Amsterdam Mamas: Our favourite - Christmas markets

Amsterdam Mamas: Best Christmas markets

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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.


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 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

Castle Keukenhof in Lisse plays host to the christmas market in early 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 two hours and 15 minutes. Travelling by train takes around two hours 30 minutes on IC. Check the NS website for details.

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

Valkenburg is two hours and 20 minutes 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.

Christmas markets in Germany

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 two hours and 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 two changes. Check the NS website for more details.


Children can meet Santa Klaus every day at 16:00 at the Osnabrück market. Try Osnabrück’s own Käsegriller sausage and tuck into Dutch poffertjes as you wander 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. 

Amsterdam Mamas is a not-for-profit organisation providing support and information in English for international families in the Amsterdam region and across the Netherlands. From small beginnings on Facebook the organisation has grown into a lively community of more than 9,000 members with its own website, podcast, events and regular newsletters circulating to thousands of families each week.

Photo credit: mv_touristboard. / Published 2012; updated 2015.


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3 Comments To This Article

  • Marek posted:

    on 11th December 2014, 17:31:43 - Reply

    I think Koln has more to offer than Dusseldorf, with seven different markets. But cities like Goslar, Nurnberg en Quedlinburg have more charm in their old city centres..

  • Ryan posted:

    on 22nd November 2013, 18:13:26 - Reply

    That isn't Amsterdam in your picture.
  • Nessie Benjamin posted:

    on 12th December 2012, 16:58:58 - Reply

    Dusseldorf, Germany has a wonderful Christmas market that covers a wide area (several main streets connecting a number of town squares). There are all sorts of handmade articles, including several booths selling only handmade Christmas tree ornaments, and many kiosks selling typical hot German snacks - delicious! It can be very crowded on the weekends, with mostly Dutch tourists!
    It take 2 hours 12 minutes from Amsterdam CS with the ICE direct. One day is not enough to see everything, if you want to take it all in. The German department stores in the area are also worth a visit :-D