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How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

From festive feasts, to fireworks, to partying through the night and submerging yourself in the icy sea (yes, really). There’s loads to do to welcome in the new year in the buzzing party capital of The Netherlands. Here are some festive ideas to welcome in another year, and make it a New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam to remember.

Why Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam?

Tourists love Amsterdam, but the locals can party just as hard. They also know how to keep thing ‘gezellig.’ There’s something for everyone here, from the party animals to the families with kids, to the couples looking to get smoochy somewhere romantic. New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam can go in pretty much any direction you like.

Check out the Amsterdam Light Festival

What better way to warm up for the night than by exploring the 11th edition of Amsterdam’s annual Light Festival? Putting international artists quite literally in the spotlight, this year’s edition runs through New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam and beyond. Light displays are based on the theme of imagination and are all designed to stretch yours. Expect wondrous works of art including talking lamps, virtual bridges, and water flowing upwards!

Where, How, What & Why?

  • The Amsterdam Light Festival is illuminating Amsterdam from December 1st, 2022, through January 22nd, 2023

  • Work your way on foot around 20 awe-inspiring works of light art, that span canals and streets all over the city

  • Opt to see the Amsterdam Light Festival’s showstoppers by water on a special cruise around the canals - a canal cruise in the dark is one of the best ways to see them

  • This is a great activity for families to do with kids. It’s also a pretty sweet date night idea for couples

Watch the fireworks

New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is no different to most major cities across the world when it comes to firework displays. The Dutch love lighting up the skies at midnight, and the hours either side of it, too (watch out for firecrackers!). Head to an observatory, a panoramic restaurant, or any high-rise building across Amsterdam and prepare for a visual spectacular.

Where, How & Why?

  • For the best fireworks, lights and sound displays in the city, head to Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Museumplein, Leidseplein, or Dam Square

  • Be sure to arrive early if you plan to be in one of the major squares - you will have competition for the best spots

  • If you’re heading out on foot, or on a bicycle, be aware of kids letting off firecrackers - you never know when or where the next one might strike!

  • Make friends with someone who has a rooftop - these are the best places for watching a panorama of fireworks explode all around you at midight

Visit Amsterdam Winter Paradise

Amsterdam RAI brings us the ultimate winter experience with the annual Amsterdam Winter Paradise. Bundle up and get down to the winter wonderland, guaranteed to keep the icicles away.

By day, snake around indoor and outdoor ice rinks, put the kids on the carnival rides, bust a move in the ski village, shop at the festive stalls and treat your eyes to live shows and musical performances. And don’t miss Amsterdam’s biggest New Year’s Eve party!

Where, How, What & Why?

  • Amsterdam Winter Paradise is reopening in 2022, bigger and better than ever after a 2-year absence

  • There’s a grand closing ceremony and special show lined up for New Year’s Day - great for all ages

  • Start 2023 in style with the Amsterdam Winter Paradise event, open on December 31st until 3 AM on January 1st

  • There is limited capacity for New Year’s Eve, so buy your tickets in time. Tickets (€26.50 per person) are available. More here

Head to a New Year’s Eve party

Amsterdammers love to party all-year-round, and New Year’s Eve is just a better excuse to go wild! There can’t be anything more fun for singles and party animals, or even families than a good old party with likeminded people. New Year’s Eve parties will be shaking up most Amsterdam clubs, pubs, restaurants, and hotels - all you have to do is find the one that floats your canal boat.

Where, How, What & Why?

For the dancers

HUSH 2022 NYE Party: Sssssh, it’s a silent disco at HUSH, meaning you can dance to the beat of your own chosen drum (and bass). Promising all-new lighting and some ‘sick’ beats, this is the party to be at, located in the heart of Amsterdam, a staggering distance from Leidseplein. More here.

For groups of friends

Amsterdam 2022 Nye Indoor & Outdoor Festival @ Café Oerknal, Science Park 306: Cosy up around a fire pit and watch the entertainers on the outdoor stage, or head inside and warm up to the DJ. The BBQ is a nice touch - you can’t drink champagne on an empty stomach. More here.

For the couples

W Hotel, W Amsterdam, Spuistraat 175: Get loved up or relight your fire with the W’s posh affair. Gaze out over the whole of Dam Square and beyond from the rooftop, with a cocktail and as many kisses as you like. Tickets cost €50 euro or €70 euro at the door. (8 PM - 3 AM. More here.

For the music lovers

New Year’s @ Zoku: The lavish Zoku is no stranger to hosting a good time. New Year’s Eve revellers will be treated to a live band and one of Amsterdam’s best rooftop views. Tickets cost €127 including entrance, food from the ‘Living Kitchen’, and unlimited drinks (champagne is included!). More here.

Take a cruise on the canals

One of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is to take to the water. It’s calmer than the streets! Witness the crowds from afar instead of battling through them on a winter canal cruise. It’s a great way to see the lights from a safe distance, and your cruise can be as boozy or as gezellig as you choose.

