Awakenings New Year special Amsterdam

There are hundreds of parties and club nights taking place in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve, from elegant black tie affairs to behemoth warehouse raves. Popular places to dance your way into the new year are the annual Awakenings bash at Gashouder and Ratatouille’s mini winter festival. You can find plenty more New year’s Eve parties in our NYE event guide, but don’t hang around – tickets for New Year’s Eve parties in Amsterdam tend to sell out early.

Feast on oliebollen and Champagne

No Dutch New year’s Eve celebration would be complete without piles of these deep fried dough balls, and a good supply of Champagne to wash them down with. Eating oliebollen (oily balls) at midnight is one of the most widespread New Year’s Eve traditions in the Netherlands, which has its roots in an ancient Germanic myth in which oliebollen are consumed to ward off evil spirits. Like we need an excuse. You’ll find them sold at street vendors throughout the city, but do be prepared for a bit of a queue on New Year’s Eve.

Book a restaurant with a view

Madam Amsterdam copyright Dennis Bouman

The fireworks in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve really are something else, and to really appreciate the full spectacle it’s best to find somewhere high up to view them from. Many Amsterdammers will retreat to a house-with-a-roof-terrace party, but if you don’t happen to know many locals then a bar or restaurant with panoramic views will work just as well. Restaurants and bars like Mr Porter at the W Hotel, Moon or Madam in the A’Dam Tower, Canvas at the Volkshotel or the Sky Lounge at the Hilton Doubletree  will all make for a memorable New Year’s Eve – though they are likely to book up early.

Wander the canals (carefully!)

Herengracht NYE fireworks

If you’ve left it too late to get into a sky high restaurant or bar, (and you’re feeling brave) then you could go to ground with the locals and soak up the madness that ensues around the city’s streets and canals. With fireworks only on sale for a few days a year in the Netherlands the locals can get a little bit gung-ho with their DIY displays on New Year’s Eve, and as soon as it goes dark you’ll find fireworks being let off on every bridge and open space. You'll find unofficial street parties at the city’s main squares such as Dam SquareRembrandtpleinNieuwmarkt and Leidseplein, where crowds of vistors and locals gather to ring in the new year with beer tents, music and fireworks. It’s known to get a little bit rowdy (especially at Dam Square) so a little bit of patience and a smile will go a long way. New Year's Eve in Amsterdam is frequently likened to a 'warzone' by unsuspecting visitors and accidents do occur - so proceed with caution!

Join the New Year’s Dip on 1 January

Now in its 60th year, the New Year’s Dip attracts brave swimmers from all around to begin the new year with an icy dip in the North Sea at a range of coastal locations in the Netherlands. One of the biggest celebrations take place at Zandvoort aan Zee, just half an hour west of Amsterdam, where thousands of revellers gather to strip off and run into the water together. Even if you’re not brave enough to make a splash, you can enjoy the party atmosphere from dry land with a hot mug of pea soup.

Ready to celebrate? Find the best New Year’s Eve parties in Amsterdam