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Tips for celebrating New Year's Eve in Amsterdam

Will you be ringing in the new year in Amsterdam? If so, be sure to plan ahead because this is a popular destination for holiday revelers. Here are some tips to make your New Years Eve in Amsterdam easy and enjoyable.

Learn a little Dutch

New Year’s Eve is called Oud en Nieuw (“old and new”) in Dutch, referring to the last moments of the old year and the first moments of the new. Another name is Oudejaarsavond , which literally means New Years Eve. Impress your Dutch friends by wishing them a happy new year using the phrase Gelukkig Nieuwjaar (pronounced “huh-LOOK-uh NYOO-yahr”).

Celebrate with thousands of people

Public squares = parties. You don’t like exclusive club parties or multi-course dinners at fancy restaurants? Then join the festivities in one of Amsterdam’s city squares, which are free to the public and found in various locations around the city. The Museumplein public space in the Museumkwartier neighborhood is the site of the national New Year’s Eve party, a televised event that draws tens of thousands of partiers with its live music and fireworks. Nieuwmarkt Square (in Amsterdam’s Chinatown) follows closely with its explosive celebrations.

Book accommodation in advance

Make room or dorm reservations well in advance Amsterdam is an immensely popular New Year’s Eve destination; sometimes it seems that outsiders outnumber Amsterdammers at annual celebrations. This means that accommodations are very important, so don’t delay in making your reservations.

Be on the lookout for fireworks

Be on the lookout for wandering firecrackers. The sale of fireworks is prohibited in the Netherlands, except from December 29 to December 31, when the Dutch stock up for New Year’s Eve. At midnight, everyone takes to the streets and the city erupts in a collective cacophony of firecrackers, so be careful not to trip over the line of fire. Consider packing some earplugs.

Check entrance fees

Find out about the entrance requirements to the venue beforehand. Countless bars, clubs and restaurants in Amsterdam have special New Year’s Eve events, and tickets can sell out months in advance. For specific events, find out if you need to reserve a spot and do so as soon as possible. Note that some venues have additional entry fees on New Years Eve as well, even those that typically don’t have any.

Research vacation schedules

Check closures or reduced hours. Although New Year’s Eve is not a national holiday, many restaurants, tourist attractions, and other businesses are closed or have reduced hours on December 31. When making your plans for the day, be sure to double-check if the points on your itinerary are indeed open on New Years Eve, even during the day. Expect most businesses to close on New Year’s Day.

Don’t get stranded

Amsterdam’s public transport stops around 8pm. If you don’t want to pay for a taxi, make sure you are close to your New Years destination before services stop. You can also check the GVB (Amsterdam Public Transport) website to find out if your accommodation is on one of the limited bus routes for the return trip.

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