4 Dutch Christmas traditions you’ll want to indulge in!

The holiday season is right around the corner and it’s going to be a little different from what we are used to. Luckily enough everyone is still able to decorate their homes and Christmas tree to their hearts content and still keep the holiday spirit alive. As there aren’t many things that you can do this year ‘round we’ve decided to enlighten expats on holiday traditions that are uniquely Dutch and name a few activities you can still indulge in safely.


Double the fun

A tradition that is sure to make others envious is that the Dutch celebrate 2 days of Christmas, namely on the 25th and 26th of December. This usually allows them to spend time at both sets of in laws and avoid the hassle of having to choose each year. Similarly, young adults might choose to celebrate the second day with their friends instead.


During Christmas dinner on these days instead of cooking a great feast beforehand many families choose to ‘gourmet’ instead. This is a uniquely Dutch holiday tradition in which there is a grilling plate on the table with small hand sized pans on top of it where you can cook several small cuts of meat and veggies that are spread around the table. If you are familiar with Korean BBQ this self-service concept won’t seem foreign to you.

If you have a sweet tooth...

There is a Dutch food item that is sure to satisfy the expats with a sweet tooth and that’s the ‘oliebol’. If you have seen these brightly lit food trucks appearing everywhere then you might have seen an “oliebollenkraam” (a real tongue twister). This truck sells these delicious, deep-fried dough balls that are then covered in powdered sugar and served piping hot. There is nothing more delicious to warm you up on a cold day except for maybe a nice hot cup of chocolate, which if you’re really in an indulgent mood you can drink on the side.

Family fun

If you want to burn off the calories from all these indulgent meals, there’s an activity you’ll still be able to do and that is visit the ice-rinks and go ice skating. While many outdoor ice rinks have chosen to stay closed this year indoor rinks are still open and have taken precautions to make it a safe and fun environment to still enjoy a traditional Christmas activity. If you are here with your family, you can luckily enough still go with up to 4 people and have a fun family day.

There’s much more!

If these traditions seem interesting to you it might be worth incorporating into your Christmas tradition to make something new that is unique to your experience while staying here. If you’re curious to learn about even more traditions read our other Christmas blog which includes a very funny Dutch Christmas song!