5 Christmas Activities (from Amsterdam to London to Maastricht)

a list of 5 by shenelva booij

1. Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival is not one of your average festivals. This festival is located all around the city center of Amsterdam and is to be explored by various walking routes and canal cruises. The light sculptures and artworks are created by Dutch artists but also by a number of international artists. Most of the artworks tell a story. Some of these stories are quite educational and themed around social issues. All of this art is lighting up the city in the darkest months, and will be up until the end of January, when the days (slowly but surely) turn brighter.

2. Jaap Eden Ice Skating Rink

Get your scarf, put on some gloves and you’re set to show off your ice princess moves. I mean who doesn’t like ice skating?! Okay, I can actually name a few people, BUT if you’re the sporty type or just up for a good laugh - seeing people fall over and over again is funny AF - this is perfect for you! The Jaap Eden Rink has an artificial indoor and outdoor ice skating rink in Amsterdam East. If you’re still a little insecure about your ice skating skills the Jaap Eden Rink offers ice skating classes. Also don’t forget to buy a hot chocolate at the bar after your classes, to make your skating experience complete!

3. Ice Sculpture Festival

Even though all of the activities in this list are pretty special, this one is probably the most unique. During the wintertime the IJshallen in Zwolle organize a show where they exhibit over a 100 ice sculptures. All of these sculptures are based on diverse stories and themes. The sculptures will give you a look inside the worlds of different cultures, and also into the world of superheroes like captain America, and even Pooh Bear and Tarzan! And don’t forget your scarf, gloves, hat and the thickest coat you can find, as this world of ice is 8 to 10 degrees below (yes, BELOW) zero. All in service of the perfect conditions for the life-size sculptures. 

4. Christmas market

The overly cute christmas decorations, the sparkly lights that immediately set the mood, the hot chocolate in your hand and the indispensible Mariah Carey vocals in the background... All to be found at christmas markets. The markets can be found almost everywhere during this season. To make choosing between all of these markets a little easier for you we made a small (extra) list of some of our favourites:

  • Amsterdamse Winterparade, RAI in Amsterdam
  • Rooftop Xmas Market, Floor17 in Amsterdam
  • Christmas Market, centre of Düsseldorf in Germany
  • Magisch Maastricht, Vrijthof in Maastricht
  • Grotten van Valkenburg, de Gemeentegrot in Valkenburg
  • Santa’s Village, Munsterplein in Roermond

5. Winter Wonderland London

For those who really want to go all out and enjoy the Christmas wonder, make your way over to London! By bus, train or a last minute plane ticket and you’ll be there in no time. During Christmas London’s Hyde Park is transformed into an enormous winter wonderland with lots of fun activities for young and old. A christmas market, the UK’s largest outdoor Ice rink, fairground attractions, winter shows and a whole lot more are included. Instant Christmas mood guaranteed!