December sees the start of the festive holiday season in Amsterdam – with presents given out on Sinterklaas and then the run-up to Christmas and New Year. Let’s take a look at what’s on in the city for visitors, locals and expats in December 2023…
Festivals in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Amsterdam Light Festival – 12th edition of the popular light installation event in Amsterdam is running 30 Nov 2023 to 21 Jan 2024. The lights will be on daily 1700-2300. The best place to view the lights is from the water.
Museums & Exhibitions in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Our House – A brand new museum of electronic music culture in the centre of Amsterdam. Take a 75 minute digital storytelling journey and explore the evolution of dance music via interactive installations, shows and performances. Book Our House tickets here
Amaze Amsterdam – An new immersive audio-visual experience with 7 stages which varies from intense, interactive to relaxing. Excellent for a group activity. Special winter holiday shows. Located in an old industrial nightclub in Amsterdam’s West Port district. Book Amaze Amsterdam tickets here
Body Worlds – Fascinating display of 200 human body ‘plastinate’ specimens at the venue on Damrak in central Amsterdam. The permanent exhibition is The Happiness Project and also includes an InBody scan. Book Body Worlds tickets here
STRAAT – A totally unique experience. The world’s biggest street art and graffiti museum in a 8,000m² warehouse at NDSM wharf in Amsterdam which showcases some 150 artworks, all made on-site. Book your STRAAT tickets here
Youseum Amsterdam – Social media experience with 30 eye-catching installations to create content for Instagram and TikTok. Good for both solo visitors and groups. Located near Amstel station. Book Youseum Amsterdam tickets here
Nxt Museum – The first “new media art” museum in the Netherlands which has large-scale, multi-sensory immersive exhibitions. Located in the Amsterdam North district, open daily. Book Nxt Museum tickets here
Van Gogh Museum – Iconic museum with the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings. Van Gogh along the Seine, exhibition of how Van Gogh and his contemporaries captured the river Seine. Book Van Gogh Museum ticket here
Rijksmuseum – The Rijksmuseum’s rich collection (including Rembrandt’s Night Watch) is a must-see in Amsterdam. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here
RTXP Amsterdam – New art experience museum in Amsterdam which shows replicas of 50 of the world’s most famous paintings. Book RTXP Amsterdam tickets here
Anne Frank House – The canal house on Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht canal where Anne Frank wrote her famous teenage wartime diary whilst hiding from German occupation. [For further insight, book an Anne Frank walking tour here]
The Upside Down Museum Amsterdam – Large interactive museum and Instagram experience which includes 25 mind-bending rooms. Located near RAI Amsterdam. Book Upside Down Museum tickets here
Stedelijk – Amsterdam’s main modern and contemporary art museum. STEDELIJK BASE is the permanent installation featuring around 400 pieces. Book your Stedelijk tickets here
MOCO Museum – The popular modern and contemporary art museum on Museumplein. Banksy: Laugh Now has a diverse selection of works from the anonymous British street artist. In addition MOCO Masters features the likes of Warhol, Basquiat and Koons. Book MOCO Museum tickets here
Rembrandt House – Visit the house where Rembrandt lived and worked. Framing Rembrandt, an exhibition of the many faces of Rembrandt through art, documents and film. Runs 6 Oct 2023 to 5 Feb 2024. Book Rembrandt House tickets here
Tropenmuseum – Ethnographic museum featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures. Plastic Crush, exhibition about the world’s changing relationship with plastic, from useful product to plastic waste. Runs 5 Nov 2022 to 1 Sep 2024. Book Tropenmuseum tickets here
Royal Palace – Visit the grand Royal Palace on Dam Square including the impressive Citizen’s Hall. Book Royal Palace tickets here
ARTIS Groote Museum – The fascinating new Groote Museum allows you to explore your place in the living world with beautifully presented installations and exhibits. Book your Groote Museum tickets here
Fashion For Good Museum – Learn where your clothes come from and discover the innovations shaping the future of fashion. Book Fashion For Good tickets here
Micropia – The world’s only museum dedicated to microbes and micro-organisms. Book Micropia tickets here
Rijksmuseum Schiphol – Amsterdam airport hosts a small selection of works from the Rijksmuseum collection. The museum is located on Holland Boulevard (between Lounges 2 and 3 in non-Schengen departures) and is open 24 hours a day to passengers. Free entry
Amsterdam City Passes
These all inclusive passes may save you money on a well planned Amsterdam itinerary.
