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Taste the holiday spirit in Rotterdam: 15 fun activities during the Christmas holidays

By Kim Longwood
November 24, 2023

Are you looking for fun activities during the Christmas holidays in Rotterdam? Then you’ve come to the right place.

The holiday season is right around the corner and that means one thing… presents! Oh, and a lot of food, drinks and saying cheers. And vacation (or a couple of days off). And spending time with friends and family. Okay, more than one thing.

Actually, this period means a lot of things, including doing fun activities that ooze holiday spirit. Which of these 15 activities will you be doing during the Christmas vacation in Rotterdam?

 

1. Christmas Circus Ahoy

From December 25 to 31, you can watch an amazing circus show at the Christmas Circus Ahoy. With many spectacular acts for young and old: from sensational acrobatics to the hilarious clowns. In short, all the ingredients for an unforgettable show.

Every year, the Christmas Circus Ahoy receives top circus acts from all over the world. For example, in 2022 prize winners of the famous circus festival of Monte Carlo came to Rotterdam. Every year the most spectacular acts pass by: international artists with (aerial) acrobatics, the always comical clown, a cheerful dog show, modern BMX-ers and several top illusionists.

Find tickets for Christmas Circus Ahoy here 

Address

Ahoyweg 10, 3084 BA Rotterdam

 

2. Check de tentoonstelling ‘Ai Weiwei – In Search of Humanity’ in de Kunsthal

Gao Yuan, Ai Weiwei (2012) © Courtesy of the artist and Ai Weiwei Studio, photo Gao Yuan

Full of pride, Kunsthal Rotterdam presents the large-scale exhibition of one of the leading artists of the moment, human rights activist and critic of authoritarian systems of power: Ai Weiwei.

‘In Search of Humanity’ is his most complete retrospective to date. The exhibition offers an impressive overview of Ai Weiwei’s more than four decades of career, featuring paintings, cultural readymades, LEGO works, sculptures, installations, photography and video art. It includes important works from all of his creative phases.

The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 30, 2023 through March 3, 2024. Tickets can be purchased through the Kunsthal’s website. In addition to “In Search of Humanity,” Refik Anadol will also be on display at the Kunsthal and several fun activities will be organized during the Christmas vacations!

Refik Anadol – Foto Marco De Swart

 

Museum day? Check these museums in Rotterdam.

Address

Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA Rotterdam

 

3. Harvest some food and drinks at the Christmas market in Rotterdam Noord

De Rotterdamse Oogstmarkt is known by many. It is a weekly returning specialty market on the Noordplein in Rotterdam Noord. On Saturday the 16th and Saturday the 23th of December, the Oogstmarkt will be decked in Christmas spirit, so it’s the perfect occasion for a shopping trip during the Christmas holidays.

Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve snacks have never been this tasty!

Be sure to read this article about more cosy Christmas markets in Rotterdam.

Address

Noordplein, Rotterdam

 

4. Cut some ice at Schaatsbaan Rotterdam

Wij kunnen niks bedenken wat meer past bij een winter must-do lijst dan een bezoekje aan een schaatsbaan! Chocolademelk, Glühwein, een Unox broodje en ingepakt in een dikke jas. Dat is het échte wintergevoel!

Do you enjoy riding classic ice skates? Or would you rather slide over the ice on ice hockey skates? Both are possible!

The Skating Rink Rotterdam at the Kralingse Zoom has reopened. Here you and your friends or relatives will have a great time during the Christmas holidays.

The Skating Rink in Rotterdam is even open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day! A super fun activity after Christmas breakfast or before Christmas dinner.

Also nice: various events are organized, such as the Silent Disco Skating and the Santa Skate. Take a look at their calendar.

Address

Toepad 95, 3063 NJ Rotterdam

 

5. Score Christmas presents and more at De Bijenkorf

De Bijenkorf is still the favourite department store of many Rotterdammers. The festivity of the building is radiant, especially during the winter months. For example: the exuberant collection of lights and the luxurious shop windows.

The Christmas department is open until Friday the 24th of December, but you are also in the right place for a shopping session after that. Because we want to look good during the shimmer of fireworks and the striking of the clock on December 31st, right?

Discover even more nice gift shops in Rotterdam.

Address

Coolsingel 105, 3012 AG Rotterdam

 

6. Drink hot chocolate at Chocolate Company Café

There is no better place to quickly pop in for a hot cup of chocolate than this chocolate spot in the heart of the city centre: Chocolate Company Café.

Are you gonna sit inside to warm up your icy fingers? Then you should order one of the Luxury Xmas chocolate creations, such as a Christmas tree with coloured sprinkles or a dark tree (vegan). Double up on your chocolate intake, it’s allowed!

Or enjoy a High Choc, where you can enjoy chocolate milk and a chocolate fondue to dip your strawberries and cookies in.

But of course, a cup of boiling hot cocoa is also delicious on the go. You know… to warm up whilst shopping.

Discover more spots for a hot brew, for instance during a high tea in Rotterdam!

