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Christmas lights at the Canal 2016
Image from Koen Smilde

Tips for New Year's Eve in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities in Europe in which to ring in the New Year, with a plethora of options for every kind of reveller. From raves to rooftops and fireworks to fizz, here are five ways to end the year with a bang.

Party into the new year  

Amsterdam Dance Event ADE 2015 Fireworks
Image from Darryl Adelaar

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 wait – 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 (see our list of the best oliebollen in Amsterdam), but do be prepared for a bit of a queue on New Year’s Eve.

Book a restaurant with a view

Zoku rooftop greenhouse terrace
Image from Ewout Huibers

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 ZokuMr 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 – remember book up early.

Take in the lights

Amsterdam Light Festival lights along the canal ALF
Image from Koen Smilde

If you’ve left it too late to get into a sky high restaurant or bar, (and you’re feeling brave) then you could 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 - proceed with caution! It's a beautiful (if busy) time of year to wander the canals, as the Amsterdam Light Festival remains in full swing until late January. 

Join the New Year’s Dip on 1 January

The New Year Swim 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 takes 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 for the New Year? See our tips for spending New Year's Day in Amsterdam