Visiting The Dutch Countryside

Travelblog about The Netherlands | Exploring The Netherlands beyond the crowds

Things to do in The Netherlands this weekend

View on a picturesque street with canal houses in the city of Vlissingen, Zeeland, The Netherlands

Are you looking for the best things to do in The Netherlands this weekend? Then you’ve come to the perfect place because you can discover the best activities and events this upcoming weekend – and month- in The Netherlands.

I have been helping many of you visit great events in The Netherlands with my weekend tips series on TikTok (thank you for following along, I appreciate you!). In this part of my travel blog about The Netherlands, you can find the best things to do in The Netherlands this upcoming weekend – or the next. Whether you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam this weekend – or in Maastricht, The Hague (Den Haag), Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen and more.

I personally think these are the places I think you should visit in The Netherlands this weekend. Of course, I will still publish several weekend tips, as well as places to visit and itineraries, on TikTok. I’m not leaving you behind.

Now, I’m not a magician, so if you think there’s a cool event in The Netherlands that I missed in my weekend tips, please send it along at info[@]visitingthedutchcountryside.com with the subject ‘weekend tips + date’.

If you’re looking for more things to do in The Netherlands, including the Holland region, then you can find all my articles on places to see in The Netherlands here. And if you want to find more things to do in December, then you’ll love the article I linked.

December

Christmas Market Trompenburg

What:

Where:

When:

Admission fee: 

  • Adults € 10,75
  • Students € 5,75
  • Kids 5-12 years € 1,50
  • Kids 0-4 free

Christmas Market Oude Kerk Naaldwijk

What: One of the things you need to do in Naaldwijk this year is visit the yearly Christmas market of Naaldwijk (Dutch website). This small Dutch Christmas market is held in the beautiful Oude Kerk (old church) of the town. It’s home to around 40 stalls with mostly small and local businesses. It includes delicious beer, Christmas ornaments and decorations, artisan products and more.

Where: Wilhelminaplein 5, Naaldwijk (Zuid- Holland).

When: Friday 9th (12:00- 18:00) and Saturday 10th of December (11:00- 17:00).

Admission fee: None.

Christmas Market Haarlem

What: The yearly Christmas market in Haarlem takes place this entire weekend. The Haarlem Christmas market is one of the cosiest markets in The Netherlands and home to tons of different stalls spread throughout the city centre of Haarlem. Listen to choirs, buy the best Dutch Christmas gifts or get some delicious food. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Haarlem in winter.

Where: City centre of Haarlem (Noord- Holland).

When: Friday 9th and Saturday 10th of December (10:30- 20:00), Sunday the 11th of December (10:30- 19:00). 

Admission fee: None.

Lichtjesavond Schiedam

What: One of the great things to do in Schiedam in winter is to visit Lichtjesavond. Lichtjesavond is not the largest event, but it’s cosy – or as we say: ‘gezellig’. There’s a small market at Grote Markt where you can find unique Christmas presents from 15:00 until 19:00. And it gets better. Because from 17:00 until 19:00 the street lights will be turned off, candles are burning, Christmas songs are sung and the Christmas tree at the square will be lit. All of that while you’re enjoying a hot chocolate and some tasty oliebollen.

Where: Grote Markt, Schiedam (Zuid- Holland).

When: Saturday 10th of December (15:00-19:00). 

Admission fee: None.

Christmas Market Bourtange

What: The Christmas market of Bourtange is one of a kind. Bourtange is one of The Netherlands best kept fortified cities – and known for being shaped like a star. The entire fortified city is decorated with Christmas light and Christmas trees. And, in the centre of Bourtange you can find the Christmas market with almost 100 stalls. You can shop for the best Christmas gifts (or simply something for yourself, you deserve some love), listen to choirs singing their heart out and drink some glühwein or hot chocolate.

Where: Centre of Bourtange (Groningen).

When: Saturday the 3rd, 10th and 17th of December (11:00- 21:00). And Sunday the 4th, 11th and 18th of December (11:00- 18:00).

Admission fee:

  • Adults and kids 7 and up € 4
  • Kids under 6 Free

Christmas Market Diepenheim

What: A great and cosy Christmas market in the east of The Netherlands is found in the town of Diepenheim. Wander along stalls with original Christmas gifts, listen to music, theatre and other performances – or eat some tasty food. The Christmas market of Diepenheim is well known in the region for having a great atmosphere, so don’t miss out on it!

Where: Grotestraat, Diepenheim (Overijssel).

When: Sunday the 11th of December (11:00-16:00). 

