Christmas in the Netherlands: The best Dutch Christmas markets in 2021
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It’s that time of the year again! The nights are drawing in, the lights are going up, and the Christmas holidays are right around the corner. Are you already looking forward to all the joys the festive season has to offer and are you keen to get into the Christmas spirit? Why not visit one of the many Christmas markets that can be found in Dutch cities across the country?
8 Christmassy events in the Netherlands in 2021
The coronavirus pandemic and the Christmas lockdown meant that last year, many beloved festive events and Christmas markets couldn’t go ahead. Looking to make up for lost time? Don’t worry, there’s plenty for everyone this winter! Here’s our guide to the best Christmas markets in the Netherlands.
Ice Village Amsterdam, December 15 - December 26
This event is extremely popular with residents and tourists alike, offering not only a magical setting in which to don your skates and take to the ice, but also a cosy Christmas market in the run-up to Christmas. Roam the dozens of stalls and search for some food or drink, or pick up some last-minute Christmas presents for friends and family.
Of course, the Ice Village isn’t the only festive event in or around the Dutch capital. Why not check out Winter Village Amstelveen (December 4 - January 9), or the Amsterdam Winter Paradise at the RAI (December 19 - January 3).
Valkenburg Christmas Market, November 12 - January 9
The Christmas Town in Valkenburg is one of the most unique Christmas markets in the Netherlands. Head down to the famous caves of Valkenburg, and delight in all the winter festivities Limburg has to offer. The labyrinth of caves is utterly transformed by magical lights and festive music, so treat yourself to some tasty treats and beautiful decorations so you can take a little bit of the magic home with you.
It’s also a great event as, due to the fact that a lot of the attractions are underground, you’re guaranteed to have a dry day out, regardless of the weather! If you’re looking for more festivities above-ground, visit Santa’s Village, enjoy the Christmas parade, or walk the delicious Route d’Amuse throughout the city.
Winter Fair Ahoy, December 1 - December 5
The Winter Fair is back! This December, head over to Rotterdam for a week of guaranteed festive fun. For five days, the iconic Ahoy arena becomes the home of this beloved Christmas market, as vendors sell pretty much everything and anything you can imagine. Stock up on Christmas decorations to make your house nice and homey, or pick up a gift for your office Secret Santa.
On top of all that, the Winter Fair also hosts a number of activities and events throughout the week to keep visitors entertained - everything from live music and fashion shows, to bingo!
Royal Christmas Fair The Hague, December 9 - December 22
Another firm favourite among Christmas lovers is the Royal Christmas Fair, which takes place in The Hague every December. The historic city centre transforms into a charming and romantic Christmas market with over 100 stalls, various events, and the one and only Santa Claus!
There’s something for all ages at this festive event, with a full children’s market for the little ones and plenty of traditional German food and drink (including glühwein, of course).
Magical Maastricht, November 27 - January 2
Throughout the month of December, the city of Maastricht is utterly transformed as it becomes one of the most exciting places in the Netherlands during the winter: Magical Maastricht. Visit the Vrijthof square and the Sint Servatius bridge and immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit.
Looking for other ways to celebrate the season in Maastricht? Why not walk the Magical Light Routes throughout the city and discover how enchanting it can really be!
Deventer’s Dickens Festival, December 9 - December 19
Looking for a more authentic and traditional Christmas feel? Travel back in time this winter with the immersive Dickens Festival in Deventer. Get lost in the Victorian Christmas atmosphere, as you’re surrounded by hundreds of people in traditional dress.
On top of the city-wide Victorian-era re-enactment, Deventer hosts a substantial Christmas market, decked out with fairy lights and several carol singers and musicians singing or playing festive tunes.
Castle Christmas Fair, November 18 - November 21
Similar to the Dickens Festival, the Castle Christmas Fair at Beeckestijn country estate (near Haarlem) is utterly magical at this time of year. Every year, the castle grounds play host to what can only be described as a winter wonderland, with an exclusive events programme and stalls selling a range of Christmas and lifestyle items.
Gouda by Candlelight, December 10
For one night (and one night only), the historic city centre of Gouda is lit up - literally - as the city hall is decorated with 1.500 candles. The local mayor also attends Gouda by Candlelight to switch on the lights in the city’s Christmas tree. Visitors can enjoy an evening of food and drink, or visit one of the city’s many churches for a festive concert.
Visit a Dutch Christmas market this festive season!
Whether you're planning a day (or weekend!) trip to visit one of these events, or just planning to pop by your local Christmas market, you're certainly in for a festive treat - these Christmas markets in the Netherlands are definitely worth a visit!