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…
Winter Highlights 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 1700-2200 (Mon-Wed) and 1700-2300 (Thu-Sun). The best place to view the lights is from the water. Book an Amsterdam Light Festival cruise here
The Amsterdam Winter Paradise – Winter-themed event featuring winter snacks and drinks, activities, fairground and ferris wheel, light sculptures and an ice skating rink. At RAI Amsterdam (Entrance K) over 14-30 Dec 2023. Book Amsterdam Winter Paradise tickets here
Museums, Exhibitions & Attractions in Amsterdam (December 2023)
Da Vinci Genius – NEW! An immersive art experience showcasing the works of Leonardo Da Vinci including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Uses interactive technology and floor-to-ceiling projections. Runs 30 Nov 2023 to 20 May 2024. Book Da Vinci Genius tickets here
Our House – A 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 – Best Seller An 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
Fabrique des Lumières – Best Seller Immersive exhibitions of classical, modern and contemporary artists using cutting-edge technology with light projections and music. Main exhibition is Salvador Dalí, The Endless Enigma with works of the celebrated artist set to the music of the legendary Pink Floyd. Alongside there is the spectacular display Gaudí, Architect of the Imaginary. Runs 10 Mar 2023 to 7 Jan 2024. Book Fabrique des Lumières tickets here
Fabrique des Lumières – Best Seller Destination Cosmos is an immersive space-themed visual exhibition which takes you through a maze of stars, planets, nebulae and supernovae. Runs 14 Oct 2023 to 7 Jan 2024. Book Destination Cosmos 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. Urban Artivism, exhibition of artists promoting environmental awareness. Runs 13 Oct 2023 to 28 Jan 2024. Book STRAAT tickets here
Nxt Museum – The first “new media art” museum in the Netherlands which has large-scale, multi-sensory immersive exhibitions. Realtime, a rotating showcase presenting a selection of artists using boundary-pushing technologies. Runs 15 May to 31 Dec 2023. Located in the Amsterdam North district. Book Nxt Museum tickets here
Van Gogh Museum – Best Seller 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. Runs 13 Oct 2023 to 14 Jan 2024. Pokemon x Van Gogh Museum exhibition runs 28 Sep 2023 to 7 Jan 2024. Book Van Gogh Museum ticket here
Rijksmuseum – The Rijksmuseum’s rich collection (including Rembrandt’s Night Watch) is a must-see in Amsterdam. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at Rijksmuseum, a selection of exceptional art from the collection of the noted Rotterdam museum. Runs 29 Sep 2023 to 14 Jan 2024. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here
Nieuwe Kerk – The Great Indonesia Exhibition, major exhibition in the New Church on Dam Square focusing on the history of the largest archipelago in the world. Runs 21 Oct 2023 to 1 Apr 2024.
Madame Tussauds Amsterdam – Best Seller Get your celebrity fill by visiting the ever-popular wax work museum on Dam Square. Book Madame Tussauds Amsterdam tickets here
Amsterdam Dungeon – Interactive show featuring excellent actors and audience participation. Takes you through dark dungeon-themed rooms from Amsterdam’s murky past – scary but with a comic element. Book Amsterdam Dungeon 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]
WONDR Experience – A fun and immersive pop-up experience in Amsterdam for both adults and children alike. Book WONDR tickets here
The Upside Down Museum Amsterdam – Best Seller 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. Martin Wong, Malicious Mischief, major survey exhibition of the Chinese-American artist. Runs 3 Nov 2023 to 1 Apr 2024. Nan Goldin, This Will Not End Well, retrospective exhibition of the American artist. Runs 7 Oct 2023 to 28 Jan 2024. 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 4 Nov 2023 to 5 Feb 2024. Book Rembrandt House tickets here
Rembrandt’s Amsterdam Experience – A new video art experience about the life of the famous painter and reconstruction of Rembrandt’s studio on Rozengracht. Book Rembrandt’s Amsterdam Experience tickets here
H’ART Museum – The renamed former Hermitage Museum presents its inaugural exhibition Julius Caesar, I came, I saw, I met my doom – about the life of the iconic Roman general. Runs 16 Sep 2023 to 20 May 2024.
Wereldmuseum Amsterdam – Ethnographic museum (formerly Tropenmuseum) featuring fascinating exhibitions on non-Western cultures. Divas, Inspiration and immersion in Arab music and cinema runs 8 Mar 2023 to 3 Mar 2024. Plastic Crush, exhibition about the world’s changing relationship with plastic, from useful product to plastic waste. Runs 5 Nov 2022 to 21 Apr 2024. Book Wereldmuseum Amsterdam tickets here
Royal Palace – Visit the grand Royal Palace on Dam Square including the impressive Citizen’s Hall. Book Royal Palace tickets here
FOAM Photography Museum – Carlijn Jacobs Sleeping Beauty, exhibition from the Dutch photographer enriched with designs from Sabine Marcelis. Runs 6 Oct 2023 to 21 Jan 2024. Book FOAM tickets here
Huis Marseille – Tarrah Krajnak, major exhibition of the work of Peruvian-American artist. Eddo Hartmann, The Sacrifice Zone, photo exhibition featuring the steppe of Kazakhstan by the Dutch photographer. Both run 28 Oct 2023 to 25 Feb 2024.
MAQAM – The creative space in Amsterdam West presents Dana Lixenberg – Tupac Biggie, famed portraits of Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG from the Dutch photographer. Runs 20 Oct 2023 to 1 Feb 2024.
