Hello, future Frozen characters! In the Netherlands, winters are chilly but the people and the stroopwafels are warm. Join us as we skate’ through Dutch winter with warmth (hopefully) and joy. Here is your guide to enjoying winter like a Dutchie.
Skating on Local Ice Rinks
Dutch ice skating is almost innate. Most cities have local ice rinks, so you can slip, slide, and sometimes resemble Bambi on ice. These rinks range from large one to small intimate settings. Amsterdam and Rotterdam feature beautiful rinks that may make you forget you’re cold! Remember to check whether you have one in your city.
Christmas Markets: Where 'Yule' Party
Visit Maastricht and The Hague markets for a Christmas card-like experience with flowing glühwein and ‘gouda’ cheese vendors! Perfect for gift-hunting, unless you keep all the cosy mittens for yourself (no judgement). Trust me the Christmas Market scene is something right out of a fairytale. For a more Markets check out our post.
Winter Efteling and some very bright lights
Avoid amusement parks and visit Winter Efteling, where fairy tales and frostbite (dress warmly) coexist. Dutch Disney—fewer princesses, more pannenkoeken.
If Winter Efteling is a fairy-tale then Walibi Bright Nights is the roller-coaster version (most accurate description). Here you’ll find fairy lights, roller coasters and hopefully a starry night sky. Thrill Seekers rejoice for the perfect blend of beautiful lights and daring roller coasters.
Dutch Winter Cuisine: Stamppot and Survival
We all want survive the Dutch Winters and get some good food in our stomachs (okay maybe that’s just me). Dutch Winters and stamppot go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. What more do you need potatoes, vegetables and maybe some meat.
The dutch have another secret weaopn for surviving the winters, Erwtensoep loaded with peas, veggies and a little piece of bacon.
The dutch didn’t forget about desert, so spice up your winter and get yourself some specculaas, so get a box from your nearest Albert Heijn. Tip: Dip in coffee for a great experience.
Christmas in the Netherlands: More Than a 'Tree-t
Dutch Christmas begins with Sinterklaas, a boat-based Santa Claus. Then visit the Christmas markets, where the cheerful attitude is so contagious you may start singing Dutch carols (or humming awkwardly).
New Year's Dive: For the Bold (or Foolhardy)
Launch into the North Sea on New Year’s Day to scream or discover a new love for hot chocolate. The experience is thrilling, terrifying, and may make a fantastic blog post. (just kidding I don’t swim). So make your way to Den Haag and watch people dive like fish.
Winter Survival Tips: Stay Warm or Hibernate
Layer up—you’re an onion with flair, not just an international student.
Next to hot cafes and stroopwafels, trams, or busses are your best travel friend.
Shop local for winter apparel that says “I survived a Dutch winter and all I got was this fantastic hat.”
The Netherlands’ winter is unexpectedly cool (pun intended).
From ice rinks to Christmas markets, your Dutch winter will be full of culture, adventure, and carbs. Lots of carbs. Take advantage of the cold, enjoy the simple things, and remember that spring is coming! For more help surviving the Dutch Cold look at our blog Cold Weather Guide for International Students in the Netherlands – International Students Work