Holidays & Celebrations

The best Christmas markets in the Netherlands

Christmas is a magical time wherever you are. With its glorious Christmas markets, the Netherlands is no exception.

Christmas markets Netherlands

By Amsterdam Mamas

Updated 11-4-2024

Although neighboring countries, such as Germany, are better known for their Christmas markets, the Netherlands is home to some exciting winter events and festive fairs. Wherever you’re living, there’s almost certainly a captivating market where you can shop for gifts, get in the spirit of Dutch Christmas, and enjoy a warm hot chocolate or mulled wine. And if the Netherlands doesn’t have what you’re looking for, why not hop across the border to Germany or Belgium?

Explore the magical world of Dutch Christmas markets, including:


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Christmas Town – Valkenburg

Valkenburg is probably the best place in the Netherlands to celebrate the festive period. This charming town in South Limburg offers 51 days of celebration, including Christmas markets, attractions, rides, parades, and theater performances.

A market in a cave in Valkenburg
Photo: Dean Mouhtarapoulos/Getty Images

However, the city is probably most famous for a truly unique experience – markets in caves! What’s more, with the largest underground Christmas market in Europe, Valkenburg gives an atmospheric twist to your festive shopping. You can find all the seasonal happenings in the Municipal and Velvet Caves, which are home to gorgeous decorations, plenty of stalls, and tasty treats for the tired shopper. Meanwhile, the Wilhelmina Cave houses figures depicting the Christmas story, so you can reconnect with the spiritual side of the holiday.

Christmas markets in Municipal/Velvet Caves: 17 November – 30 December 2023
Cable car and Wilhelmina Cave: 17 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
Christmas grotto: 18 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
Christmas parade: Every Wednesday and Saturday between 18 November and 30 December 2023
Santa’s Village Christmas Market (city center): 17 November – 31 December 2023

Amsterdam – Ice Village

Amsterdam is home to several Christmas markets and other events that are sure to warm you during the winter months. For example, one of the city’s biggest, Ice Village Amsterdam, fills Museumplein with merriment. As it’s located in the center of the city, it’s impossible to miss it.

Among its 45+ stalls, you’ll find all kinds of unique gifts and plenty of delicious snacks and drinks. There’s even a skating rink, so lace up your skates and enjoy an atmospheric evening on the ice.

Christmas lights in Amsterdam

If you’re looking for something a little different, then check out the ever-popular Funky Xmas Market, a one-day Christmas market in the trendy Westergasfabriek venue. Expect local foodies, homemade crafts, music, and art. In recent years, it’s become an institution and is adored by locals and those from farther afield. With this in mind, if you want to escape the tourists and generic markets, this one’s for you.

Nevertheless, Christmas markets aren’t the only popular way to get in the festive spirit in Amsterdam. While the days get darker in December, Amsterdam gets lighter – partly thanks to the Amsterdam Light Festival. Why not start your season with a lit-up tour of the capital?

Ice Village Amsterdam: 13–26 December 2023
Funky Xmas Market: 17 December 2023
Amsterdam Light Festival: 30 November 2023 – 21 January 2024

Winter Village – Amstelveen

If you’d rather escape the crowds of Amsterdam, check out Winter Village Amstelveen. This Christmas market takes place in the suburb of Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam. Despite being further out of the big city, it’s still an exciting occasion. Try out ice-skating, grab a glühwein, and enjoy the atmosphere. Make sure to check their web page for special Christmas events during the market.

Winter Village Amstelveen: Dates TBC

Royal Christmas Fair – The Hague

Royal Christmas Fair The Hague is one of the Netherlands’ most magical Christmas markets. It’s located in the tree-lined Lange Voorhout in The Hague, a perfect place for a winter wonderland. It has over a hundred Christmas stalls to buy decorations and gifts, a bar, and even a stage where you can be entertained by talented performers and carol singers.

People shopping at the Royal Christmas Fair in The Hague
Photo: LIVINUS/Getty Images

The fair is free to all, and only a short walk from Centraal Station. Once you’ve visited the market, there’s plenty nearby to see and do – why not do some Christmas shopping on the fancy Noordeinde? After a long day of bargain-hunting, wind down in a cosy bar close by.

Royal Christmas Fair The Hague: 7–23 December 2023 (Closed 18 December)

Magical Maastricht

Located on the Vrijthof, Maastricht’s charming Christmas market features lots of vendors, an indoor ice rink, and a Ferris wheel. This market is one of the Netherlands’ most beautiful, thanks to its stalls’ stunning decorations and red roofs.

Ferris wheel at Maastricht Christmas Market
Photo: Nicolas Economou/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

It’s a great choice for fans of oliebollen and mulled wine, and has a host of unique, cozy Christmas gifts on offer. Children can also enjoy a carousel and a giant slide, making Maastricht’s Christmas market the perfect place for a festive family trip.

Magical Maastricht: 30 November – 31 December 2023

Winter Wonder Weken – Leiden

There’s much to celebrate in the small city of Leiden during the winter period. The Winter Wonder Weken (Winter Wonder Weeks) consist of a program of events including the arrival of Sinterklaas, a nostalgic fair, and even a floating ice rink.

People standing next to a covered ice rink
Photo: gianliguori/Getty Images

Meanwhile, a Christmas market takes place at the Hooglandse Kerkgracht – a five-day-long collection of wooden chalets selling Christmas gifts and festive food and snacks.

Floating ice rink: 9 December 2023 – 7 January 2024
Christmas market: 13–17 December 2023

Country and Christmas Fair – Zeist

The Country and Christmas Fair recently moved to Zeist, to the east of Utrecht. For 24 years, this fair has been held in historical locations, offering an atmospheric outdoor market and plenty of festive cheer. Visitors come from all over the world to admire the gorgeous decorations, explore the many wares, and enjoy tasty treats such as Glühwein and poffertjes. A market for more than shopping – the ambience is a real experience.

Other European Christmas markets

One of the benefits of living in the Netherlands is that it’s not far to travel to another country. During the festive period, it’s especially handy, as the neighboring countries, Germany and Belgium, are home to some of the most famous European Christmas markets.

Germany’s best Christmas markets include:

  • Cologne – this city offers some of the most popular Christmas markets in the world, all located just three hours by train from Amsterdam.
  • Berlin – home to some astounding markets, including one outside the spectacular Charlottenburg Palace.
  • Dresden – the city’s Striezelmarkt is thought to be the first Christmas market in the world.

Meanwhile, the following Belgian Christmas markets are well worth a visit:

  • Bruges – an enchanting winter wonderland in a beautiful city.
  • Brussels – the city’s Winter Wonders is the country’s most well-known Christmas market.
  • Liège – a German-style market drawing around two million visitors.

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