If you want to spend a New Year’s Eve of fun, among people, in a city that will remain in your heart, Amsterdam is a great destination. The city not only offers many opportunities to spend New Year’s Eve, but also various activities to do on the following festive days. Many museums are already open on 1 January.
To start your New Year’s Eve evening, you can start with dinner in one of the many restaurants offering special menus. The cuisines, of various ethnicities, will satisfy the tastes and also the budgets of all visitors. Your dinner will certainly not be without the traditional Dutch desserts: oliebollen, doughnuts covered in icing sugar, and appelflappen, apple fritters. All over the city you will also find kiosks offering these typical delicacies day and night.
The city centre is small and easy to get around on foot, allowing you to move freely among the many impromptu parties that usually spring up in the streets. Nieuwmarkt (Chinatown), Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are the most popular meeting points in the centre of Amsterdam and it is here that the best clubs organise New Year’s Eve events.
The parties on the square are open to everyone, while the clubs have fairly high entrance fees for the evening. Dam Square is regularly set up with beer stands and animated by live performances. On Museumplein is the national New Year’s Eve party, a televised event attended by thousands of Dutch and foreigners.
If you are looking for a more formal celebration, the Oosterdokis is the place to be: this is where the city’s official celebrations take place. The harbour district provides the backdrop for the fireworks display, which is organised here every year in Amsterdam. Many Dutch people then organise their ‘own’ fireworks show in various locations around the city.
The best restaurants to have New Year’s Eve dinner in Amsterdam are those in 4-5 star hotels because they offer a high quality menu and great views of the city. Many of these venues have a strict dress code: find out before you leave so you know what to pack in your suitcase.
Here are the three best restaurants for New Year’s Eve dinner in Amsterdam, recommended for those who want to treat themselves to a fabulous night out.
A young but classy setting is Canvas, a trendy restaurant located on the seventh floor of the Volkshotel, a somewhat anonymous building on the outside but very well cared for inside. Strong points? Affordable prices (though not cheap), excellent cocktails, panoramic windows and a terrace providing a splendid view of the fireworks.
A more glamorous setting is SkyLounge Amsterdam, the bar on the 11th floor of the Hilton Doubletree hotel. Fine snacks and drinks are served on this exclusive rooftop terrace; the entrance ticket for the evening of 31 December does not guarantee a seat.
If you prefer a full dinner from the comfort of your seat, you can eat at the hotel restaurant and then go up to the SkyLounge by purchasing a combination ticket.
For a unique experience, book a table at the Moon, the rotating restaurant located on the 19th floor of the A’DAM observation tower: the height and rotation guarantee an incredible 360° panoramic view that you can admire while enjoying the fine dishes of chefs Jaimie van Heije and Tommy den Hartog.
Amsterdam is a true nightlife capital, with clubs and discos to suit all tastes and budgets: you can choose to end the year and start a new one to the beat of techno, electronica, house, rock, indie, rap or any other music genre you can think of.
If you’re a party animal and want a great night out, here are the three best clubs to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam.
Awakenings in the Netherlands is synonymous with techno events at the highest level: each event involves more than 80 DJs from all over the world for a total of more than 100 hours of music. Amsterdam’s Awakenings NYE parties are a must for die-hard clubbers; they are usually held at the Gashouder, a giant club carved out of a former gasworks.
Berliner atmospheres await you at Shelter, an underground club in the literal sense: it is located in the basement of the A’DAM tower. Loud music, completely black walls and open until morning: heaven or hell, depending on your taste.
If megaclubs aren’t for you and you prefer a smaller venue with a party atmosphere, head to Belushi’s, a lively party bar in the red light district. It is popular with backpackers who stay in hostels and flock there in large groups, so we recommend it especially for younger people.
After finishing the year on a high you want to start the new one with sprint? Then there is nothing better for you than to take part in the quintessential Dutch New Year’s tradition: the New Year’s Dive on 1 January.
This chilling (cold!) tradition is celebrated on many Dutch beaches, but the one that draws the biggest crowds is in Zandvoort aan Zee, a town about half an hour from Amsterdam. Here, thousands of people gather on the morning of the first of January for the New Year’s Dive: get your clothes down and at the signal go! Everyone rushes to dive into the icy waters of the North Seas.
The experience is mind-blowing: the water temperature is freezing and there is no consolation of the sun to warm you up as soon as you get out of the water.
If you don’t feel reckless enough to try it – no one can blame you – it is still worth coming here to experience the festive atmosphere of a New Year’s Eve swim. You can watch from afar as the daredevils swim and splash in the water, huddled in your warm coat, and take fun photos.
Amsterdam is a very popular city for New Year’s Eve, an event that is also experienced with intense participation and unbridled merriment by its inhabitants, so it is a good idea to make all the necessary reservations well in advance.
First book your flight and accommodation in the city, then start thinking about how you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve and what you want to do in the days before and afterwards. Consider buying an Amsterdam Card, it will save you money on transport and entrance fees to attractions.
If you like to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a sumptuous dinner or if you simply don’t want to celebrate in the street for fear of the cold, plan ahead. Forget about arriving in Amsterdam and deciding on the same day where to eat: many restaurants are closed on the evening of 31 December, so the few that are open are always very crowded.
It is therefore important to choose the restaurant where you want to dine on New Year’s Eve before you leave and to book your table, preferably well in advance, so that you will be able to guarantee yourself a place in the restaurant that interests you.
A similar argument applies to clubs: on the evening of 31 December, many clubs and discos organise parties with pre-sale tickets online, which sell out quickly. In some cases, ticket prices increase closer to the date, so it is a good idea to hurry and buy them.
Plan things to do on other days, such as guided tours, museum visits, canal cruises: we recommend booking tickets in advance, especially for some popular attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. Buying tickets online allows you to skip the inevitable queues at the entrance (which can last several hours) and save a bit.
Amsterdam is also very attentive to the safety of its tourists; in fact, to contain and control the influx of visitors pouring into the streets on New Year’s Eve, first aid points are punctually set up in the most crowded places such as Dam Square, Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
On 31 December, shops and museums regularly close earlier than usual. Public transport stops around 8 o’clock in the evening; only a few special buses are guaranteed until midnight.
The final tip for those planning to spend New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam is to book a hotel well in advance and buy tickets in advance to attend a particular event. For example, tickets to enter clubs if purchased close to 31 December are charged considerably more.
Temperatures at this time of year are very cold. The cold can spoil the party, so those who choose to spend New Year’s Eve in the square should dress very warmly, wearing gloves, a scarf and hat, and woollen sweaters. Those who know they suffer from the cold should choose to spend New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam indoors.
To find out the real-time weather and forecast for the coming days, please visit the Amsterdam Weather page.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.