Amsterdam in December

Amsterdam in December | Best Travel Guide

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If you are planning a visit to Amsterdam in December be sure to use this post to prepare for everything this month has to offer. December is a beautiful month to visit Amsterdam and there are a lot of exciting things to do and unique events to enjoy.

In the month of December Amsterdam is chilly and romantic. The streets are less full of people and the brisk air and glowing cafes make for the ultimate cozy atmosphere.

Every month of the year offers something unique and different in Amsterdam. As the capital city of the Netherlands and one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, it is a hub of excitement with something to offer for everyone.

If you are visiting Amsterdam in December be sure to use this post as your ultimate monthly travel guide!

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General Information for Amsterdam in December

Weather in December

The winter weather in Amsterdam during the month of December is quite mild. This is surprising to most as Amsterdam is located quite north, but its location along the ocean makes the temperatures rarely go below 0°. During the month of December, you can expect highs of 7° and lows of 2°. However, Amsterdam’s air has a heavy chill in it during the winter, and bundling up is a must!

Winter in Amsterdam is when the country welcomes the most rainfall. You can expect a few rainy days in Amsterdam during your visit but with the proper rain gear, this should not be a problem.

Why you should visit Amsterdam in December

December is a beautiful month to visit Amsterdam. During this time the streets are full of magical festive lights, everyone is bundled up all cozy, and all the cafes in the city are serving warm drinks by the dozen. This is one of the best winter months to visit Amsterdam. If you are looking for a beautiful winter getaway this is the perfect place to go! It is one of the most romantic months to visit Amsterdam and the perfect time to go on a romantic date in Amsterdam.

What’s even better is the December is the month the welcomes some of the fewest tourists. Amsterdam is an extremely touristy city and most months, the streets are packed with people. In December there are fewer tourists so you can enjoy some attractions in a more intimate way. Plus, the prices for accommodations and flights are significantly lower which is perfect for anyone traveling on a budget.

Amsterdam streets in December

Events and Holidays in Amsterdam in December


Sinterklaas is a holiday widely celebrated by the Dutch. For most Dutch children this day is more important than Christmas! Sinterklaas (also known as Saint Nicholas) is a Dutch character that arrives each year bringing gifts for children. This holiday is quite similar to Christmas but has a few differences in traditions and is celebrated on December 5th.

Sinterklaas is not an official holiday in the Netherlands but it is celebrated by almost all Dutchies and you will see its influence all around Amsterdam. To immerse yourself in this Dutch tradition be sure to pick up and enjoy some traditional sweets like pepernoten, spiced biscuits, and chocolate letters.

Christmas Season

Amsterdam is a city that loves Christmas! All month long the city is in full festive mode, making it the perfect place to enjoy the wonderful Christmas season. All around the city, you will find festive light installations, Christmas shops, and festive treats. There are also a few special Christmas events to enjoy.

Amsterdam Christmas tree
Amsterdam canals full of lights

One of the most interesting and fun Christmas celebrations is the Christmas tree lighting in Dam Square. This is an annual event that happens on the 15th of December where a giant Christmas tree in the center of Amsterdam’s most lively square is lit up in thousands of Christmas lights.

In addition to this, you can find various other Christmas celebrations around Amsterdam that will surely put you in the Christmas spirit.

Amsterdam Light Festival

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a yearly event that takes place in Amsterdam from December to January. This event is very unique and special to the city of Amsterdam and is something you don’t want to miss. During the Light Festival, various art exhibitions from artists from around the world are placed all around the city. Each year has a different theme and the exhibitions follow it.

Amsterdam light festival

You can enjoy the Light Festival either by foot, bike, or boat. You can find a map online of where the exhibitions are and find them yourself. Or join one of the many canal cruise tours that bring you around the city to see the art installations. The canal cruises are nice because they often also provide free drinks. The winter is quite cold so if you decide to walk or bike be sure to bundle up!

Rijksmuseum Skating

There is no better way to feel the festive season in Amsterdam than by going for a skate on the Rijksmuseum skating rink! From mid-November – February a giant skating rink is built behind the famous Rijksmuseum. This is the perfect place to visit in Amsterdam in December for some outdoor, open-air skating in one of the most magical locations in the city.

If you don’t want to skate you can also visit the rink to walk over the bridge that passes over top of it, drink warm hot chocolate, or even have a glass of wine!

Skating at Rijksmuseum
Skating at Rijksmuseum

New Years Eve

New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is definitely something else. Ringing in the New Year in the packed streets of Amsterdam with fireworks going off in every direction is as wild and crazy as it gets. During New Years in Amsterdam, firework displays are put off by everyone and everywhere. You will likely walk right beside some fireworks going off by locals! It is quite hectic.

If you are not interested in walking the packed streets, you can also buy a ticket to go to an NYE party at one of Amsterdam’s may clubs. The tickets for this can get quite pricey but its the best way to ensure entrance to a party full of celebrations.

Other things to do in Amsterdam in December

Go to a Museum

Visiting Amsterdam in December promises cold days and at least one day of rain. With this in mind, it is a good idea to plan a few indoor activities for your visits. One of the best indoor activities to be had in Amsterdam is going to one of the many museums in the city. Amsterdam is full of amazing museums from art museums to science to history and more.

There truly is a museum for every type of traveler and some of them are pretty unique. Check out this post for a full Amsterdam museum guide!

*IMPORTANT: The Anne Frank House has now limited its amount of guests to 1 million a year. As a result, tickets ONLY go on sale ONLINE on the first Tuesday of the Month*

Museum in Amsterdam
Light exhibit in Amsterdam

Winter Canal Cruise

Cruising through the canals of Amsterdam is a year-long activity to enjoy. In the winter month of December sailing through the calm and stunning canals of Amsterdam is still one of the best ways to enjoy the city. In December it is arguably better to take a canal tour around the city to walk because you often get warm drinks or alcohol on board to keep you warm!

If you decide to take a canal cruise be sure to bundle up. Plus, check what your tour company offers – drinks, blankets, heating. With all these amenities a comfortable and enjoyable ride is promised.

Amsterdam canal cruise

Cafe Hopping

With the frigid December air, finding places to warm up around the city is needed. The best places to escape to are the cozy and comfortable cafes scatted on every street in the city. Amsterdam is full of amazing cafes that serve delicious drinks like coffees, teas, and more.

Plus, they often serve delicious sweet treats and small bites to eat. Escaping the cold for a warm drink in the heart of Amsterdam is one of the best things to do!

Check out this post for a complete Amsterdam cafe guide!

Go on a Day Trip

Amsterdam is in the perfect location for making quick day trips to nearby cities in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam in December taking a day trip is the perfect way to spend a day. There are a ton of amazing places to visit just an hour or less from Amsterdam with will wow you! Some of the best are Muiderslot Castle, Utrecht, Haarlem, and more!

Day trip from Amsterdam

Evidently, Amsterdam in December is a wonderful time of year to visit. If you are looking to feel the ultimate winter festive feelings and enjoy lower prices for visiting one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, this is the place for you!

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