Should we go to Prague or Amsterdam for New Year's?
September 22, 2005 3:59 PM   Subscribe

New Year's Eve in Prague or Amsterdam?

I will be traveling from Prague to Amsterdam to London this winter and will likely be in either Prague or Amsterdam on New Year's. Anyone know much about either place for this particular holiday? I'm curious which place we're likely to find things (resteraunts/bars/transportation/museums) open on New Year's Day.

I have already found lots of great info here and elsewhere about general travel in these places but I'm definitely open to any tips or suggestions anyone would like to make. I'm particularily interested in winter travel in Europe. We have about 13 days and I'd like to really see a few places rather than spend lots of time on trains or planes but am open to adding a 4th destination to our trip. Especially if that 4th destination has somewhat warmer weather than the other 3. :)
posted by J-Garr to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
A friend of mine spent last New Year's Eve in Amsterdam and had a fantastic time hanging out in a neighborhood square with the locals. It sounded very communal and festive.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:31 PM on September 22, 2005

I've never done New Year's in Amsterdam, but I did it in Prague for five years. It's really really reallyreallyreally fun.

Buy yourself a bottle of cheap champagne and a big backpackful of fireworks, run around the city and kiss people. Start roving at about seven pm and aim to be at the top of the new castle steps (which are actually the old castle steps, but that's another story) by midnight. Then look out over the whole city and just watch it all go nuts at midnight.

Oh, and you might want to consider eye protection, because everyone else is doing the same thing. And don't even go anywhere near Wenceslas Square. A good general rule all the time, not just New Year's -- it's totally clogged full of supertouristy tourists and the shops that cater to them.
posted by jennyjenny at 4:44 PM on September 22, 2005

I spent several (most) of my New Year's celebrations in or near Amsterdam. It's great: there are lots of fireworks everywhere, and the Dutch new year's snack is the local equivalent of donuts (fried dough with raisins and icing sugar: "oliebollen" - literally meaning "balls of oil"...greasy!)
Parties are everywhere, but if you want to go to a big club, you need to buy tickets in advance, so you probably can't get in, but it's just as much fun in a pub, or on the streets. Everyone is outside at midnight anyway, to light fireworks and drink champagne.

As far as things being open on New Years Day, I just checked the museums and based the rest on memory, and the following are...

CLOSED: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum (modern art), science museum, most stores (you can't buy food in stores that day, only in bars/restaurants. Count on eating out.)

OPEN/AVAILABLE: Anne Frank House (noon until 7 PM), all transportation - but trains/busses go somewhat less often (still perfectly fine to get anywhere!), restaurants/bars, all shops at Schiphol airport are open (accessible by train, and open to the non-flying public), Artis zoo (from 9 to 5)
posted by easternblot at 8:42 PM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the info everyone! I was hoping for some info that would make this an easy decision but... :)

I'm glad to hear that the squares in both cities are good spots to be at midnight. My friend and I aren't really interested in the club scene and would much rather be in a public place drinking and dodging fireworks with the locals.
posted by J-Garr at 8:41 AM on September 23, 2005

I did the millennial (yes, 31 December 2000 into 1 January 2001) New Year's Eve in Amsterdam and it was...euphoric. There had to be tens of thousands of people in the central city part and everybody was on the same wavelength. Lots of sharing of champaign, hand shaking, back slapping, smiling, laughing and fireworks. My god, the fireworks. "Get the fuck out of the way!!," is, surprisingly, understandable in any language. A bit of caution, though, by 7pm, the bars and cafes are full. Get in there early and start the celebration with everybody else. (The b&b that we stayed at was way north of Centraal City)
posted by NoMich at 11:23 AM on September 23, 2005

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