Winter in the Netherlands brings with it a magical transformation of the landscape into a picturesque wonderland. For expats looking to make the most of the chilly season, the Netherlands offers a plethora of exciting activities and traditions that capture the essence of winter. From festive markets to outdoor adventures, here’s your guide to winter fun in the Netherlands.
- Ice Skating: Glide into the Dutch Spirit The Dutch have a deep-rooted love for ice skating, and winter is the perfect time to embrace this quintessential Dutch activity. Throughout the country, you’ll find numerous outdoor ice rinks, where locals and expats alike gather to skate and enjoy the crisp winter air. The iconic canals in cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht often freeze over, providing a unique opportunity to skate through historic landscapes.
- Winter Markets: A Feast for the Senses Winter markets, or “Kerstmarkten,” are a Dutch tradition that adds a festive touch to the season. These markets feature charming stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to delicious winter treats. Explore the Christmas markets in cities like Maastricht and Haarlem, where the aroma of mulled wine and traditional Dutch snacks wafts through the air. Don’t forget to pick up some unique gifts and decorations for your home.
- Sinterklaas Celebrations: Dutch Christmas Extravaganza While Christmas is undoubtedly celebrated in the Netherlands, expats should also experience the unique Sinterklaas festivities. Taking place on December 5th, Sinterklaas is a beloved Dutch tradition where children receive gifts and sweets. Witness the arrival of Sinterklaas and his helpers and join in the joyous parades and festivities.
- Winter Hiking and Cycling: Nature’s Frozen Beauty The Dutch countryside undergoes a stunning transformation in winter, with frost-covered landscapes creating a serene and enchanting atmosphere. Bundle up and embark on winter hikes or bike rides through scenic areas like the Veluwe or the dunes along the North Sea. Many nature reserves remain open during the winter months, allowing you to experience the beauty of Dutch nature in its frozen splendor.
- Indoor Activities: Cozy Escape from the Chill For those chilly days when you prefer indoor warmth, the Netherlands offers a variety of cozy activities. Visit one of the many museums, such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or the Mauritshuis in The Hague, to immerse yourself in Dutch art and history. Alternatively, explore indoor attractions like the Keukenhof Gardens, which are transformed into a magical winter wonderland during the colder months.
Winter in the Netherlands is a time of joy, celebration, and embracing the unique traditions of this enchanting country. Expats can make the most of the season by participating in outdoor activities, attending festive events, and immersing themselves in the warmth of Dutch hospitality. Whether you’re gliding on an ice rink, sipping mulled wine at a Christmas market, or exploring the frozen landscapes, winter in the Netherlands is an experience that will leave you with cherished memories.