By Raya Chicheva
With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to give you some ideas on what to do to quickly get in the festive mood. Fans of Glühwein and all kinds of tasty food, unite! Here are our top picks of markets around the Netherlands.
1. Winterland Breda (20 December – 30 December)
Winterland is the annual Christmas festival of Breda during which the authentic city center is transformed into a big Christmas market. Go ahead and check out how our small town becomes a winter fairy tale. Rent some ice skates or bring your own and have fun with friends and family on the ring. There are plenty of events for every age and taste, so make sure to spend at least one day at it.
2. Royal Christmas fair – The Hague (15 December – 24 December)
If you want to feel some of the international spirit of The Netherlands, the market in The Hague is the right choice. With multiple activities in the middle of the Binnenhof, Noordeinde Palace, embassies, museums and attractive shopping areas such as the Denneweg, the Plaats and the Plein, this Christmas festival won’t give you the opportunity to get bored. What’s best? Of course you can also visit the beach in Scheveningen, that one of the few places where you can combine typical cozy Chrismas with sand and sea.
3. Christmas Landgoed – Keukenhof (13 December)
Starting from December 13th the Keukenhof estate and castle will be wrapped in a Christmas spirit. There will be multiple events taking place at the estate. On the starting day, everyone is invited to make their own Christmas decorations and children are allowed to put on some of the Christmas lights at the estate. On the 16th of December, everything will already be prepared for Christmas and if you visit the castle, you will be able to fully dive in the festive spirit. Are you ready for the most exciting guest of the palace? Of course, what is Christmas without Santa Claus. He will be happy to meet you there on the 20th of December, but make sure to sign up in advance because the number of visitors is limited. At the end of every festive day at the palace, you will be able to have a Christmas treat and a cup of hot chocolate.
As for the ones who would like to visit a Christmas market outside of The Netherlands, we also have some suggestions from our neighbor countries: Belgium and Germany.
4. Brussels ( ≈100 km away from Breda)
The capital of Belgium offers you many activities starting early from the 24th of November. The will have winter villages “pop” in four different neighborhoods of the city of Brussels. There you will be able to enjoy typical Christmas food and of course, Belgian waffles and chocolate. Don’t forget to take your ice skates with you if you’re a fan!
5. Cologne ( ≈200 km away from Breda)
Here we are, in the country of origin of all Christmas markets. You can visit the Christmas market in Cologne from the 24th November till the 23rd December. Beneath the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, you can choose from numerous sweet delicacies, watch artisans at work and enjoy the “Original Christmas mulled wine” out of the festively decorated Christmas mugs. You will also be able to taste some typical German food and feel the true festive spirit.