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No plans for the weekend?
For a whopping month and a half Valkenburg, a small city in the hilly south, hosts multiple grand Christmas activities.
The multiple underground Christmas markets in the gorgeous caves of the Cauberg are without a doubt the main attraction of the Christmas City. The merchandise is not the most diverse, but their setting is unique in the Netherlands.
The most popular ones are the the Municipal and Velvet Cave. The newest addition to the Christmas market caves is Mergelrijk, where you can find brittle marlstone all around you.
Other activities include Santa’s Village, which is the main market above ground, the Christmas Parade, the delicious Route d’Amuse and Magic Sand, a collection of breath-taking sand sculptures.
The Christmas market in the Velvet Cave is more than just a Christmas market. A visit here immerses you in a wonderful Christmas atmosphere you can find nowhere else: iconic underground ambiance, a fairy-tale decor, and, of course, stall after stall of Christmas and gift items, from rustic to luxurious. In short, a great experience, with something for everyone. And all the while, the cave’s atmosphere, with its striking wall paintings and sculptures, brings the Christmas spirit and the old, nigh-forgotten Valkenburg legends to life.
For opening hours and entrance fees have a look here
The postcard-perfect city of Haarlem hosts a traditional Christmas market at the central Grote Markt (big market), a picturesque square overlooked by the impressive Grote Kerk.
You’ll find lots of shopping opportunities for Christmas art, fashion & design, festive food and decorations – plus live choirs providing a festive soundtrack. It all takes place over the weekend of 7-8 December.
Opening hours Christmas Market
Saturday the 7th of December from 10:00 to 21:00
Sunday the 8th of December from 11:00 to 19:00
Archeon Midwinter Fair, 7 & 8 December
For those who’d like to do something special this winter, which doesn’t necessarily follow the classic Christmas aesthetic, there is the Midwinter Fair, a charming fantasy event at Archeon.
The indoor market is filled with interesting stalls, and the outdoor terrain contains all kinds of tents with traditional tradesmen selling their unique items. Warm yourself by one of the fires, check out one of the interesting bands and grab a bite after shopping. There will also be various fun shows to admire, as well as trade demonstrations and medieval fights.
Entrance is a 24,90 Euro, however, if you have a museum card it is only 6 Euro.
Christmas at Keukenhof Castle
When the weather gets cold and you’re looking for that holiday cheer, search no further than Christmas at Keukenhof Castle!
Each year Keukenhof Castle puts on a magnificent Christmas display that is reason enough to pay a visit during the tulip low season.
Lined with ornaments, magnificent lights and beautiful holiday decorations, the Keukenhof Castle becomes something of a fantasy land.
It only happens once a year, so make the most of the holidays at Christmas at Keukenhof!
The castle will be open from 11 Dec until 5 Jan. Entrance and parking is free.
The historical city centre of Gouda will be celebrating its 64th edition of Gouda by Candlelight, an event with over 80 programmed activities. Every year, the occasion is visited by around 20.000 people from the Netherlands and abroad.
The gooseherd and shepherd will bring their animals into town and join a living nativity scene as the beautiful churches present free concerts, and gorgeous decorations brighten up the street.
Galleries and museums will be open and freely accessible all day. In the town centre you can take a city walk with, or without a guide.
The shops will all be open and up to 50 restaurants will prepare special menus to contribute to that extra special feeling on the day.
Illuminating the night
At sundown electric lights will be turned off, and only candles will be lit to illuminate the night in the city centre.
The day’s highlight takes place between 6.30pm and 8pm, when everybody gathers at the square by the medieval City Hall.
The lights in the enormous Christmas tree will be lit as everyone joins in and sings Christmas songs, accompanied by a professional gospel choir.
On June 5-7 the largest steam power event in Europe will be held for the 19th time in Dordrecht, which is just south of Rotterdam.
Organisers expect 250,000 visitors at this celebration of stream. Admission to ‘Dordt in Steam’ is free, however, a day-ticket (‘Stoomrondje Dordt’) can be purchased for round trips on historic stream transport.
On Friday evening, Dordt in Steam will open with an impressive naval parade on the river.
Dordt in Steam is spread across two areas in the city which are linked with (steam)ships, steam trains and old-timer buses.
By purchasing a day-ticket for the ‘Stoomrondje Dordt’, the visitor will have access to the various forms of historic transport at the event. It also includes admission to the Model Building Show. The day-ticket is available at all departure points. Be aware that a round trip lasts at least three hours!
In the picturesque harbour area next to the Groothoofd, Kuipershaven, Wolwevershaven and the Merwekade, dozens of steam-powered ships, machines and vehicles will be on view.
Steamboats will be make round trips on the river. For children, miniature steam trains will also be operating. Various (steam)ships will also be open for visitors.
International participants will display model trains, miniature steam powered machinery and model ships in a large model building show. You can travel by steamtrain or steamboat to visit this great Model Builing Show.
Sidewalk cafes and live music will add to steamy atmosphere.