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Apollo Hotel IJmuiden Seaport Beach (dichtbij strand) - Tosti, salade en bloody mary
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Tips for New Year's Day in Amsterdam

When you roll out of bed on 1 January 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 to do and spectacular sights to explore. Here's our roundup of ways to start the very first day of the new year right, filling up on food, drinks, culture and fun.

Wash away your sins

January 1, 2019, Zandvoort, North Holland, the Netherlands. Traditional Dutch New Year's diving in the sea. People gather on the beach and all run to swim in the sea.
Image from Vitalinka

Shake off your hangover with a bracing dive. Join around 100 Amsterdammers during the Nieuwjaarsduik (New Year's Swim) in IJburg, at the Sloterplas Lake in Amsterdam’s West and other locations, including on the beach at Zandvoort. 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. Several towns and villages scattered around the region organise polar bear plunges (essentially very cold swimming). Check out the full schedule here: Nieuwjaarsduik.

Dance into the new year

People dancing under the red laserlights.
Image from Kirsten van Santen

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 lineup of heavy-hitting talent that includes the likes of Job Jobse and Roi Perez – names that will help set the perfect tone for the coming year.

Go for a walk

A couple is walking on a sunny day in the winter at the Zaanse Schans.
Image from Pauline Arkesteijn

Walk it off. Many locals enjoy strolling through the city and seeing the streets through fresh eyes courtesy of the new year. The fireworks shells and empty bottles are usually swept up quite quickly, but the energy of the celebration lingers. If you fancy getting off the beaten path, why not head out into the Amsterdam Area for some sweeping vistas and nature areas

Visit a museum

Three women gathered around Rembrandt's Nachtwacht (Nightwatch) painting in the Rijksmuseum.
Image from Koen Smilde

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 RijksmuseumVan Gogh MuseumStedelijk Museum and Rembrandt House Museum. Get inspired by the Dutch masters and bring an extra splash of culture into the year.   

Catch a classical concert

Grote Zaal Koninklijk concertgebouw
Image from Eduardus Lee

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. 

Delve into a hearty brunch

Podium Mozaiek restaurant food
Image from Winnie Verswijvel

If you aren’t still full from all the oliebollen 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.

Marvel at the lights

Amsterdam Light Festival ALF 2023 Open Boat Tour canal cruise with Stromma
Image from Stromma

There's no better moment to experience the Amsterdam Light Festival as dozens of illuminated artworks adorn the canals. The fresh year will look all the more sparkly when set to the backdrop of ancient waterways and twinkling lights. Here's our round-up of the best ways to experience the festival from the water.

Brave the shops

Lights in the winter at Christmas in the PC Hooftstraat shopping street
Image from Koen Smilde

Though many stores are closed, quite a few independent boutiques 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

Image from Martin Kuijper

If this all seems 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 on New Year’s Day - but do check their websites for specific opening times as the big day nears.

Get your skates on

Jaap Eden Baan people ice skating
Image from Jaap Eden Baan

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 colossal outdoor rink at the Jaap Edenbaan is typically open, or have a read of this guide to skating rinks in the city for more.