Spend Christmas in the Netherlands
By AdFeatures | Monday, January 07, 2013, 15:17
If you’re in the Midlands and want to visit a country this winter that really knows how to do Christmas then choose the Netherlands. You can experience all the thrills of a winter wonderland and have a fabulous break whether you’re travelling as a couple, a family or a group. Flybe offers regular flights to the Netherlands, including cheap flights from Birmingham airport, so getting there is very straightforward.
A Netherlands Christmas
Unlike in the UK, the Dutch start their Christmas on 6th December with a family celebration that marks the arrival of Sinterklaas, their Santa Claus. Dutch children are told that Sinterklaas sails from Spain on Dec 5th and fill their clogs with hay and sugar before leaving them outside for Sinterklaas. In the morning their shoes are filled with gifts.
Things to Do
Amsterdam really goes to town at Christmas, with a festival of lights that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The festival starts on 7th December when the city’s canals, bridges and public buildings are adorned with millions of coloured bulbs.
On December 15th you can enjoy the spectacle of brightly decorated boats and carol singing at the canal parade. On 21st December the amazing acrobats, clowns and showmen of the Ahoy Circus perform their annual Christmas show in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam is famous for its Christmas markets, the most popular of which is held between 21st and 24th December in a former post office in the city centre. Or hop on a waterbus and visit Dordrecht, which holds one of the biggest markets in the entire country. Other winter activities to enjoy include an indoor ice rink at the Winter Plaza and the Winterfair where you can watch Christmas fashion shows, learn about the latest yuletide decorating trends and generally get into the Christmas spirit.
If you’re planning a romantic break then The Hague is a great choice that combines everything which the city and the country have to offer. Take a romantic Christmas cruise along the canals or arrange an outdoor activity like sledging. If you celebrate New Year’s Eve in The Hague then make sure you join 10,000 Dutch people on January 1st and take the plunge into the freezing North Sea from Scheveningen Pier. The Christmas dive is a world famous tradition but definitely not an activity for the faint-hearted.
What to Eat
At many of the Christmas markets and events you’ll find street vendors selling all sorts of traditional Dutch food. Oliebollen is Holland’s answer to the doughnut and should definitely be sampled, along with the delicious appelflappen, which are apple and cinnamon fritters dusted in icing sugar. On December 25th Dutch families begin their Christmas day with a breakfast of kerststol, a version of fruit loaf. Most Dutch people don’t tuck into Turkey at Christmas dinner. Instead they favour gourmetten, where a grill is placed on the table and guests cook their own bite-sized pieces of game meats, fondue or roast pork.
So, if you’re looking for a completely different and unforgettable Christmas experience then book your cheap flights to the Netherlands and start planning your festive adventure.