After three long years, we finally returned to Amsterdam. The last time we visited was on a hot summer day and we were extremely uncomfortable. The only highlight of that trip was getting up for sunrise on the second day. Amsterdam was exceptionally quiet and slow to wake up. I still remember how the sun rose from the fog over the canals. Since then, I had been daydreaming about visiting Amsterdam during autumn. The idea of seeing it in its autumn attire still appeals to me. And then Grégory found an exhibition that interested him and we impulsively bought train tickets. I never imagined visiting Amsterdam in December, let alone right before Christmas!

The gingerbread houses of Amsterdam in December

I had been dreading the possible cold but there was no need. Mild weather awaited us, which was perfect for walking through the city. Visiting Amsterdam in December turned out to be better than expected. And best of all, we completely avoided the rain. It rained before our arrival and when we boarded the train to go back home. And luckily enough, while we were inside a museum. It was as perfect as it gets for December. We revisited certain canals and streets we loved three years ago, but for the most part, we were discovering new corners of Amsterdam. Because Amsterdam has so many canals, I feel like you can explore it forever and discover new areas.

The gingerbread houses of Amsterdam in December

The first thing we did was stop at De Koffieschenkerij for hot drinks before continuing on. The café is actually inside a 15th-century sacristy and it is stunning! Afterward, we decided to visit the Rembrandt House Museum at the opening time. That turned out to be a good idea since it got crowded soon after. It was an interesting museum, vertical and narrow, full of intriguing rooms. By the time we finished, it was time for lunch. We walked over to De Laatste Kruimel, which is very tiny and very popular. So we sat down by the canals and enjoyed our delicious sandwiches. Soon after we checked in our Airbnb and relaxed for a short while before returning to the center.

By this point, there was an hour or two left until dusk so we wandered through the city. To make Grégory happy, we visited the newly opened LEGO store, which was quite a lot of fun. As the night fell, Amsterdam looked lovely in its Christmas attire. So we strolled around until we got hungry. While we tried to find a restaurant, everything seemed completely full so we opted for a calm night in our room instead. We still had plenty of time left tomorrow.

A view of the houses of Amsterdam in December

We woke up to hear the rain pouring outside. Luckily enough, we had the kindest Airbnb hosts who left us two umbrellas at our disposal. Once we reached the Van Gogh museum, we relaxed and started our visit. Needless to say, finally seeing Van Gogh’s paintings in person was indescribable. I lingered about the museum and kept coming back to certain paintings. For me, this was the pinnacle of our trip. Right across from the Van Gogh museum was the Stedelijk Museum, our next stop. At that point, we had spent four hours walking around museums and were exhausted. So we went over to Thrill Burger for delicious falafel burgers and truffle parmesan fries.

We spent our last few hours in Amsterdam strolling around the city. Since we ticked everything off our list, we took the earlier train back home. It was Christmas Eve and the trains couldn’t have been more full. Luckily, we found a spot and enjoyed our Harry Potter books for the next three hours. Overall, this might have been the oddest Christmas Eve in my life. It didn’t really feel Christmassy and the trip made me focus on other things. But we thoroughly enjoyed it and already started talking about coming back.

A sunset over the canals of Amsterdam in December
The streets of Amsterdam in December

All in all, visiting Amsterdam in December turned out to be a great decision. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to squeeze in Rijksmuseum. Three museums in two days during cold weather made for a rather tight schedule. But I am still craving to see those gingerbread houses framed in autumn trees. If you ask me, Rijksmuseum and some autumn magic seem like a pretty good reason to return. Until the next time, Amsterdam!

The streets of Amsterdam in December
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Brigita Soldo

Travel Photographer · Creative Content Creator · Vintage & Sustainable Fashion Advocate

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