Visit Holland - The Netherlands

Christmas in Holland 2013

Winter 2013 will see an abundance of Christmas and winter themed events taking place across Holland from markets and fun fairs, to decorated caves and even a Charles Dickens festival, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Amsterdam Light Festival 06.12.2013 –19.01.20
Amsterdam Light Festival is a winter light festival for all ages. For 50 days, the historical centre of Amsterdam will present a unique backdrop for this international light and water festival. Corresponding to the theme, ‘Building with Light’, 30 light sculptures and projections by international artists have been selected for this second edition. The boat tour, Water Colours, will exhibit artworks along, in, and above the Amstel River, while the walking route, Illuminade, will take place in the centre of the city.

Muiderslot Castle
In the chambers of the castle, Christmas trees will be lovingly decorated and the castle guides will tell the story of their origin, development and meaning; from fertility symbol to contemporary show stopping trees. On 28 and 29 December, the Knights of Zwaard en Steen will be in the castle. During their stay they are preparing for the midwinter celebrations and will ask visitors for their help. In the castle courtyard, visitors can make candles, sample the simmering honey brew and help the blacksmith forge his wares. In the gate tower, armour is being polished and noble ladies are preparing their festive garb.

Opening hours (21 December to 5 January)Monday through Sunday 12:00 - 5:00pm. Muiderslot is closed on 25 and 31 December, and 1 January.

The Hague
Christmas cruise 2013
An atmospheric cruise on a heated antique Salonboot with mulled wine and hot chocolate. This one and a half hour cruise through the city centre sail past Rijswijkseplein, Drievliet and Voorburg on Vliet. A private cruise with English commentary is available over Christmas including New Year’s Eve.

TINK The Hague
TINK The Hague is a recurring winter event where art and creativity is used to decorate shop windows and empty buildings. TINK XL is an additional weekend event in The Hague’s city centre with a winter parade, concerts, choirs and exhibitions.

The Nutcracker, Dutch Don’t Dance Division
The Dutch Don’t Dance Division brings back The Nutcracker in Lucent Danstheater. The enchanting music is composed by P.I. Tchaikovsky. Artistic directors Rinus Sprong and Thom Stuart renewed this ballet with 70 dancers,  220 costumes and a magical set with animations by David Middendorp.
Performance Dates in December 2013 Wednesday 25th     14.00 hours
Thursday 26th     14.00 hours
Friday 27th     14.00 hours & 19.30 hours
Saturday 28th     14.00 hours & 19.30 hours

Unox New Year’s dive 2014
The largest dive is held at the beach of Scheveningen right in front of the
 Kurhaus Hotel on New Year’s Day where over 10,000 people plunge into the sea each year. From 10:30 am you are able to buy your ticket for the dive and warm up with music and gymnastics. At midday the starting shot is given and it is time to launch yourself in the sea.

Friday 30 November 2013 marks the start of the magical activities in  Maastricht when the city will become beautifully illuminated. Vrijthof Square is one of the many bustling centres of activity, full of winter fun and Christmas spirit. As the beating heart of Magical Maastricht, it will play host to a large skating rink, a Christmas market, a grand carousel, and a big wheel. There is a magical atmosphere in all the streets, squares and courtyards in the city centre, complemented by beautifully decorated shop windows, inviting shoppers in from the cold. Now that Maastricht's shops are open seven days a week* on a permanent basis, visitors can always enjoy the unique atmosphere in Maastricht. * Shops are open every Sunday from midday. Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.               

WarmWinterLights 26.12.13 – 28.12.13 A fairy tale winter walk in the gardens of the Middachten Castle. The beautiful vistas, hidden lanes and courtyards will all come to life through lights. Ice princesses and fairies will enthral children in this magical winter wonderland.

Castle Keukenhof 11.12.13 – 15.12.13
You can walk for hours through the Christmas Fair, Winter Wonderland, gardens and remember to visit the Castle itself. There will be musical entertainment, shopping opportunities and food to try. Santa will be on hand to keep you informed of what events are taking place that day. There will also be a special children's village with animals and entertainment so parents can relax.

