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 and other locations. The actual dive is usually over in seconds, but after you’ve leapt out of the icy deep, you can warm up with mulled wine, hot chocolate and pea soup. A number of towns and villages scattered around the region organise polar bear plunges. Check out the full schedule here: Nieuwjaarsduik.
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 heavy-hitting talent that may include the likes of Benny Rodrigues, Carl Cox and other bands and DJs that will set the perfect beat for the coming year.
Go for a walkWalk 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.
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.
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 featured ensembles are often 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. 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. And if you really can't make it out of bed, check out this run-down of the best takeaway restaurants in town
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. Check out this list of the best concept stores in Amsterdam for more retail inspiration.
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. Many of Amsterdam's independent and boutique cinemas (such as 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.
Go ice skating