LivingTravelDecember in Amsterdam: weather, what to pack, and what...

December in Amsterdam: weather, what to pack, and what to see

Every December, the city of Amsterdam is flooded with Christmas spirit: the famous squares turn into winter holiday markets and the ice rinks and stalls reward those who brave the outdoors with sweets. Plus, if you can weather the good weather, Amsterdam has the same variety of stellar museum exhibits and live performances as most of the year, but with far fewer crowds, and those that can cross a few names off your Christmas list. You will also find considerably emptier stores here than in the United States.

Amsterdam weather in December

Amsterdam in December is quite cold, but it rarely experiences freezing temperatures.

  • Average High: 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 degrees Celsius)
  • Average Low: 33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius)

December is also the city’s wettest month, averaging just over 3 inches over the course of 15 days, meaning you’ll need to bundle up more against cold rainwater no matter what time of month you visit. Additionally, the days are shorter this time of year as well, and by the end of December, the sun falls around 4:30 p.m. Additionally, the city generally experiences mostly cloudy to cloudy skies throughout the month, which means that You only really get a few hours of direct sunlight each day, even on the best days of December.

What to pack

Since December is wet and cold for most of the month, your packing priorities should revolve around staying warm and dry. Bring plenty of long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, pants, and clothing that you can wear to accommodate the different temperatures, as well as a heavy winter coat (preferably waterproof), insulated shoes and socks, a woolen hat and gloves, and an umbrella. You can also pack thermal underwear if you plan to be outdoors for long periods of time, although this may not be necessary if you are used to temperatures just above freezing.

December events in Amsterdam

Although most of the month is occupied by festive celebrations, starting with Sinterklaas Eve on December 4 and lasting until Kerst (Christmas) and Oud en Nieuw (New Years Eve), Amsterdam offers a wide variety of events, parties and attractions that everyone can be enjoyed in December regardless of the weather.

  • Sinterklaas: To prepare for the holidays (and the arrival of the man of the same name), Dutch children will put their shoes by the fireplace at bedtime the night before Sinterklaas (Sinterklaas Eve, December 4) in the hope of let him do it. reward them with treats. The popular ones include chocolate letters and a variety of flavored biscuits, speculaas brick size of a pepernoten and Kruidnoten bite. The party culminates with family celebrations on December 5.
  • Amsterdam Light Festival – An annual celebration of illuminated art in the city center of Amsterdam takes place from the beginning of December to the end of January each year and features some of the largest works of art and light installations in the region. .
  • Kerst (Christmas Day): On December 25, the inhabitants of Amsterdam also celebrate the Christian holiday, which they call Kerst, with a variety of unique and international customs.
  • Tweede Kerstdag (Second Day of Christmas): If your Christmas spirit is not yet sated, another Christmas day is observed in the Netherlands. The Dutch take advantage of this national holiday to visit relatives or buy, especially furniture, a tradition that is repeated with more fervor on the second day of Easter.
  • Tangotrain: a festival about tango music that takes place the last week of December each year and invites collaborators from all over the world to celebrate this festive musical style with a variety of parades, recitals, parties and colorful events.
  • Oud en Nieuw (New Years Eve) – Amsterdam residents celebrate the new year with parties throughout the city. From comedy shows to music-driven dance parties, everyone can find a celebration to suit their taste.

December Travel Tips

  • Airfare and hotel rates are at an all-time low, but watch out for price hikes during the winter holidays.
  • The tourist crowds have disappeared this month, so intrepid December visitors are left with Amsterdam’s popular attractions and restaurants.
  • With Sinterklaas celebrated on December 5 and two days of Christmas in the Netherlands, expect special holiday events, markets, and seasonal treats throughout the month.
  • Be sure to try goodies season as the koek in Zopie (cake and an alcoholic drink with spices), hot chocolate (chocolate dutch hot, richer than the American version) and Gluhwein (German wine hot, also known as Wassel) in holiday markets — you are sure to enjoy these delicacies for a limited time. 
  • The last days of December are also the only time of year when fireworks sales are allowed, so take advantage of them and get them going with the rest of the city on December 31st.

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