When you roll out of bed on 1 January 2019 with a champagne headache and confetti still in your hair, resist the urge to slump back onto your couch. This is Amsterdam and there is always something amazing to do and spectacular sights to explore! Here are our top 10 ways to start off the very first day of the new year.
1. New Year's dive
Shake off your hangover with a bracing dive. Join around 100 or so Amsterdammers during the Nieuwjaarsduik, or New Year’s dive, at the Sloterplas lake in Amsterdam’s West. This year’s event starts at 13:00 and will probably end around 13:01, but after you’ve leapt out of the icy deep, you can warm up with mulled wine, hot chocolate and pea soup. There is also a live performance by singer Debbie de Witte to reward your bravery. A number of towns and villages scattered around the region organise polar bear plunges. Check out the list here: Nieuwjaarsduik.
2. New Year’s Dance
Or you can forget about trying to recover from last night and just keep the party going. De Nieuwjaarsdans Thuishaven, or the New Year’s Dance, is something of a local tradition. It starts at 13:00 and goes until the wee hours, with a line up of talent that includes Josh Wink Marvin & Guy, Tunnel Vision and other bands that will set the perfect beat for 2019.
3. Go for a walk
Walk it off. Many locals enjoy just strolling through the city and seeing the streets through the fresh eyes of a new year. The firework shells and empty bottles are usually swept up quite quickly but the wonderful energy of the celebration lingers.
4. Visit a museum
What better way to approach the future year than by appreciating highlights from the past? Many of Amsterdam’s museums are open on New Year’s Day, including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Rembrandt House Museum. Get inspired by the Dutch masters and bring an extra splash of colour into the year.
5. New Year’s Concert
If learning more about classical music is on your resolution list, then make sure to check out the New Year’s Concert at the Concertgebouw’s famous Main Hall. The Dutch Wind Ensemble will be accompanied by surprise guests and soloists in an event that will have you daintily clapping your way into a very refined new year.
If you aren’t still full from all the oliebollen (Dutch donuts) then treat yourself to a leisurely brunch. Staring at Jacob will be hosting a beautiful champagne breakfast, Ted’s is serving its usual mouthwatering brunch fare and Restaurant Stedelijk is open from 10:00 so you can fuel up with a plate of scrambled eggs with Old Amsterdam cheese and grilled leavened bread with butter before heading inside for a lesson on modern art. Many restaurants are closed on New Year’s Day and those that are open are often packed, so make reservations in advance to lock down a spot. If you are looking for post-brunch dining, here are a few other spots that are open:
- Happyhappyjoyjoy: Asian fusion with restaurant locations in West, East and Zuid
- Salmuera: Latin American in Jordaan area, dishing up great Mexican and Peruvian vibes and delicious cocktails
- Restaurant de Struisvogel: Quaint Dutch restaurant located in the basement of a Keizersgracht canal house
- Café de Pels: Atmospheric brown café in the 9 Streets hosting a traditional New Year’s borrel, where you may luck into a free drink and you’ll definitely be served some truly spot-on bitterballen
7. Amsterdam Light Festival
Experience the Amsterdam Light Festival from the water. See the 30 and counting light installations adorning the canals on a Stromma cruise. The fresh year will look all the more sparkly when set to the backdrop of ancient waterways and twinkling lights.
Though many stores are closed, quite a few in the 9 Streets district stay open. It is a bit of a gamble since most stores don’t keep consistent hours on New Year’s Day, but you might stumble into that outfit that defines the new you, and January ushers in lots of post-Christmas bargains and sales.
9. See a movie
If this is all seeming like too much for your bleary-eyed state, you could always just go to the movies. You don’t need sunglasses in the cinema. The Movies in Jordaan, De Filmhallen in West, Eye in Noord and Pathé Tuschinski in the city centre, are open New Year’s Day, but you should check their websites for specific opening times as the big day nears.
10. Go ice skating
Enjoy the winter day, fresh air, a little exercise and lots of seasonal charm as you glide through some of Amsterdam’s most picturesque locations. The rinks at Museumplein, Jaap Edenbaan and Floor17 are all open.
Still not sure how to spend New Year’s Eve? Get your noisemakers and dancing shoes ready with this list of celebrations in Amsterdam.