Admission fee: None.

Royal Christmas Fair Den Haag

What: The 7th edition of the Royal Christmas Fair in the historic centre of the city of Den Haag (The Hague). You will not know what to do, as there is so much to see and do at this Christmas market in The Hague. Do some shopping at stalls that you haven’t seen anywhere else, buy some traditional Christmas foods and admire the tens of thousands of twinkling Christmas lights.

Where: Lange Voorhout, Den Haag (Zuid- Holland).

When: 8th until the 23rd of December (12:00- 21:00). With the exception of Friday the 16th of December, then the Christmas Fair in The Hague is opened until 22:00.

Admission fee: None.

Scrooge Festival Arcen

What: The Scrooge Festival in Arcen is fantastic to visit for everyone who is interested in the time of Dickens. Walk through the small, historic village and travel back in time. Around four hundred people are dressed like they were in the 1850s: poor people and wealthy people. Listen to monks singing songs in the decorated church, admire the beautifully lit streets and enjoy this trip to the London of the 19th century.

Where: Centre of the village of Arcen (Limburg).

When: Saturday the 10th (12:00- 20:00) and Sunday the 11th of December (11:00- 18:00).

Admission fee:

  • Adults € 10
  • Kids until 12 € 5
  • Kids under 4 Free

It is recommended to buy tickets in advanced, as there’s only a limited sale at the day itself in Arcen. 

Lemster Dickens Festijn

What: The Lemster Dickens Festijn brings you back to a Dickens styled village in the 19th century. Watch cool skills from magicians, listen to music or enjoy some bites and drinks. If you’re searching for a Dickens event in Friesland, then I recommend you bring a visit to Lemmer.

Where: The centre of the town of Lemmer (Friesland).

When: Saturday the 10th (16:00-21:00) and Sunday the 11th of December (14:00-19:00).

Admission fee: 

  • 13+ € 4,50
  • Kids 4-12 €2,50
  • Kids under 4 Free

You can buy tickets for the Dickens festival in Lemmer (Friesland province) via their website. 

Dickens Festijn Deventer

What: The Netherlands largest Dickens Christmas event is found in the city of Deventer. Every year around 125,000 people visit this incredible Dutch city in Dickens style. In the Bergkwartier in Deventer you will find more than 950 characters from the books of Charles Dickens. The line to enter the area is the largest between 11:00 and 13:00, so please keep that in mind.

Where: Entry to the Deventer Dickest fest is from Keizerstraat (near the Deventer Schouwburg), Deventer (Overijssel).

When: Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th of December (11:00 – 17:00). 

Admission fee: None.

Winterfair Bomenmuseum Doorn

What: In the Bomenmuseum (lit. translation: trees museum) you can visit a great winterfair. Nationaal Bomenmuseum Gimborn is a large garden of around 27 ha and was founded in 1925. It’s the perfect location for a cosy Christmas market in the Utrecht region. Walk along the stalls with local, small businesses or get some delicious food.

Where: Bomenmuseum, Velperengh 13 in Doorn (Utrecht).

When: Sunday the 11th of December (11:00- 19:00).

Admission fee:

  • Adults: € 5,00 (when you buy tickets in the presale online latest Saturday the 10th of December) or € 6,50 at the entry at the day itself.
  • Jaarkaarthouders Free
  • Kids until 15 Free

Christmas Market Thorn

What: The Christmas market in Thorn has grown into the largest and cosiest Christmas market of central Limburg. The old historic centre of Thorn is completely decorated with Christmas lights and more. There are around 70 stalls with antiques, Christmas decorations, handmade jewellery, ceramics, garden decorations and more. Don’t forget to head to the Abdij van Thorn (Abbey of Thorn) either for some beautiful music.

Where: The centre of the town of Thorn (Limburg).

When: Sunday the 11th of December (11:00- 17:00). 

Admission fee:

  • Adults € 3,50
  • Kids up to 12 Free

They recommend you to bring cash with you, as you cannot pay by card at the entrance and at most stalls. 

Kerst en Wildfair Kasteel Doorwerth

What: This is a great market that takes place on the grounds of a beautiful Dutch castle. And, this year all the proceeds go to Stichting (foundation) ALS. You can also bring a visit to the inside of Castle Doorwerth, which is not included in the ticket price, but you can enter for a cheaper price than usual. Enjoy some delicious ‘oliebollen’, buy local cheeses and discover the best Christmas gifts. 

Where: Kasteel Doorwerth, Fonteinallee 2, Doorwerth (Gelderland).

