Amsterdam consistently ranks as one of the best places to usher in the New Year. The already laid back atmosphere of this chilled, friendly city gets even more relaxed as revelers take to the street for some serious merrymaking. For the Dutch, it’s about putting to bed the old year and celebrating the arrival of the new year. They call it Oud en Nieuw “Old and New” and it’s an unforgettable NYE experience.
Americans tend to think that everything we do is bigger and better than our friends across the Atlantic. Alas, not so…this party is one giant, noisy, epic exception.
Getting to Amsterdam is Easy – No Excuses!
Booking a trip to this cultural and party mecca for NYE is real easy with EF College Break – almost as easy as Jean-Claude Van Damme makes building an ice bar look. Yes, it was that easy for him despite the constricting presence of a full denim outfit and no modern tools.
Why Amsterdam? Public Parties in Public Places
The parties here are out in the street and everyone is invited.
Top places to visit, include:
- Museumplein – The National New Year’s Eve party, organized fireworks and top musical talent. This is Holland’s Times Square.
- Dam Square – The home of beer tents and live music, this square consistently rates as one of the cities largest NYE gatherings.
- Nieuwmarkt – Amsterdam’s Chinatown. You’ll be dodging fireworks with your champagne bottle as you wander around one of the wilder public parties.
If public places aren’t your scene – restaurants, clubs and upscale bars will require some week before-you-go planning as tickets are sold in advance. The city is bursting with visitors – so much so, that public transportation grinds to halt as the streets are full of merrymakers walking everywhere, usually the last buses and trams run at 8pm and don’t resume until things start quieting down in the wee hours.
Fireworks are a big part of the celebration. The one real Dutch resolution every NYE is to spend as much on fireworks as can be afforded. Typically, the city designates “launch zones” and allows for a fireworks-free-for-all between 6pm and 2am.
Here’s one of our favorite Amsterdam New Years’ videos, shot from a hotel balcony. The smoke show starts at 00:30.
Eat, Drink and Resolve Later!
Gorge yourself on the oliebollen (sugary donuts) and appelflappen (applefritters). Your diet can wait till tomorrow and these tasty treats are available at stands across the city.
The Day After
New Year’s day is a day of new beginnings. Wake up your system with a caffeinated beverage and a walk along the canals as you plot your resolutions or rent a bike for a soothing, rejuvenating ride around the near perfectly flat city.
Who to Go With
If you travel with EF College Break on our December 28 departure (2015), you’ll be heading out to Paris on the morning of January 1 to start your new year right. If you are on our December 29 departure you’ve got one more free day to explore Amsterdam before boarding the train for Paris. For 2016 & 2017 departures to Amsterdam, explore our trips.