You might not get a group cruise that covers midnight, but you could take an afternoon/evening cruise and see how the night pans out after that. Maybe you’ll make some new ship-mates?

Where, How, What & Why?

  • Enjoy the winter city scenery and city buzz while cruising the Amsterdam canals in total safety

  • See the brilliantly decorated landmarks and Amsterdam’s historic buildings and bridges with an onboard audio guide to fill you in on all the details

  • Get to know the city’s history, from its humble medieval beginnings to the economic and cultural boom of The Golden Age with a 1-hour Amsterdam Canal Cruise

  • Get all your drinks included and get your New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam off to a giggly start with an Amsterdam Booze Cruise Experience

  • Don’t want to join a group tour? Hire your own boat for the night instead

Watch some international comedy

It’s been a joke of a year so laugh it off, and ha ha ha your way into the next one with some live comedy. Warning, these shows might get sexy (by that, we mean filthy dirty).

Where, How, What & Why?

  • Do something different and get your funny bone tickled in a warm, comfy venue on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, away from the fireworks

  • Great for groups of friends who are sick of bars and want something different to do

  • NETFLIX & K*ll AMSTERDAM stars a bunch of international standup comedians on the rise to the top, all of whom deserve a Netflix Special!

  • Best Joke of The Year features some of the best stand up comedy in English in a New Years’ Comedy Jam! Another year, another set of side-splittingly silly gags

Tuck into some festive food

New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam means an abundance of festive food will be up for grabs, all over the city. It’s the perfect time to treat your tastebuds with all the stuff the Dutch love, whether you’ve just moved here, or you’re visiting.

Where, How, What & Why?

  • Look out for the winter markets, as well as restaurants, bars and cafes that open their doors just to sell festive treats

  • Various pubs will serve up steaming hot chocolate, hot mulled wine, as well as glasses of prosecco and beer

  • Don’t miss an Oliebol, a type of yummy fried dumpling that comes in lots of different flavours, from rum and raisin, to apple, to cherry jam - one is never enough

  • Try the Duivekater, a sweet and slightly spicy bread that the locals love

  • Tuck into the Appelbeignet, a dessert not unlike the southern delicacy of sweet, fried apple slices

Take an icy dip at Zandvoort Aan Zee

It’s not exactly an activity for New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam, but if you’re stretching the celebrations through to New Year’s Day, this will ease your hangover. For the last 60 years locals and visitors alike have been taking a chilly New Year’s Dip At Zandvoort Aan Zee at noon. It’s just a train-ride away.

It’s the oldest swim in the country, started by a gentleman called Ok van Batenburg and members of a Haarlem swimming club in 1960. Male or female, young or old, everyone’s welcome!

Where, How, What & Why?

  • Sign up in advance on the website, or on New Year's Day itself

  • Enjoy a fun warm-up session with music before stripping down for your chilly dip

  • Dive into the New Year, literally, with between 50,000 - 100,000 people rushing into the sea at once, at Zandvoort Aan Zee

  • Warm up afterwards with a cup of hot pea soup and get a certificate to prove you did it!

  • Remember there are no showers or changing rooms. Put your swimsuits on under your clothes and bring a towel, plus lots of warm clothes to change into after your swim

Weather during New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

It’s hard to predict the weather at any time of year these days, but you can probably rely on it being pretty cold over New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam.

Chance of rain: You’d do well to pack an umbrella or a raincoat, or both! The Dutch clouds aren’t shy about raining on anyone’s New Year’s Eve parade. If you’re heading out and about, you can expect some showers throughout the day. You might even get some snow!

What to wear: Layer up! You can take things off but if you don’t wear lots to start with, you might get cold. Dig out the thick jackets, hats and scarves. Pull up the wooly socks and don’t forget the gloves.

What to remember: New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam might be rainy, or snowy, or both. Dress for wet, cold climes and you’ll be fine. If you’re out on foot, taking a flask of coffee or hot chocolate will soon warm you up.

Temps to expect:

Average Temperature: 4 °C

Highest Temperature: 6 °C

Lowest Temperature: 2 °C

Getting around on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

Trams: Trams will not be running after 8 PM on New Year’s Eve. They’ll start again on New Year’s Day in the morning.

Trains: NS Railways will stop operating from 8 PM on New Year’s Eve. The night service trains will pick up at 1 AM on New Year’s Day.

Metro: Metro services in Amsterdam will stop at 8 PM on December 31. They’ll start again on New Year’s Day in the morning.

Buses: Buses will stop running on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam at 8 PM. They’ll start again at 1 AM January 1st. Night buses will be operational from 1.30 AM on New Year’s Day in Amsterdam.

Ferry: The only ferry service you’ll be able to use between the 30th of December and the 2nd of January will be the Buiksloterwegveer ferry. This connects Amsterdam Centraal and Amsterdam North.

SOLID NET VASTGOED wishes everyone a happy new year in Amsterdam and beyond!

For more insight into expat life in The Netherlands, check out more of our blogs.

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