When: Sunday the 11th of December (11:00- 17:00).

Admission fee: 

  • Adults presale € 6,00 (at the cash register the day itself: € 7,50).
  • Kids 12-17 presale € 2,00 (at the cash register the day itself € 2,50)
  • Kids until 12 Free

You can pay both cash and by card. But, for parking (which costs € 2,00) you can only pay cash.

Zoutsloter Kerstmarkt Harlingen

What: One of the cosiest Christmas markets in Friesland is found in the city of Harlingen. It’s held alongside a beautiful canal and is organised since 2004. You can find more than 200 stalls at the picturesque streets with local businesses and charities where you can definitely find yourself some great Dutch Christmas presents. The streets are decorated with lights – and there are cosy fires.

Where: Zoutsloot, Harlingen (Friesland).

When: Saturday the 10th of December (15:00- 21:00).

Admission fee: None.

Christmas Market Valkenburg

What: The markets in Valkenburg are the most famous Christmas markets in The Netherlands. And, for a good reason: they are held in caves. Wander through the caves filled with stalls, Christmas lights and stories. As it’s the most known Dutch Christmas market, it is also the most crowded. But, I definitely think it’s worth a visit. And don’t miss out on a visit of the town of Valkenburg itself either, it’s beautiful. 

Where: Daalhemerweg 27, 6301 BJ Valkenburg a/d Geul (Limburg).

When: Friday the 18th of November until Friday the 30th of December (generally from 10/11:00 to 19:00). 

Admission fee: 

  • Adult 12+ € 8,50
  • Kids 5-12 € 5
  • Kids up to 4 Free

You can buy tickets for the Christmas markets in the caves of Valkenburg here. 

Christmas Market Leiden

What: The Christmas market in Leiden is one of the more known markets in The Netherlands, for a very good reason. Usually it was a floating Christmas market, however not this year and it’s a little smaller than usual. But, there are still plenty of great stalls to discover and enjoy a great day in Leiden.

Where: Hooglandse Kerkgracht, Leiden (Zuid- Holland).

When: Thursday the 15th until Sunday the 18th of December. 

  • Thursday 15 December 12.00 – 20.00
  • Friday 16 December 11.00 – 19.00
  • Saturday 17 December 11.00 – 19.00
  • Sunday 18 December 13.00 – 17.00

Admission fee: None.

Lichtjesavond Delft

What: Lichtjesavond is a fun event in the city of Delft. It’s when the Christmas tree is lit up, stalls are found all around the city centre and lights are everywhere (lichtjesavond literally translates to lights evening!). There’s music on many street corners, people are enjoying some glühwein and hot chocolate, and more.

Where: Markt, Delft (Zuid- Holland).

When: Tuesday the 13th of December (16:00- 22:00).

Admission fee: None.

Kaarsjesavond Nieuwpoort

What: The yearly Kaarsjesavond in Nieuwpoort takes place again. This candle evening in the fortified town of Nieuwpoort is a true highlight of the week. The lights in the small Dutch city are off, the candles are lit and you can enjoy a beautiful walk through one of The Netherlands most beautiful small towns.

Where: The old town centre of Nieuwpoort (Zuid- Holland).

When: Wednesday 14th of December (18:30- 23:00).

Admission fee: None.

Winterlicht Festival Schiedam

What: This year the 7th edition of Lichtkunstfestival Winterlicht takes place in Schiedam. This is one of the light art festivals you can find in The Netherlands this winter. Enjoy the beautiful interactive light artworks, great performances  and lovely atmosphere.

Where: Julianapark, Schiedam (Zuid- Holland).

When: Thursday the 15th, Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of December (17:00- 22:00). 

Admission fee: None. 

Gouda Bij Kaarslicht

What: Gouda Bij Kaarslicht – or Gouda By Candlelight, is a yearly beautiful event in the city of Gouda. It starts at 14:00 with performances throughout the centre of Gouda, but the real magic happens at 19:00. At 19:00 at the Markt square in Gouda (just in front of the stadhuis – city hall) you will witness a breathtaking sight. The Markt is completely lit by candle light in houses and shops – and the centuries old city hall has 1,500 candles behind its windows. The big finale is when the lights on the Christmas tree will be finally lit. After that ceremony there are still performances throughout the centre until roughly 22:00.

Where: Markt, Gouda (Zuid- Holland).

When: Friday the 16th of December (14:00- 22:00). 

Admission fee: None. 

You can find more (English) information about Gouda by Candlelight here.

