The wintertime is such an underrated season to visit in the Netherlands. Tourists tend to overlook it because of the cold weather and the misconception that there isn’t much to do. As a matter of fact, you won’t want to pass up a trip here during the wintertime. There is greater hotel availability, the airfare is cheaper and lesser crowds. Check out some of the cool things to do in the Netherlands in winter.
What is the Netherlands like in the winter?
It can be cold in the Netherlands but not unbearable. The temperature during winter is quite mild so expect a range anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees celsius. If you add wind to the mix, this can feel bone-chilling and much colder than usual. Make sure to invest in a warm winter coat, (preferably a waterproof one) and take along a few layers, gloves, and a scarf.
Spend a winter day at the museum
If you’re a big fan of history, art, and culture the museum may just become your new wintertime activity. The Netherlands has a plethora of museums around the country such as modern, contemporary, archeological, classical, and photographic works to suit your taste. My personal favorite is the Tropenmuseum located in Amsterdam featuring a collection of cultures around the world, interactive exhibits, and the realities of Dutch colonialism.
Head to the “Dutch Disneyland”
One of the best things to do in the Netherlands in winter is to visit the Dutch fantasy themed amusement park Efteling. It’s like the fairytale verson of Disneyland but better. Fun fact, but it’s also one of the oldest theme parks in Europe and the world. During winter Efteling turns into a magical winter wonderland with a holiday atmosphere. Every attraction and part of the park has its own theme based on a fairytale.
Many ice rinks sell delicious wintertime snacks and beverages like poffertjes. If the temperature drops low enough and the canals freeze over, then you may be lucky enough to skate on the canals. In 2017 and 2020 it was cold enough for people to go skating on fresh bodies of water.
Visit a christmas market
The Christmas markets in the Netherlands aren’t as grandiose as in Germany, but they are still lovely to visit. The markets in Valkenburg and Maastricht are lovely and so is the Hague’s Royal Christmas Fair. Christmas markets start around the end of November and last until the end of December.
Have some oliebollen
Olibolen is hands down my favorite Dutch winter snack. Typically eaten around New Year’s, Eve, this deep-fried donut-style ball that is topped with powdered sugar is an absolute treat. Follow the New Year’s Eve tradition and order Olibolen as soon as they become available to eat.