Address

Oude Binnenweg 109A, 3012 JB Rotterdam

 

7. Watch a movie in the private cinema of Hotel New York

This is a very special thing to do during the Christmas holidays in Rotterdam! From 14 December it is possible to have an unforgettable experience in the stylishly decorated two-person cinema. In collaboration with The(Any)Thing, Hotel New York has transformed one of its rooms into Rotterdam’s first On Demand private film experience.

You have everything you need while watching a movie. The concept offers the possibility to watch the film you want, when you want and with whom you want. This experience also offers you the luxury of determining the settings for temperature, volume and light in the room and you can pause the film at any time.

Read more about this private cinema in Hotel New York.

Address

Koninginnenhoofd 1, 3072 AD Rotterdam

 

8. Enjoy a festive Christmas dinner at your restaurant

It’s wonderful not to spend whole days in the kitchen yourself during Christmas, isn’t it? Come on, treat yourself! Celebrate Christmas outside the door and be surprised by the festive Christmas menus from the best restaurants in town.

Discover all restaurants in Rotterdam where you can have a Christmas dinner

 

9. Go up high with the renewed Euroscoop

The Euroscoop of the Euromast has been renewed! As you are taken on this exciting ride, you will see the city and its surroundings from all sides. But that’s not all: the brand new, intelligent glass floor goes from matt to transparent. This makes the experience extra special.

We have already taken a ride with the new Euroscoop. Check out our TikTok to see what it was like!

TIP: Get your ticket for the Euromast. The ticket price is higher if you buy entrance tickets on the day of your visit. Don’t forget to click on the option of the Euroscoop tickets!

Address

Parkhaven 20, 3016 GM Rotterdam

 

10. Visit Cinerama or another movie house

The cold is a good reason to visit one of the local cinemas in Rotterdam! In the city you will find nice movie houses such as Lantaren Venster, KINO and Cinerama. The latter is shown above.

Of course there is also the option to go to Pathé and check out the latest blockbusters. But the smaller cinemas always remain just that little bit more atmospheric and certainly fit better with the Christmas holidays. Do you agree?

 

11. Visit Depot Boijmans van Beuningen

Everyone should see the big shiny coffee cup in Museumpark! It is already an icon in our city because of its reflective exterior and special architecture.

Fun fact: Depot Boijmans van Beuningen is the very first art depot in the world that is actually accessible to the public. Walk around and admire between 151,000 art objects and watch the conservation and restoration of art.

In addition, visitors and residents can go to the freely accessible roof garden with restaurant to enjoy the view over Rotterdam.

Address

Museumpark 24, 3015 CX Rotterdam

 

12. Take an Audiovisual journey in Remastered

Haven’t been to the Remastered Experience yet?! Then the Christmas holidays are the ideal time. In this attraction you will be taken on an audiovisual journey for an hour and you will become one with the art.

Walk under a waterfall, go on an adventure with the unearthly creatures of Hieronymus Bosch, learn to travel in time and surround yourself with the paintings of Old Dutch Masters such as Van Gogh and Mondrian. Each time you enter a new world and you don’t know what to expect.

Read more about this unique attraction in the city here. Buy your ticket in advance via this link.

Address

 

13. Visit Miniworld Rotterdam with (or without) kids

Do you want to do fun activities with kids during the Christmas holidays? Fortunately, there are plenty of fun things to do for kids in Rotterdam.

One fun attraction to go to is Miniworld Rotterdam. It is a covered miniature world of Rotterdam. Here the kids discover the world in miniature, a unique way to get to know the metropolis of Rotterdam better!

Expect more than 650 square metres of Rotterdam polder landscapes, modern and historic architecture and, of course, the Port of Europe. Everything is surprisingly detailed. Really a top place for a family outing in Rotterdam during the Christmas holidays!

TIP: already purchase your tickets for Miniworld Rotterdam!

Address

Weena 745, 3013 AL Rotterdam

 

14. Eat oliebollen from oliebollenkraam Richard Visser

The best oliebollenkraam of The Netherlands, with loads of prizes, is located in Rotterdam West. Richard Visser has been awarded the title of the best oliebollenbakker in the country nine times. Not only neighbours, but Rotterdammers from all over the city come to this stall every year to score oliebollen.

Have you never eaten a ‘Richard Visser oliebol’? You should (almost) be ashamed of yourself… go on, make your way to this oliebollenkraam.

Address

Heemraadssingel 1, 3022 CG Rotterdam

 

15. Take a day trip

De Passage in Den Haag. Foto door @marionro.cks.

Rotterdam is a great city, but sometimes it is nice to take a break and explore other places. A big plus: you don’t have to travel far to explore other beautiful places.

For example, visit The Hague, the third largest city after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, as well as the administrative and royal capital of the Netherlands.

The city has many beautiful buildings that you can discover during your visit and you can enjoy shopping and delicious food. In The Hague, for example, you have the De Passage, strongly inspired by Parisian galleries, a fine example with its arcades and glass domes.

Travelling to The Hague from Rotterdam is easy, because you can take the metro (line E) or the train to The Hague. Discover more great places near Rotterdam.

 

Hopefully you have gained enough inspiration from this article to make your Christmas vacation in Rotterdam a smashing success full of fun activities. Have fun and happy holidays.

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