Just a few nights until Christmas Eve and I really feel the anticipation everywhere. During the last days I saw many beautifully decorated Christmas trees, delicious treats and cool gift ideas from all over the world. Since Dutch people always do things a little different than the rest of the world, we also have a different Christmas tradition.
The Christmas Man
Unlike in the US for instance, Christmas in Holland is not about Santa Claus and reindeer. In fact, we already celebrated ‘Sinterklaas’ (St. Nicholas Day) on December 5. This is the day where Dutch children get most excited about and where they receive the big presents. However, Santa Claus has found a way to edge into Dutch Christmas as Kerstman (The Christmas Man). Of course, kids are only too happy to accept two gift-giving old men.
Most of all, Christmas in Holland is about the ambiance. People buy Christmas trees and decorate them with Christmas wreath cookies, glass balls and white candles. The main square of every city has its own brightly lit Christmas tree and in the bigger cities there are lots of cool activities. Here some examples:
Maastricht is a great place to enjoy ‘the good life’ at any time of the year but it’s even more magical during the holiday season. During this period, several Christmas markets themed “Magical Maastricht” are held throughout the city.
During the Amsterdam Light Festival in December, the best light artists from Holland and abroad light up the city’s canals with their work. Every night you can see the beautiful works along the Amstel river or the old canals in the city centre.
This winter will see Zwolle’s city centre dominated by the Grimm brothers and their famous fairytales. Dozens of Dutch and international ice artists will be creating ice sculptures on the Rodetorenplein square, showing off their personal interpretation of the Grimm tales.
What will you do on Christmas?
Will you celebrate it traditionally with friends and family? Or do you have an alternative way to spend the holidays? I’d love to hear about it.