmas celebrations this year? Why not start off with some of the most popular kerstmuziek ("Christmas music").
Als De Eerste Sneeuw Valt
This song by Dutch artist Emma Heesters was only released in 2020, so it is a new addition to the Dutch collection of Christmas music. Whether or not you understand what Heesters is singing about, Als De Eerste Sneeuw Valt - or “When the first snow falls” - will definitely have you feeling cosy and festive.
Ik ben een Kerstbal
This Christmas song has a bit of a funny title ("I am a Christmas bauble") but it was all done in the name of charity. Back in 2019, over 30 Dutch celebrities - from Chantal Janzen to Gordon - came together to record a Christmas song, with proceeds going towards the Princess Máxima Centre for Pediatric Oncology.
Ik droom van een Kerstfeest
While it may not be obvious from the title, if you listen to Ik droom van een Kerstfeest ("I’m dreaming of a Christmas party"), you’ll quickly realise the tune is undoubtedly familiar. The lyrics are a little different, but this song is a Dutch version of John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over).
Dutch Christmas carols
In addition to some of the modern, more chart-friendly Christmas songs, there are a number of Dutch Christmas carols and Dutch translations of the English carols you already know and love at this time of year.
Even if you haven't learned Dutch yet, you can probably guess which song this is, and while you’re probably familiar with the English version of this Christmas carol, the classic song also exists in Dutch.
Another Dutch translation of a classic, O Denneboom takes the English (or German!) lyrics you know and love from O Christmas tree or O Tannenbaum, and puts a Dutch spin on them.
Er is een Kindeke Geboren op Aard
The title of this traditional Dutch Christmas song translates to “A baby is born on Earth” and, as you would expect, tells the story of the birth of Jesus.
Midden in de Winternacht
This is another Dutch carol that features in many services over Christmas. Like Er is een Kindeke Geboren op Aard, the lyrics of Midden in de Winternacht (“Middle in the winter night”) tell the story of Jesus’ birth on a cold and peaceful winter’s night.
Dutch-ify your Christmas with some kerstmuziek
No matter what kind of music you're after, there is probably a kerstliedje ("Christmas song") out there for you. Regardless of how (or where) you celebrate, have a very merry Christmas!