New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam

Oud en Nieuw (Old and New) is the Dutch equivalent for New Year’s Eve. Many Dutch people celebrate at home together with friends and family. There are street parties all over Amsterdam and the national countdown is at Oosterdok followed by a spectacular firework show. Clubs and cafés throughout the city organize a wide variety of New Year’s Eve parties. Hotspots to celebrate the New Year are Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Plan ahead if you want to dine out, most restaurants take reservations.

New Year’s Eve Preparations

The 31st December or Oudejaarsdag (Old Year’s Day) is a busy day for young and old. Fathers prepare oliebollen, Dutch type raisin and apple filled dumplings. Mothers queue in shops and buy ingredients for the New Year’s Eve cold buffet. Older children can’t wait until it is 6 pm because setting off fireworks is allowed between 18.00 and 02.00 although quite a few cities and town have areas where private fireworks are banned. Instead the municipality puts on a magnificent firework show.

What the Dutch Do on New Year’s Eve

Dutch Oud en Nieuw is not complete without oliebollen, champagne and the Oudejaarsconferentie on TV when one of the leading comedians reviews the year in a light-hearted way. At midnight church bells are ringing, champagne corks pop and people spill out on to the streets in front of their houses. Fireworks spark off and Christmas trees are set fire to. These spontaneous bonfires are not allowed but tolerated. Street parties continue after the fireworks as long as the weather permits.

 

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show in Amsterdam

Against the back drop of the Scheepvaartmuseum and the (replica) cargo ship of the Dutch East India Company the countdown begins followed by a spectacular fireworks show at Oosterdok. The best place to watch the show is from Magere Brug and the the Amstel River.

New Year’s Day for the Dutch

New year’s Day starts with an oliebollen breakfast and left-overs of the buffet meal. Slouched in a chair in front of the TV, many people watch first the New Year Concert in Vienna and afterwards ski-jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This is the regular thing to do on 1 January apart from visiting family and friends.

 

New Year’s Day for Tourists in Amsterdam

Start the New Year relaxed, go on a canal cruise, go for a refreshing walk in Vondelpark or go on a bajabikes guided cycling trip through the centrum of Amsterdam. If you are craving for some culture, the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandthuis, Anne Frank Museum and quite a few more museums are open on New Year’s Day. photos: pigpen @flickr and katielips @flickr

Oosterdok