There’s plenty happening in Rotterdam this December, from the traditional Sinterklaas celebrations to winter dance festivals, as well as Christmas ice skating and firework celebrations. Find out what’s happening this month in Rotterdam here.
December in Rotterdam
December in Rotterdam is a month to celebrate; with Sinterklaas, Christmas and a spectacular New Year’s Eve firework display all providing plenty of festive cheer. The city is illuminated as Coolsingel shopping street is lit with decorations from Hofplein to Westblaak, and a large Christmas tree is featured in front of the City Hall. Come and visit to enjoy our traditional Dutch festivities!
There’s also plenty of live music, dance and art exhibitions, along with ice skating and the Christmas Circus Ahoy – the oldest in the Netherlands. Enjoy some traditional food at the fresh produce market; the iconic Markthal. There’s a choice of 96 stalls and 20 shops and restaurants for some festive food and drinks, or one of the Christmas markets around town for some warm wine and traditional Dutch pea soup.
Traditional Sinterklaas Celebrations and Sinterklaasavond
Sinterklaas is the Dutch versions of Santa Claus (in a red cape and with a white beard); a figure of folklore based on Saint Nicholas who arrives from Spain mid November to visit the children. On Saint Nicholas’ Eve (5th December), he gives out gifts to the children. Instead of reindeer he rides a white horse called Amerigo and has a bishop’s outfit and staff, as well as a book which tells him which children have been good and naughty! He is accompanied by Zwarte Piet his companion and he gives out sweets to the good children and carries some branches to punish the bad ones! The big celebration takes place on 5th December where you can expect to receive your presents if you have been good!
Christmas Markets & Ice skating
There are plenty of Christmas Markets in Rotterdam where you can buy festive products and enjoy gluhwein. Around town there are smaller Scandinavian style Christmas Markets and the iconic Market Hall will of course also be transformed into Christmas style. For the largest market in the Netherlands you can hop on the waterbus to Dordrecht, the oldest city in the Netherlands. And last but not least there’s also the Swan Market, the vintage lifestyle market of Rotterdam and surroundings. Not a real Christmas market, but a very nice alternative!
One of the highlights this December is the new Iceskating rank in the Park at the Euromast (IJsvrij Park Festival)! From Friday, December 8, you can slide into the weekend on Christmas tunes, sing-alongs, Rotterdam chansons and other request songs during silent disco on ice!! Enjoy a winter BBQ from ROFFA streetfood bar, top it off with some gluhwein tasting on the heated pavilion while you watch the hilarity of skating people on the ice skating rank. All of this on the most perfect and spectacular location of Rotterdam; the Park at Euromast!
Music Performances & festivals
Festivals are only for the Summer? Not in Rotterdam! Music venues, theaters and event locations offer tons of fun winter festivals and events, so no need to be left out in the cold!
Following 3 succesful summer editions, Blijdorp Winter Festival presents their winter party paradise on Saturday the 2nd of December. Expect stages with house, techno, hiphop, art and food stands in the iconic and Unesco building: van Nelle Factory.
Also not to be missed is the Vrije Volk Indoor Festival on the 26th of December. This open-minded summer festival introduces an indoor Christmas edition! Expect Christmas with a twist, on the edge and sometimes slightly over it!
Also in ROOM hostel Rotterdam there are lots of music events happening. December kicks off with a free gig of Alexandra Alden on December 2nd. On the 10th of December there’s the ROOM Vocalsz Pre Christmas edition taking place. And finally on the 29th of December it’s time again for ROOM’s Open Mic!
Art & Photography Exhibitions
Rotterdam is known for its international exhibitions and this December you can catch Belgian artist Paul Delvaux, at the Kunsthal, find out more here.
The Nederland Foto Museum is always cool to visit. Especially because it’s located on Manhattan at the Maas. For the ultimate Rotterdam experience take a watertaxi to get there. Have lunch in Fenix Food Factory or Hotel New York afterwards!
Don’t miss the Change the System exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, one of the oldest and nicest museums in the Netherlands. Until the 14th of January the museum will be transformed into a lab for social design contributing to the saving of the planet! By participating visitors become active in changing the system. There are several installations and projects which made us think about topics as pollution, scarcity and the political system. Oh, and take your dirty laundry with you too. This allows you to participate in a social experiment about human encounters. And as a bonus you still go home with your clean laundry!!
Happy New Year 2018!
Finishing the year is the annual firework display at the iconic Erasmus Bridge for New Year’s Eve. There are also live music performances to see out 2017 and free Dutch traditional snack, ‘Oliebollen’. After the countdown to 2018 you can hit one of the parties in town; for something really wild check out the Nachtduik at Ahoy with Nina Kraviz and Speedy J. Happy New Year from everyone at Room Rotterdam!
Where to stay in Rotterdam?
Well.. that’s pretty easy: Hostel ROOM! This hostel will provide you the best genuine backpacker experience in town. Local tips from the staff, weekly music live concerts and other activities make this hostel the best choice in Rotterdam.