Kerstmarkt Orvelte

What: In the historic village of Orvelte you can visit a Christmas market during two weekends in December. Orvelte is a village that is home to many traditional farm houses from the region and the entire village is basically one, big monument. Enjoy live music and get some great Christmas present, decorations and other items.

Where: Brink, Orvelte (Drenthe).

When: Saturday the 10th and 17th of December and Sunday the 11th and 18th of December (11:00-18:00). 

Admission fee: None.

Enkhuizen Bij Kaarslicht

What: Enkhuizen bij Kaarslicht, or Enkhuizen by Candlelight, is one of my favourite things to do in Enkhuizen during winter. This yearly event takes place in the historic and charming fishing neighbourhood of Enkhuizen: ‘t Suud. The street lights will be off and thousands of candles will be lighting the streets of this area of Enkhuizen. 

Where: ‘t Suud, Enkhuizen (Noord- Holland).

When: Saturday the 17th of December (19:00- 21:00). 

Admission fee: None. 

Bier & Spijsproeverij Medemblik

What: This is an event that I cannot recommend you enough. Have you ever dined in a Dutch castle before? Because you can enjoy a beer and food tasting in Radboud castle. There are four rounds of beer and delicious side dishes, while you can experience what dining is like in a historic castle.

Where: Kasteel Radboud, Medemblik (Noord- Holland).

When: Friday the 16th of December (19:30- 22:00).

Admission fee:

  • € 37,50

You can buy tickets for this tasting in Radboud here.

Funky Xmas Market

What: The most original Christmas presents in Amsterdam can be found at Funky Xmas Market. Every year at a Sunday in December this Christmas market in Amsterdam takes place. Enjoy some Christmas bites, live music, glühwein and more. 

Where: Westergasfabriek, Polonceaukade 27, 1014 DA, Amsterdam (Noord- Holland). 

When: Sunday the 18th of December (12:00- 18:00).

Admission fee: None. 

Winterwelvaart Groningen

What: This year it’s the 15th edition of WinterWelVaart. In the city of Groningen you will be surprised with twinkling lights as far as your eyes can reach. Historical boats lay in the canals and are decorated with Christmas lights giving you the best holiday mood. Enjoy music, dozens of stalls, poetry, theatre and other performances. 

Where: Hoge der A, Lage der A and Kleine der A in Groningen (Groningen). 

When: Friday 16th of December (17:00- 00:00, the market until 22:00), Saturday 17th of December (12:00- 00:00, the market until 22:00) and Sunday the 18th of December (12:00- 18:00).

Admission fee: None.

Lichtjestocht Utrecht

What: The 7th edition of the Lichtjestocht (lights tour) Utrecht takes place this Friday. In the east of Utrecht you can follow a trail of 2,000 lights and will pass events out of the story of Christmas, music and some stalls with food and drinks. You will also pass the live nativity scene at Aloysiuskerk, which is where you can bring non-perishable items for the local food banks or can give a donation.

Where: Limburg Stirumplein, Utrecht (Utrecht). 

When: Friday the 16th of December (18:00-20:00).

Admission fee: None.

Kerstkorenfestival Sneek

What: If you want to listen to Christmas songs sung by several choirs in a historic Dutch city, then this event is great for you. This is the first time that the Kerstkorenfestival (Christmas choirs festival) is held in the Frisian city of Sneek. And at 16:30 the festival ends with a Christmas sing-a-long in the Martinikerk.

Where: Wijde Burgstraat, Schaapmarktplein, Marktstraat, Oosterdijk and Grootzand in Sneek (Friesland).

When: Saturday the 17th of December (13:00- 17:00).

Admission fee: None.

Twentse Midwinterhorn Wandeling

What: It’s time for the 37th edition of the Twentse Midwinterhoorn Walk, which takes place in and around Enschede this year. The use of a midwinterhoorn has been a tradition for centuries in this part of The Netherlands. During this walk you can walk through a beautiful landscape and listen to 25 midwinterhoorn blowing groups who are spread along the route. There is a route of 12 kilometres and a short version of 5 kilometres (this route is suitable for wheelchair users or walkers with a pram).

Where: Campus Universiteit Twente, Hogekampplein, Enschede (Overijssel). 
 
When: Sunday the 18th of December (start between 10:00 and 14:00). 
 
Admission fee: 
 
  • Adults € 2
  • Kids up to 17 € 1

The admission fee can be paid on the spot. It includes a booklet with information about the walk, route, tradition, midwinterhoorn stops, catering and more.

