Christmas markets spring up throughout Amsterdam in December. Whether you come along for tasty seasonal food and drink, to entertain the kids at the ice rink or merely to smell those delicious spices wafting between the market stalls with their enticing illuminations and the festive tunes, it certainly will ease you into the Christmas mood. And you can find great inspiration for present buying at some of the markets.
Amsterdam, which is a market fanatic's haven at any given time of the year, has a great number of Christmas markets to choose from, but the most famous ones are those at Leidseplein and Koningsplein, which are open every day in December and will last until mid January.
Festive market stalls and fairy lights also brighten up De Hallen, a new indoor market for food and design which is tipped to be very good. Launched only two months ago, De Hallen is situated in a former design and industrial warehouse. On December 20th and 21st, the Local Goods Christmas Market takes place at this venue, offering ideal options for your Christmas menu.
Another such venue is the Pure Winter Market which caters more specifically to organic chefs and people on the hunt for sustainable produce. It takes place on December 14th in Amstelpark and on December 21st at Park Frankendael.
Many of the iconic weekly markets turn into Christmas markets too. If you are planning on buying a Christmas tree, why not head to the Flower Market, where you have the choice of a wide selection of them as well as a plethora of rather pucker Christmas decorations. This Flower Market, which is Europe’s only one, will cater to your needs for living room pine and is located slap bang next door to the Christmas Palace, which is a huge emporium full of Christmas accessories.
If you are a regular at the Amsterdam Christmas markets, be aware that the Winter Market Amsterdam, the market at Beursplein, has been cancelled this year. The organisers say on their Facebook page that they have not been able to organise it for 2014, and from the comments you might conclude that this is because of some local politicians’ infighing.
Oh well. If it’s a Sunday, the number of Christmas markets increases. Perhaps you'll opt to visit the Westergasfabriek, also centrally located, on December 7th, which is perfect for kids. A Christmas market takes place between 12 noon and 6pm and there will be plenty of cultural entertainment for the young ones, whilst mum and dad can engage in a sensorial test with quinoa (a food item resembling couscous) in a workshop by folk who teach at Food Commerce and Technology In Holland (a high level gastronomic educational course).
One week later, the Westergasfabriek hosts the Funky Xmas market (December 14th).
In case you need to do some serious food shopping, you can get down to business at Albert Cuypmarkt, which is a very large market with plenty of food stalls. December Sundays are known as winter market days. This is where you can get high quality food and drink at reasonable prices. It is also good for seasonal gifts, cards and the like. Anyone who needs to up their game in terms of time management simply has to swoop through this market to pick up everything they need. The Albert Cuypmarket is held daily so you really can't go wrong.