December in Amsterdam: What to do?

When in Amsterdam...there are plenty of things to do in December. Here is not a comprehensive list of things going on in Amsterdam during the month of December in 2017.

December in Amsterdam things to do

English Speakers always want to talk about the weather.

Lets get this out of the way first. The weather in Amsterdam in December is not going to be good. It is going to be cold and miserable outside. If this image is in your head then everything is going to be fine. You don't come to Amsterdam for the weather! That aside here are some useful tips.

  1. It's going to be colder than you think. The large amount of water in Amsterdam means what the weather man or woman has typed into your forecast is not what it feels like.
  2. Don't look at the temperature, look at the wind direction. 
    1. West wind = normal, changeable, fresh, rain; 
    2. North = stable; 
    3. South = doesn't come in winter; 
    4. East = put everything you brought on and still it is not enough.
  3. Don't trust the weather man or me.
  4. If you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes
  5. Favorite this webpage or download its accompanying app. Buidenradar. This is a live radar system. You can see if rain, snow or hail is coming and decide weather to have another coffee or Heineken or make a run for it.

Fricking Amsterdam Light Festival - All of December

The Amsterdam marketing machine has deemed this the thing to do in the city for December. Mostly local artists create objects and some art pieces. These are scattered in an orderly fashion through out Amsterdam and connected to electricity.

The objects have been scattered in an orderly fashion so you can walk, bike or boat past. If you are in Amsterdam during Winter you are bound to stumble across these objects. Often this is more exciting than participating in a pre-planned event.

National Ballet Amsterdam the nutcracker things to do in December in Amsterdam

Real High Culture

No thai-dyed Jimmy Hendrix joint smokers here. Just ballet and opera. Of course Amsterdammers won't hold it against you if you have a joint before the show. The Netherlands' egalitarian society makes going to the ballet or opera an affordable and enjoyable experience. There is no need to wear a suit, tie or evening dress. Turn up and enjoy the show. This is what is important.

Dutch National Ballet performs Sleeping Beauty

Dutch National Opera has a production of Puccini's La Boheme.

Friday night Skate Amsterdam things to do in Amsterdam December

Crazy Skaters

Friday Skate Night with Christmas theme weather permitting.
The event has been held every Friday night since 1997 when the weather is good. It starts from Vondel Park at 8pm and runs to about 10:30pm.

The Christmas edition is always a sight with skaters, rollers all dressed up in costume. Updates on the event can be found on their Facebook Page.

Self inflicted Cruelty (Not in 2017)

Winter Circus 19 December -3 January At the Rai
I am not really into circuses that use animals but this one uses people. A good 2.5 hours of entertainment for the whole family and you don't have to have those awkward ethical thoughts. If you are interested here is the link.


Valhalla Festival 23 December a bizarre night of a mixture of circus, and dance music starting at 10:30 and running until 7am.

winter markets in Amsterdam things to do in December

Best Markets to Visit in December

December represents market madness in Amsterdam. The daily markets continue but the holiday season witnesses a plethora of Winter goodies and activities.

The usual suspects are at their locations. Think poor versions of German Christmas markets. At least we are straight talkers in Amsterdam. Normal locations are Rembrandtplein, Leidseplein and Museumplein.

Special markets that sell artisan goods from local and small producers are also popular in this month of Winter.

Kerst Fair Sunday Market 10 December
Pure Market: 17 December 2017
Funky Xmas Market 10 December 2017

Amsterdamshe kerstmarket De Kromhouthal 22,23 December
Hip and local. North Amsterdam is what Brooklyn or the Bronx is to Manhatten in New York. The one difference is that it is easy to get to with the free ferry from behind Amsterdam's Central Train Station.

Museum Market: 17 December 2017
Your winter paradise surrounded by wonderful architecture. There will be the largest ice skating rink in the old city. Watch the children push around chairs learning to skate. Young and old lovers skating holding hands. Stoned college students from abroad falling over, laughing and giggling.

You get the idea skating, warm wine, sausages and pretzels beneath the towering institutions of the Rijks and Van Gogh museums. Of course, don't forget there is that IAmsterdam sign all visitors have been told is a must to visit and photograph!

FoodHallen:  indoor food market open 7 days.
I am not a great fan of the Food Hallen. Mostly because it is not in my immediate neighborhood. Yes, us Amsterdammers are fiercely micro-local.

In Winter I do admit the FoodHallen comes into its own. It is located in the old tram depot and there is a range of bites to satisfy all tastes. Do be mindful of peak times lunch on Saturday and Sunday demonstrate the eternal Amsterdam problem - there is never enough space.

World Famous Rock Pop events in December

These listing have been added to make you salivate. Most of these events were sold out within minutes of the tickets release. Prince, the wonderful eccentric is the only one who has not released tickets yet. There will be black market ticket sellers about. You all know the risks but where there is a will there is a way. So the saying goes.

Check out the music institutions of
-  Ziggo Dome
- Bimhuis - jazz
- Paradiso - bands and djs on smaller stages
- Melkweg - similar to Paradiso

Find out about more Dutch world hits you didn't know were Dutch on our blog entry.

So many Museum Exhibitions your nose could bleed

If you haven't heard we love our museums in Amsterdam. Winter is a great time to visit our historical and cultural institutions with out the high season crowds. We have only placed a selection below of the exhibitions we found interesting.

Hermitage Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Stedelijk (Contemporary Art)

Amsterdam Museum


Rembrandt House


Jewish Historical Museum

Museum of Bags and Purses

Museum Van Loon

De Appel

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