Stadsarchief – To Dance is to be Free. Club Culture in Amsterdam From 1980 Until Today, exhibition featuring photos, personal stories, historical flyers, immersive videos, exceptional visual art, valuable documents and unique objects. Runs 14 Oct 2023 to 18 Feb 2024.
Allard Pierson Museum – Face to Face: The People Behind Mummy Portraits, exhibition about ancient Egyptian mummy portraits. Runs 6 Oct 2023 to 25 Feb 2024. Book Allard Pierson tickets here
Van Loon Museum – Euphrates, Heritage, Eternity, exhibition in the coach house about the important archaeological work of Maurits van Loon in Syria. Runs 22 Sep 2023 to 14 Jan 2024.
Oude Kerk – Amsterdam’s Old Church presents Merdith Monk: Calling, a retrospective presentation of the American contemporary music icon. Runs 21 Oct 2023 to 17 Mar 2024. Book Oude Kerk tickets here
Jewish Museum – Sol LeWitt, exhibition of works from the late Jewish artist. Runs 30 Oct 2023 to 31 Mar 2024. Book Jewish Cultural Quarter tickets here
Fashion For Good Museum – Learn where your clothes come from and discover the innovations shaping the future of fashion. News From the Future, exhibition on what the future of fashion could looks like. Runs 27 Oct 2023 to 16 Jan 2024. Book Fashion For Good tickets here
ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo – One of the city’s premier visitor attractions – a magnificent zoo set in a large park in the picturesque Plantage area of the city. Book Artis Zoo 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
ARTIS Micropia – The world’s only museum dedicated to microbes and micro-organisms. Book Micropia tickets here
House of Bols – Stimulate your senses at the Cocktail & Genever Experience – featuring the Lucas Bols brand, which has been making liqueurs in Amsterdam since 1575. Book House of Bols tickets here
EYE Filmmuseum – Janis Rafa, Feed me. Cheat me. Eat me. Solo exhibition by the Greek-born visual artist and filmmaker Janis Rafa. Runs 14 Oct 2023 to 7 Jan 2024. Book EYE Film Museum tickets here
Tot Zover – Delicious Death, exhibition at the Dutch Funeral Museum on how food plays a role in the moments surrounding death. Runs 9 Jun 2023 to 11 Feb 2024. Book Tot Zover Museum tickets here
De Hallen – I Have To Touch This, exhibition of static forms that depict motion and appear smooth and light. Created by artist Kira Fröse, held in De Passage at De Hallen Amsterdam. Runs 8 Sep to 14 Dec 2023. Free entry
Framer Framed – Performing Colonial Toxicity, exhibition about French nuclear testing in Algeria in the 1960s. Runs 8 Oct to 14 Jan 2023. Free entry
COBRA (Amstelveen) – Cobra 75: A Cry for Freedom! Exhibition celebrating 75 years of the Cobra art movement. Runs 20 Oct 2023 to 14 Apr 2024. Anton Corbijn – MOØDe, exhibition from the Dutch photographer, exploring the crossover between photography and the world of fashion. Runs 22 Dec 2023 to 12 May 2024.
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||2/3/5 days||package deal|
|€60 – €125||€84 – €124||€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:
Ajax vs Sparta Rotterdam 9 Dec 2023 (1845)
Ajax vs AEK Athens 14 Dec 2023 (2100) – Europa League
Ajax vs PEC Zwolle 17 Dec 2023 (1645)
It is possible to take a classic stadium tour of the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Book Johan Cruijff Arena Tour tickets here
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)
Amsterdam Magic Show – Monthly magic and comedy show with international performers. At Boom Chicago’s Rozentheater, Rozengracht in Amsterdam. 7 Dec 2023 (1930). Book the Amsterdam Magic Show here
Boom Chicago – Great night out at the popular comedy and improv theatre show in English – with bar and table service. At the Rozentheater in Amsterdam. Book a Boom Chicago show here
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.
Candlelight Concert – Evening concert at the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam featuring duo Maarten Ornstein and David Faber (clarinet and cello). Runs 14 Dec 2023 (1930-2030).
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 Pieten (Petes).
In the last few years there has been a growing controversy and debate about the depiction of the black Petes (zwarte Pieten) due to perceived racial/colonial overtones. Although many Dutch support the character, subtle changes in appearance have since been made by 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 – Despite a consumer ban on fireworks, Amsterdam will host a lights and firework show on Museumplein to bring in 2024. The children’s show starts at 1845 whilst the main event commences from 2230.
World Christmas Circus – Popular circus event held every Christmas holiday at Carré Theater in Amsterdam. Runs 20 Dec 2023 to 7 Jan 2024.
Holiday On Ice: A New Day – Popular family show on ice at RAI Amsterdam. 28-30 Dec 2023.
Other Events in Amsterdam and Netherlands
De Balie – The multimedia venue near Leidseplein in Amsterdam hosts regular events about current affairs, politics and culture.
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 500 indoor stands. 9-10 Dec 2023 (0900-1630).
Rock & Pop Concerts in Amsterdam & Netherlands (December 2023)
Sting – 1 Dec, AFAS Live
UB40 – 1 Dec, Ahoy Rotterdam
Madonna – 1/2 Dec, Ziggo Dome
Ilse DeLange – 18 Dec, Paradiso
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|
The AmsterdamTips.com What’s On in Amsterdam has been running monthly since 2008. 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.
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