In The Netherlands Christmas is celebrated in a grand way. As we know this festival commemorates the birth of Christ, in this country, this festival is celebrated over two days, Eerste Kerstdag or first Christmas day on the 25th of December and Tweede Kerstdag or second Christmas day on the 26th of December. Christmas in Amsterdam or other cities and towns in the Netherlands is not about Santa Claus or the reindeers. They celebrate St. Nicholas Day or Sinterklaas, from where the idea of Santa has stemmed, on the 5th of December. Also, the gifts are exchanged on that very day.
In The Netherlands, Christmas is all about how things are set up and how the ambience is created. Dutch people buy Christmas trees and decorate them with gilded nuts, kerstkransjes or ‘Christmas Wreath Cookies’, glass balls, frosted bells, glittery pine cones, ribbons, and red and white candles. Many also put up Advent star lights surrounding their windows. The entire city is decked up and decorated beautifully. Stalls sell donuts, appelflappen and oliebollen on the street. So, basically the atmosphere is beautiful during the Yuletide season in Amsterdam.
People in Amsterdam spend time with their families. On the 25th families stay together and go to mass together. Some families even attend midnight mass together on Christmas Eve. However, most people in the Netherlands are not religious at all, so they spend time relaxing at home.
They stay at home and eat themselves silly. For breakfast, which usually proceeds to brunch, they eat a fruited Christmas loaf called kerststol with butter, smoked salmon, fancy bread rolls, pates, etc. The Christmas dinner is usually lavish for most and includes yummy dishes like, roast pork, game meats, fondues or gourmetten. The gourmetten is a typically Dutch Christmas specialty. Unlike most countries abroad, turkey isn’t prepared on Christmas. On Second Day, people spend time with their family, visiting relatives, going ice-skating and enjoying leftovers.
• Fruited Christmas loaf or Kerststol
• Christmas wreath cookies or Kerstkransjes
• A wreath shaped pastry filled with almond pasted and decorated with glace fruits called Kerstkrans
• A fragrant Christmas cookie called Jan Hagel cookies
• Pastry logs filled with sweet almond paste called Banketstaaf or banketletters
• Spiced cookies or Speculaas
• Festive sweet bread called Duivekater
• Marzipan and
This is the essence of Christmas in Amsterdam or any other city or town in the Netherlands.