Christmas Market Dordrecht 13.12.13 - 15.12.13
At 2,5 kilometres long the Christmas market in the historical city centre of Dordrecht is one of the largest and atmospheric Christmas markets in Holland. The market has over 250 stands in the festively lit city centre. Additionally there are choirs, bands, a Santa orchestra and an ice-skating rink.    

Magical Christmas Activities in Valkenburg
The beautifully lit streets form an enchanting backdrop for hours of festive fun. The market will be larger than ever with over 50 stalls. Santa Claus will take up residence in the Velvet Cave. You are invited to visit his home! Take a look at the room of presents, visit his bedroom and admire the reindeers and sleigh. During the Velvet Cave Christmas market, Santa Claus will welcome the visitors daily between 12:00 and 17:00 pm. During Christmas time the Velvet Cave is transformed into a market with quaint niches selling Christmas items and gifts. Many handmade local and international products are unique and exclusively available for the Christmas market, such as marlstone products and traditional Polish handicrafts. Watch demonstrations of these traditional crafts as you shop for nativity scenes, Christmas decorations, wreaths and candles. During the Christmas market, the Castle Ruins are also open to the public. Experience also Europe's most astonishing Underground Nativity Scene within the spectacular Wilhelmina Caves in Valkenburg.         

Christmas parade
This parade with beautiful floats, dancers and performers will travel through the centre of Valkenburg every Wednesday evening (until December 21nd) at 7 p.m. and every Saturday evening at 7.30 p.m.                     

Gouda by Candlelight 13.12.2013
The old centre of Gouda will be lit by candlelight. The event originally began when the Gouda candle factory celebrated its 100th birthday by donating candles to the city hall. During the evening, from 7 pm 1500 candles will be lit inside the city hall and surrounding buildings. Visitor will gather around the Christmas tree which will be lit with over 6000 candles and sing Christmas carols together from 7 pm till 9.30 pm.

Country & Christmas Fair Castle de Haar Utrecht, Haarzuilens
20.11.13 –24.11.13

11.00 – 22.00 hrs
The wide selection of stalls will sell Christmas gifts. As you visit the stalls you can enjoy a glass of mulled wine with fresh fruit, pancakes or hearty soups. The many lights, fire pits and Christmas decorations will create a unique atmosphere within the fairytale castle.

Other activities in Utrecht include:
Regional market Utrecht (Special Christmas edition)

Sunday, 15 December, 11.00 – 18.00 hours.
Twijnstraat, Utrecht

Homemade Christmas Market Utrecht

Wednesday, 4 December, 11:00 - 17:00 hours.
Mariaplaats, Utrecht

Christmas market and fair, Rijnlaan

Saturday, 7 December, 10.00 – 17.00 hours.
Rijnlaan, Utrecht

Winter fun at the railway museum 21.12.2013 – 05.01.2014
Every year, during the Christmas holidays, the railway museum is
transformed into a winter wonderland. A great ice-skating ring is established between the trains, hundreds of Christmas trees, thousands of lights and an antique carousel ensure a great Christmas and winter atmosphere. There are activities for everyone such as musical performances and acrobatic acts.
Christmas at the Royal Palace Het Loo 14.12.13 – 05.01.14

This year, besides the festively decorated dining tables and Christmas trees in different styles, Christmas cards from the Royal Family can be seen and visitors can write and send their Christmas wishes to the Royal Family.   Visitors can also go ice-skating on the rink at the Stallenplein.
Deventer Dickens Festival 2013 14.12-15.12

The 19th century of Charles Dickens lives again in the picturesque Bergkwartier in Deventer. Over 900 Dickens characters will be bought to life including Oliver Twist, Scrooge, Marley and Mr. Pickwick. Wealthy ladies and  gentlemen with top hats parade in the streets. Christmas Carol Singers go from door to door. The festival scenery will include Christmas trees and thousands of little lights. On Sunday 15th December the whole city centre  will have a Christmas atmosphere. There will be a market on the main square with 200 stands. The city centre churches will host a musical program with different choirs and orchestras. The Dickens Festival is held every year and receives over 120,000 visitors.

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