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20/12/2012Amsterdam Mamas: Best Christmas markets

Amsterdam Mamas: Our favourite - Christmas markets Here is Amsterdam Mamas' list of their favourite Christmas markets in the Netherlands and Germany.

One of the best things about living in Amsterdam is easy access to some of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets. Between Germany and The Netherlands, there are plenty of places to choose from for a magically festive celebration. We’ve collected The Mamas’ favourites for you here.

Amsterdam Mamas: Our favourite - Christmas markets


As well as providing information and support to international families in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Mamas loves supporting the local community and small businesses. There’s plenty of opportunity to do that during this year’s holiday season with Christmas markets at Leidseplein and Koningsplein. The ever-popular Funky Xmas Market is back at Westergasfabriek 22-23 December showcasing lots of local foodies and homemade crafts. For last minute gifts and food treats, head over to Park Frankendael for Puremarkt.

The Netherlands

This year Castle Keukenhof in Lisse plays host to the christmas market from 6-9 December. The programme includes a circus, meeting santa, Christmas stories and plenty of local vendors and plenty of family friendly activities.

It takes just 40 minutes by car to reach Castle Keukenhof from Amsterdam. If you’re using public transport you can take a train to Nieuw-Vennep, Leiden or The Hague and take a bus from there to the castle. Find out more information here.

Located on the Vrijthof, Maastricht’s charming christmas market features lots of stalls, an ice rink and carousel. With gluhwein and oliebollen galore, you’ll have a great time here.

Reaching Maastricht by car takes just 2 hours and 15 minutes. Travelling by train takes around 2 hours 30 minutes on IC. Check the NS website for details.


This charming town in South Limburg offers a unique Christmas experience – markets in caves! Visit the Velvet Cave and Municipal Cave for all the festive happenings whilst the Wilhelmina Caves are home to the sand sculpture nativity scene.

Valkenburg is a 2 hour 20 minute drive from Amsterdam. It can also be reached by NS train to Maastricht and Valkenburg station is around 15 minutes’ walk from the centre. See the NS website for more details.


Köln (Cologne)
Perhaps the most popular of Germany’s christmas markets, Cologne offers several different markets spread throughout the city from the beautiful Old Market in front of the Town Hall to the Market of Fairytales on the Rudolfplatz. Cologne attracts thousands of visitors to its markets, so The Mamas advise to visit during the week when it is less busy.

Cologne is around a 2 hour 40 minute drive from Amsterdam. You can also take the ICE train straight through, which takes the same amount of time.

Aachen offers a more intimate affair around the Market Place and Katschhof. Enjoy mulled wine, ginger bread and spekulatius (spiced biscuits) as you peruse the many craft and food stalls.

Aachen is a 2.5 hour drive from Amsterdam. Alternatively, it can be reached by train in 3.5 hours, with 2 changes. Check the NS website for more details.


Children can meet Santa Klaus every day at 16:00 at this market. Try Osnabrück’s own Käsegriller sausage and tuck into Dutch poffertjes as you wander around the market. It is set around the town hall, Marienkirche and the Cathedral.

You can reach Osnabrück in 2.5 hours by car or in 3.5 hours by IC train.

Where are your favourite Christmas markets? Share the love in the comments below!

Lisa Benoist / Amsterdam Mamas / Expatica

Reprinted with the permission of Amsterdam Mamas. 

Photo credit: mv_touristboard

Amsterdam Mamas is a not-for-profit organisation providing support and information for English speaking parents in the Amsterdam region and across the Netherlands. From small beginnings on Facebook the organisation has grown into a lively community of over 1,800 members with its own website, multiple events per month and regular newsletters circulating to hundreds of families each week.

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