ART & EXHIBITIONS
Amsterdam Light Festival
What better way to find your way through December’s chilly fog, than by following an outdoor art route of light installations? Amsterdam Light Festival returns to the city’s historic waterways with exceptional artworks by acclaimed international artists and design studios illuminating the canals. These pieces can undoubtedly be enjoyed on foot by downloading a walking map for your phone, or you can take the 75-minute canal cruise tour. Here’s our round-up of must-see pieces from this year’s edition, which takes the theme of ‘Imagine Beyond’.
Amsterdam Light Festival | Thursday 1 December - 22 January
This winter, The NDSM Wharf Foundation are launching three new light artworks dotted around the disused shipyard buildings. The idea is that these works will literally (and figuratively) illuminate under-exposed subjects in the public space. Artist belit sağ, for instance, gives a voice to Turkish female migrant workers working on and around NDSM, whilst Romain Tardy explores the online googling behaviour of the Dutch population.
Discover more galleries and art spaces at NDSM.
NDSM Light | Thursday 1 - Sunday 4 December | NDSM Wharf
Also check out our seasonal exhibition guide for your next arty fix.
MUSIC & PERFORMANCE
Pianoduo FestivalFour hands are better than two? And eight hands are better than four? The diverse programming of the Pianoduo Festival invites talents from across the world to tinker away at the keys across iconic city locations. This year’s edition closes with a world premiere of Bach's rarely-heard live Concerto for four pianos and string orchestra and a performance of Ravel's Bolero on four pianos.
Pianoduo Festival | Thursday 1 December - Sunday 4 December | various locations
Orange Theatre Company - A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas and is not generous to anyone, not even to himself! Sound familiar? Remind yourself why it's important not to be a Christmas grump with this spirited rendition of Charles Dickens's beloved story. The Orange Theatre Company puts a fresh twist on this cautionary festival tale. Get your tickets fast before you’re visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past!
Orange Theatre Company - A Christmas Carol | Friday 2 - Sunday 11 December | Het Amsterdams Theaterhuis
Wintervillage Stadshart Amstelveen
It's Christmas Market season and one of the first to open its doors on Saturday is the Wintervillage Stadshart Amstelveen. Soak up the festive atmosphere and aromas of mulled wine wafting through the air as you shop for gifts and perhaps even don a pair of ice skates. Have a read of our roundup of Christmas markets in and around Amsterdam for the full low down on where to shop this season.
Cute date alert! Slip and slide towards your loved ones in style as the iconic skating rink in front of the Rijksmuseum has officially opened its doors. With its twinkly lights, festive atmosphere and overexcited children intent on knocking you off your feet, ICE* Amsterdam is perhaps the most romantic spot in the city to make a fool of yourself. And if you want to ramp up the cringe factor, every Thursday and Saturday night (19:00 – 22:00), join the Silent Disco on Ice!
ICE* Amsterdam | open until 5 February | Museumplein
The Winter Wonder Walk
Explore the magical Musem Quarter on foot, encountering delicious bites, warming drinks and little surprises along the way. Starting at Cobra Café next to the ice rink on Museumplein, you’ll receive a free map which will take you past various culinary stops in the area. Prizes are on offer for anyone who can fill in their complete stamp card!
Winter Wonder Walk | Saturday 3 December, 14:00 - 17:00 | Museumplein
Don't forget to check our What's On agenda for more events.
FOOD & DRINK
If you’re somebody who - for the sake of colleagues or loved ones - is trying to get more into the festive spirit, then throw on an ugly reindeer sweater and drag yourself over to Boom Chicago’s pop up Christmas bar. With enough flashing lights, over-the-top decorations and potent cocktails, who knows? Maybe a miracle will happen!
Boom Chicago Miracle Bar | until 27 December | Rozengracht 117
Het Amsterdamse Winterterras
Exchange those sangria pitchers for mulled wine and your sunglasses for some stylish faux fur ear muffs, because the highly popular Terrassen Festival is returning in a new festive guise. Enjoy five weeks of great food and drinks, fringe programming, music and cosy dancefloors as Winterterras takes over the Gashouder building in Westerpark every Thursday to Sunday until early December.
Deus Cantina Speakeasy Sunday
Pair delicious food with jazzy sets during Speakeasy Sundays at Deus Cantina on the Herengracht. The lineup generally features a melting pot of genres including jazz, rock, ambient and everything in between - all courtesy of some of the most innovative local bands. Feast on delicious cocktails and Italian-inspired aperitivo snacks as you listen!
Lady Bird Fried Chicken
If you’re hungry for some New York-style Southern food, Lady Bird Fried Chicken will deliver artisanal fried chicken with proper crunch, hand-crafted cocktails, and even caviar. Grab some comfort fast food and enjoy the sounds of Motown, soul and hip-hop in this new joint in De Pijp.
Discover more places to eat and drink in this month’s New in Town guide.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…
Bicycle Film Festival
This curiously unique festival combines cycling-themed cinema, panel discussions, bike tours, live music and delicious food.
Bicycle Film Festival | Move Amsterdam | Friday 2 December - Sunday 4 December
Plant Swap Party - Aperitivo Edition
Exchange your plants as your slurp on delicious Italian aperitifs in the cosy botanical atmosphere of CuKi, a plant shop in Oud-West.
Plant Swap Party | CuKi | Saturday 3 3, 17:00 - 19:00
(Speelgoedruilmarkt) Toy Swap Market
Kids can trade in their unwanted toys for something new and exciting during this sustainably-minded initiative that doubles as a children’s party. Santa will also be in attendance on Saturday!
Speelgoedruilmarkt | Friday 2 - Saturday 3 December, 11:00 - 17:00 | The Passage of De Hallen