Amsterdam at Christmas?
June 25, 2005 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of going to Amsterdam over Christmas (from the States).

I know that the days will be short AND I imagine that some things may be closed on December 25 and thereabouts AND I know that it will be cold BUT....

Does anyone have recommendations for a winter visit to the city?
posted by Morrigan to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (5 answers total)
I was there for Christmas in 2000. Make sure you make plans for food on Christmas day ahead of time. A lot of places to eat were closed and many others were fully reserved.
posted by aneel at 1:57 PM on June 25, 2005

Be aware, stores close relatively early the 24th and probably closed the 26th, also. Not certain about the Netherlands, but in Germany, Belgium and the UK, the 26th is also a national holiday.
posted by Goofyy at 12:03 AM on June 26, 2005

December is such a great time to visit Amsterdam. The Dutch have a secular Christmas celebration on December 5th called Sinterklaas; that's when Dutch kids get their presents from Santa (lucky kids -- we have to wait another 20 days!). With Sinterklaas at the beginning of the month and Christmas at the end of the month, the whole city has an extremely festive feeling with lots of decorations and lights, etc.

The absolute best part though are the scores of street vendors selling oliebollen, which are these incredible fried dough balls -- my god, they're awesome. (Prepare to be covered in powdered sugar, though -- don't wear black else you'll look like a really messy coke fiend.) One fun thing to do is go ice skating in the Museumplein. Really surreal skating around with the Rijksmuseum towering over you in the background. (And of course you follow your skating with an oliebollen or two, then follow that with some beers.)

I really love Amsterdam in the winter -- lots of warm cafes (and coffeeshops for that matter) where you can go in and order a few beers and easily lose yourself for a few hours just talking or playing games. Ahh -- definitely recommended!
posted by lazywhinerkid at 3:02 AM on June 26, 2005

Amsterdam is wonderful any time of the year. December has the extra special quality of no tourists (or very few).
Great idea. Take a train north to Friesland, or farther still, Groeningin, a beautiful college town or south to Lieden, another charming university town. Drink genever (original gin), buy a carton of vanilla vla (the best vanilla pudding you'll ever drink!)
stop in at every coffee shop that feels comfortable. Embrace the very Dutch concept of 'gezellig', untranslatable but vital to the culture. It's about the warmth and comfortable quality of small spaces, a feeling that things are allright, the conversations are interesting, the lighting is good and everyone is having a good time. Dress warmly, bring a warm fleece scarf.
posted by lois1950 at 6:22 AM on June 26, 2005

I have only one thing to say, and it's already been said, but OLLIEBOLLEN!!!!11lol. They are truly god's creation.
posted by zpousman at 8:39 AM on June 26, 2005

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