Compared to traditional markets in Germany, for example, Christmas markets in the Netherlands are still a relatively new concept. A rising number of cities however are organizing impressive Christmas markets in their historic city centers in preparation for the Christmas season. With additional Christmas events, the Netherlands is an excellent place to share in the Christmas spirit!
- The largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands are in Dordrecht, Deventer and Maastricht.
- Valkenburg offers a truly unique experience with underground Christmas markets set in caves.
- Experience the magic of Christmas on illuminated ice rinks in various Dutch city centers.
Where to find Christmas markets in the Netherlands?
The much anticipated arrival of Sinterklaas marks the most important event in the Netherlands leading up to Christmas. The popular Dutch holiday figure arrives by steamboat at the end of November, and together with his band of helpers, give kids a reason to celebrate on the 5th of December. After which, the whole country makes its preparations for Christmas, and the Christmas markets are a definite must-see this winter season!
- The Dordrecht Christmas market is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, with close to 300 stands spread over 2.5 kilometers. Numerous handmade, high-quality articles are offered here. Test your skills on the skating rink or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) and join a Christmas sing-a-long. The Christmas market in Dordrecht is entirely free to visit.
- Looking for a Christmas market set in a location unlike any other? Then be sure to visit Valkenburg aan de Geul where underground Christmas markets can be found in the Fluwelengrot and the Gemeentegrot. Enjoy Christmas parades or the Route d’ Amuse culinary route in Valkenburg’s city center.
- A full Christmas market can also be found in Deventer as part of the Dickens Festival. One weekend in December sees the historic city center transform back to the time of Charles Dickens. Over 900 characters from his books come to life here. As a further part of the festival, a Christmas market is held in Deventer’s central square with roughly 200 stalls.
- Maastricht is a fascinating city to visit no matter the time of year. The city is filled with plenty of splendid landmarks and excellent places to shop. Over the Christmas period, Maastricht receives an extra magical touch. Visit Maastricht's Christmas market at the Vrijthof for all your Christmas shopping needs, go ice skating or check out the panoramic sights from the Ferris wheel.
Christmas in the Netherlands
In many Dutch cities, temporary ice rinks are set up so that locals can practice their favorite hobby in winter: ice skating. Christmas markets are often found around the rinks where you can enjoy Christmas delights such as glühwein (mulled wine) and oliebollen (deep fried Dutch doughnuts).During the Amsterdam Light Festival, the canals of Amsterdam are illuminated with works created by the best light artists in the world. See these mesmerizing pieces by foot or by boat.
Gouda’s city center radiates in the glow of thousands of candles during ‘Gouda by candlelight’. The candle-lit evening takes place on the city’s central market square.