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Best Winter Activities in Amsterdam

Step into the magic of a Winter Getaway in Amsterdam! You might not get a tan, but these five uniquely Dutch activities will bring a warm sense of adventure and amazement right in The Netherlands’ capital.

By People! Just say Something!Published 2 years ago Updated 7 months ago 4 min read

This post was created with the support of OpenAI.

When you think of Amsterdam, visions of vibrant tulip fields and bustling canals in the summer might come to mind. However, the magic of this city is undeniable in the winter. With fewer tourists and the gentle embrace of winter chills, there emerges an essence of 'gezellig', a Dutch term capturing the heart of the Netherlands’ culture, blending the feelings of cosy, friendly, joyous, and so much more. To truly grasp its essence, immerse yourself in Amsterdam's winter wonders.

Embrace the Warmth of Brown Cafés

Central to Dutch culture, brown cafés (Bruine Kroeg in Dutch) emanate an old-world charm. Their signature dark wood walls create a snug ambience perfect for winter. Each café carries tales from centuries past, some even from the 1600s! Within their warm embrace, sip on decadent hot chocolates, and robust coffees, or delve into traditional delights like 'kroketten' (Dutch croquettes) or 'pannenkoeken' (Dutch pancakes).

Savour the Delight of Oliebollen

Beyond the famous Stroopwafel lies a winter delicacy, the oliebol. A festive pastry traditionally savoured on New Year's Eve, its popularity ensures the Oliebollenkramen (Oliebollen stalls) open much before Christmas. Sink your teeth into these delectable treats, feeling the warmth spread with every bite.

Experience the Glow of Amsterdam Light Festival

Winter brings a different kind of luminescence to Amsterdam - a meld of artistry and illumination. The Amsterdam Light Festival, celebrating artistic brilliance, casts a mesmerizing glow over the city's canals. With each year introducing a fresh theme, the festival witnesses a myriad of artists, architects, and designers bringing their visions of light to life. Envelop yourself in this luminary spectacle by opting for a canal tour, witnessing the illuminated masterpieces reflecting off the city’s iconic waterways.

Glide Through Ice*Amsterdam

Transforming into a winter wonderland, the Museumplein morphs into a sprawling ice rink during the winter months. Encircled by bustling market stalls and inviting pop-up cafés, Ice*Amsterdam offers an unparalleled skating experience. The majestic Rijksmuseum in the backdrop only enhances this enchanting experience. As you glide, every turn gives you glimpses of Amsterdam’s historic beauty juxtaposed against winter festivities.

Dive into Tradition with New Year's Dip

Kickstart your year with a chilly yet invigorating tradition – the New Year Swim. This daring event witnesses thousands diving into the North Sea, welcoming the year with a splash! Held predominantly at Zandvoort aan Zee, this exhilarating event ensures a dose of adrenaline, amidst the festive spirits of the participants.

Strolls Along Frosted Canals

One often underappreciated pleasure of Amsterdam in winter is leisurely walks by its frozen canals. The sight of narrow houses, their reflections shimmering on the icy water, and the serene silence of the city offer a tranquil retreat. Couple this with a mug of warm Glühwein or hot cider from a local vendor, and you have a memory for the ages.

7. Winter Markets and Carnivals

Amsterdam's squares come alive with winter markets and carnivals. Laden with holiday treats, trinkets, and handcrafted gifts, these markets exude a festive charm. Don't miss out on the carousels and fairground rides, adding a touch of nostalgic joy to the chilly days.


In essence, winter in Amsterdam isn't just a season; it's an experience. It’s a time when the city sheds its lively summer skin and dons a mantle of calm, cosiness, and ‘gezellig.’ The twinkling lights, the aroma of traditional delicacies, the sound of laughter echoing across frosted canals, and the warmth of locals embracing their cherished traditions offer travellers an unparalleled, immersive experience. So, if you're planning a winter retreat, let Amsterdam’s charm enchant you, and you might just find yourself discovering the true essence of 'gezellig'.

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About the Creator

People! Just say Something!

Quirky Writing created by Artistic Creativity and the power of AI with the goal of learning something new every day!

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