|Most attractions + city transport||Includes some tour excursions||Includes Van Gogh Museum|
|I amsterdam City Card||GO City Amsterdam All-Inclusive Pass||Tiqets Amsterdam Digital Pass|
|1/2/3/4/5 days||1/2/3/5 days||package deal|
|€65 – €135||€59 – €119||€62|
|70 attractions + transport + canal cruise + bike rental||Over 25 attractions/tours + canal cruise + bike rental||Rijksmuseum + Van Gogh Museum + canal cruise|
|excludes Anne Frank House / Van Gogh Museum / tours||excludes Anne Frank House / Van Gogh Museum / transport||excludes any other attractions|
|Book here||Book here||Book here|
Sport in Amsterdam and Netherlands (December 2023)
Ajax home fixtures at Johan Cruijff ArenA Amsterdam:
2023/24 fixtures to be announced
Friday Night Skate – 20km organised skate around the streets of Amsterdam held every Friday night (2030, weather permitting) from Vondelpark Pavilion.
See the full annual sport calendar for Amsterdam
Comedy & Shows in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Boom Chicago – Comedy and improv shows in English playing at Rozentheater on Rozengracht.
Classical Concerts & Theatre in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) – Amsterdam’s renowned theatre company performs shows in Dutch which have live English surtitles above the stage – for Thursday night shows at the Stadsschouwburg theatre.
Holiday Season 2023 in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Sinterklaas (St Nicholas, patron saint of Amsterdam) is celebrated in the Netherlands on December 5th. In mid-November, Dutch TV shows him “arriving” by steamboat from Spain dressed in a red bishop’s robe and carrying a pastoral staff. Sinterklaas then parades through town on a horse accompanied by his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten (black Petes).
In the last few years there has been a growing controversy and debate about the depiction of the black Petes due to perceived racial/colonial overtones. Although many Dutch support the character, subtle changes in appearance are being made such as creating the ‘chimney-soot’ Petes (Schoorsteenpieten).
Dutch children put out a shoe next to the fireplace and receive small presents such as pepernoten spiced biscuits or chocolate letters (with the initial of their first name). If you are invited to a Dutch Sinterklaas party you will probably have to buy a present for at least one of the guests and perhaps write a personal poem to accompany the gift!
New Year’s Eve 2023/24 – The new year will again be likely to be a more subdued affair with restrictions in place and a likely ban on fireworks.
World Christmas Circus – Popular circus event held every Christmas holiday at Carré Theater in Amsterdam. Dates to be announced.
Holiday On Ice Supernova – Popular family show on ice at RAI Amsterdam. Dates to be announced.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
Ice*Amsterdam – Get your skates on and hit the spectacular ice rink on Museumplein in the shadow of the Rijksmuseum. Dates to be announced.
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
Amsterdam Dinner Cruise – 120 minute evening cruise around Amsterdam’s canals with a 3 course meal and drinks. Runs every Thu/Fri/Sat (1930) in December. Check Dinner Cruise availability here
Market Events in Amsterdam
Sunday Market – Market events with a mix of fashion, design, arts, food and kids stuff. Sinterklaas market on 3 Dec 2023 (1200-1800) at Westergas; Funky Xmas Market on 17 Dec 2023 (1200-1800) at Westergas. Free entry
Homeware Market – Monthly market (from the Sunday Market team) in the passage hall of De Hallen Amsterdam with home accessories, art, ceramics, jewellery and fashion. Runs 10 Dec 2023 (1100-1700). Free entry
IJ-Hallen – Large weekend flea market event held at NDSM-wharf in north Amsterdam with 400 indoor stands. Dates to be announced.
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Madonna – 1/2 Dec, Ziggo Dome
Amsterdam Transport Passes
The following multi-day transport tickets can help you get to the various events in and around Amsterdam:
|Best Value & Validity||Best for AMS airport||Best for Excursions|
|Unlimited GVB Day/Multi-Day tickets||Amsterdam Travel Ticket||Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket|
|1-7 days||1/2/3 days||1/2/3 days|
|€9-€41, child €4.50/day||€18/€24/€30||€21/€31.50/€40.50|
|Valid on all GVB transport (trams/metro/buses) in Amsterdam||Valid on all GVB transport in Amsterdam + airport train/bus||Valid on all GVB transport in Amsterdam + regional train/bus|
|24 hour basis||Calendar day basis||Calendar day basis|
|Order here||Order here||Order here|
Disclaimer: While we make every effort to keep this listing up-to-date, events can always be cancelled or re-scheduled at short notice. Please double-check with the event organisers.
Links on AmsterdamTips.com may pay us an affiliate commission.