To some of us the idea of a holiday may be relaxing on a beach all week somewhere warm and exotic but the Dutch really know how to make a memorable holiday out of the colder months. The winter season is probably one of the most special times to visit Amsterdam and here are five reasons why;
1. The picturesque scenes
With the colder months bringing a vast amount of snow to the city, the normally grey concrete transforms into a thick white blanket, waiting to be rolled into snowballs or moulded into snowmen. All of the city’s famous landmarks and shops are illuminated by thousands of colourful lights, making those long and dark winter days just a little bit brighter. If you have a weakness for fairy lights, candles or anything colourful then you really don’t want to miss out on the scenic evenings created by the Dutch capital.
2. Ice skating
This doesn’t just mean in an arena…it means if the temperatures drop low enough and the conditions are right then the canals of Amsterdam can freeze over and yes, that does mean you are allowed to skate on them. With more than one hundred kilometres of canals, imagine being able to say that you explored the city by ice skating through it. Although you do have to be pretty lucky for the conditions to be right, it’s an opportunity worth the gamble and even if the temperatures don’t drop low enough, there are still plenty of spots in the city that offer an outdoor ice skating experience such as ICE*Amsterdam and Museumplein Amsterdam.
3. Cosy winter markets
If you love anything food and drink, then you will love the Christmas markets of Amsterdam. Whilst wandering around beautifully lit-up market stalls, you will get to absorb the Dutch culture, through their display of food and drink, craftwork and independent stalls. During the cold weather it would be crazy not to treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a glass of mulled wine or cider to give you that fuzzy, cosy feeling which is a necessity during festive season. Amsterdam have different markets available every weekend leading up to Christmas giving you the chance to experience something exclusive to your visit. If you’re feeling a late night but don’t fancy going to the bars or clubs or if you simply haven’t had enough time during the day to visit a market, the Winter Market Amsterdam located in Damrack is open 24 hours of the day to make sure you have no excuse to miss this opportunity.
4. Museums under the moon
Amsterdam are known for their museums as a way of representing their culture, history and generally just to showcase some interesting stuff. A highlight during the winter season is that every year Amsterdam host a ‘Museum Night’ and with a valid ticket, you can gain entry into 50 selected museums in the city until 2am. Included are workshops, concerts, performances and tours, and lots of food and drink. This is probably a more favourable option than attempting to go out partying in a dress and heels as if you hadn’t guessed already, it does get rather cold.
5. Quiet time
Because the colder temperatures can be a put off for some people, the fact that there are less tourists means that ques to get into the most popular bars, clubs and museums are significantly shorter or even non-existent. As a result, you will get the chance to explore more of the city as it takes much less time to do anything – in this respect you can make the most out of your holiday even if it does mean having to wrap up in thick jumpers, scarfs and boots.
To say the winter season at Amsterdam is memorable would be an understatement. It’s the perfect chance to absorb the unique culture of the capital, whilst embracing festivities at the same time. So forget about that beach holiday for one minute, and book a short city holiday to Amsterdam this Christmas break.
By Daisy Shirley