Fakkeltocht Eindhoven

What: Every year in Eindhoven there’s a ‘fakkeltocht’ or torch parade. This walking route has been organised to remember peace and freedom since 1992. Thousands of people walk with a lit up torch, which is a beautiful sight and you can participate. Before the walk starts, there are performances. And, after the walk has finished there are performances.

Where: Wilhelminaplein, Eindhoven (Noord- Brabant). 

When: Saturday the 24th of December (the walk starts at 19:00).

Admission fee: None. But if you want to have a torch for the parade, then you can get them for a few euros at the following places:

  • Vredesburo at Grote Berg
  • VVV at train station Eindhoven
  • Wereldwinkel Eindhoven at Hoogstraat
  • Café Wilhelmina
  • COC at Prins Hendrikstraat
  • Aktas Travel at Kruisstraat.

Midwinter Markt Terschelling

What: The Midwintermarkt is a cosy yearly evening market held on the Dutch island of Terschelling. There are decorated stalls with glühwein, baked fish, local produce – and more. It’s the perfect place to get to know Terschelling a bit better. And, there are even demos of traditional folk dances from Terschelling and of old crafts. After the market, many people head to the local bars to celebrate with friends and family.

Where: Oosterburen, Terschelling (Friesland).

When: Wednesday the 28th of December (16:00- 20:00).

Admission fee: None.

Christmas At Menkemaborg

What: Menkemaborg in Uithuizen is one of the fortified houses that you can find in the Groningen province. It is one of the best kept Dutch castles in the Groningen region and home to good exhibitions and style rooms. And at first and second Christmas Day you will dive back in time. The candles are burning in the chandeliers, the style rooms have a Christmas spirit and the table looks like it’s ready for a Christmas dinner with the nobility. During both days organists play Christmas music in Menkemaborg.

Where: Uithuizen (Groningen).

When: Sunday the 25th and Monday the 26th of December (12:00- 16:00). 

Admission fee:

  • Adults € 9,00
  • Kids 6-12 € 2,50
  • Kids until 6 Free

If you have a Museumkaart, Rembrandt-pas or ICOM-pas then a visit to Menkemaborg is free. You cannot pay with credit card at Menkemaborg, so either bring cash or (someone with) a Dutch bank card.

Kasteel De Haar Lumieuze Nachten

What: One of the best things to do near Utrecht during the weekend (or a vacation) is to visit Castle De Haar. During Lumieuze Nachten at Kasteel De Haar you will walk a route of 2,5 kilometre, which will take to incredible projections that will bring you back in time. Discover the gardens of The Netherlands’ largest castle and see the stories of the castle.

Where: Haarzuilens (Utrecht). 

When: Friday the 16th of December until Sunday the 8th of January.

Admission fee:

  • Adults € 19,25
  • Kids until 13, 65+ and disabled people € 14,25
  • Kids until 3 Free

You can buy tickets online via Kasteel De Haar.

Firework And Light Show NYE Amsterdam

What: The main celebration of NYE in Amsterdam will take place on Museumplein. The municipality of Amsterdam organises a spectacular light – and firework show. It is also expected that they perhaps want to organise another firework show in Amsterdam for New Year’s Eve somewhere else in the city, but a confirmation of that hasn’t been published yet. 

Where: Museumplein, Amsterdam (Noord- Holland).

When: 31st of December.

Admission fee: None.

National Fireworks

What: Right in the centre of Rotterdam – at Erasmusbrug – you can find the largest part of the National Fireworks in The Netherlands. Tens of thousand of people will celebrate the beginning of 2023 with you in Rotterdam – and on national television. Celebrating NYE in Rotterdam is always a great idea.

Where: Erasmusbrug 1, 3072 AP Rotterdam (Zuid- Holland).

When: 31st of December.

Admission fee: None.

National Fireworks

What: The National Fireworks during New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands always takes place on several locations, and the one at Erasmusbrug in the city of Rotterdam is the largest part of the event. However, you can also have a beautiful fire work show during NYE in The Netherlands in Hoek van Holland.

Where: Hoek van Holland near Zeeplein, in front of the beach clubs (Zuid- Holland).

When: 31st of December.

Admission fee: None.

National Fireworks

What: Another location of the National Fireworks during NYE in The Netherlands is found in Nesselande at the Zevenhuizerplas, which is a lake. It’s a great place to enjoy and celebrate New Year’s Eve in The Netherlands, especially since it’s less crowded than at the Erasmusbrug.

Where: Nesselande: best watched from Siciliëboulevard (Zuid- Holland). 

When: 31st of December.

Admission fee: None.