Amsterdam Places trip reports

Amsterdam open Christmas Day

a building with a christmas tree in the middle of it

Amsterdam is a great city for a tourist visiting on Christmas Day. Most grocery stores, markets, restaurants, bars and coffeeshops are open on Christmas Day. Most city museums are open. Public transportation runs on a Sunday schedule.

Except for many retail shops being closed, the most noticeable difference of Christmas Day in Amsterdam were the normal number of people wandering the canal district streets with an unusually low number of cars and trucks driving in the city center. In fact, I had a moment when walking down a quiet city center lane not far from the Rijksmuseum when I suddenly became aware of the absence of any noise around me. No trams, no cars, no canal boats, no cyclists, no other pedestrians, not even the sound of birds. My realization was I am walking down the street in the middle of Amsterdam in the quietest moments I ever recall for this densely packed city. My footsteps were the only sound of the city around me.

a group of bicycles parked on a street
Amsterdam Christmas night
a building with a christmas tree in the middle of it
Christmas Eve carolling at Den Waag, Amsterdam
a group of people in front of a large building with a large tree
Christmas Tree at Dam Square, Amsterdam

Amsterdam is slightly too warm for much snow. Two of the most famous stories you might associate with the Netherlands are derived from Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland, the 1865 work of 19th century American author Mary Mapes Dodge. She had never been to the Netherlands at the time of her novel publication. Ice skating on canals would be a rare occurrence in 21st century Amsterdam. And a boy saving a town in Holland from flooding by keeping his finger in the hole of the dyke overnight is a story more familiar to American than Dutch.

a boat with lights on it
‘Neighborhood’ by Sergey Kim – Amsterdam Light Festival

Besides, the Amsterdam Light Festival keeps canal boats running full in the cold winter evenings from late November to late January.

a boat in a river at night
Amsterdam canal boats







  • DaninMCI December 26, 2019

    Seems like a shame for those folks who feel obligated to work on Christmas Day.

  • Christopher December 26, 2019

    I think tonight might be the last night, but the hortus botanicus is open in the evening until 22:00. I went the other night and it was the best thing I did while in Amsterdam this time holiday related. If you’re there now do yourself a huge favor and go ASAP. And visit a coffee shop first if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • Soren December 26, 2019

    Slightly off topic:
    Thinking of relocating to Europe in view of what’s happening in US.
    Recent research shows AMS 1 bed apt (If you can find one) is over 1M Euro now.
    I lived in AMS when I was a young person.
    Now I go for the art and architecture rather than anything else.
    I’ll be in AMS in March for a long goodbye.
    Happy New Year to Ric and readers.

  • Ric Garrido December 27, 2019

    Amsterdam is expensive. Cost of living even more expensive than my home town Monterey, CA.

    Quality of life here is one I really enjoy and Amsterdam is one of the few big cities I think I would enjoy living in.
    I took out 400 EUR from ATM for 5 days and morning of Day 2 I looked at wallet to find I have 180 EUR left. We had quite a party as far as I recall. My phone notes say Best Christmas Eve ever.

    I recall some great times in the past at the Butterfly Garden.

  • The real beej January 3, 2020

    Looking forward to your next post. Hope all is good.

  • Ric Garrido January 4, 2020

    @The real beej – All is good. Been busy with other projects that diverted my attention from writing for Loyalty Traveler. My attraction to distraction is a life-long trait.

    Loyalty Traveler articles should pick up steam again this week.

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