Christmas break - a time when most expats will fly out of the Netherlands to celebrate Christmas in their "home" country, but why not stay in the Leiden region? The area has a lot to offer in the winter months, and it would be a shame for you to miss it. Here are 6 reasons why you should stay and experience Christmas and New Years the Dutch way!
A FLOATING Christmas Market
The Leiden Christmas market isn’t only extremely cosy and beautiful, it’s also AFLOAT on the Rhine river! No wonder it won the award for best Christmas Market of Europe in 2016. Go ice skating, try traditional Dutch Christmas food, and shop for Christmas goodies.
Not One, but TWO Days of Christmas!
No, you didn’t misread that. In the Netherlands, there are two official days of Christmas. That means two Christmas dinners, two days of presents, and two days you can get away with wearing ugly Christmas sweaters!
Ice Skating on the Canals
When it gets cold enough, the canals in the Leiden region are safe to go ice skating! Whether you go as a morning workout or a fun family day, ice skating outdoors is really enjoyable. Don’t know how to ice skate? Don’t worry, not all Dutch people have the hang of it either.
The Dutch Have the Best New Year’s Food
During the winter months, you can find food trucks everywhere in the Leiden region, selling oliebollen and apple beignets. This deep-fried deliciousness will, without a doubt, be served along with champagne at every New Years party.
Source: NH Nieuws
Firework is Legal
When the clock strikes twelve, the Leiden area will be exploding with fireworks. *Pun intended* Not only can you watch, but you can also take part in setting off the colourful explosions yourself. You can legally buy fireworks in the three days leading up to New Years. Read the firework rules to make sure everybody is kept safe, don’t forget to wear protective eyewear, and most importantly – have FUN!
New Year’s Dive
Does diving into the sea at freezing temperatures sound appealing to you? Of course it does! On January 1st there are new year’s dives all over the Netherlands, with the most popular one being at Scheveningen beach, a small half hour away from Leiden. This has been a Dutch tradition since the 60’s, so get in touch with the Dutch and join them in this “refreshing” way to start the year.
Written by Kathelijn van der Ceelen