Winter in Rotterdam
Guido Pijper

Winter in Rotterdam

Winter is the most wonderful time of the year! Let this page filled with many dazzling events inspire you. There are plenty of fun things to do in Rotterdam before, during and after the festive season. The shops are open longer so that you can buy presents for ‘Pakjesavond’ on 5 December (a Dutch traditional celebration involving ‘Sinterklaas’ or Saint Nicholas), or do your Christmas shopping. The National New Year’s Eve Fireworks are also in Rotterdam, don’t miss the magic.

21 November to 14 December | 21 December to 20 January

Petit Palais

During the winter months, enjoy different films, tastings and workshops in two heaten shacks in the centre of Rotterdam. These activities will take place at the Schouwburgplein from 19 November to 14 December. The activities will continue on the Grotekerkplein from 21 December to 24 January. All activities will take place on Wednesdays and weekends. The Wednesdays are specially designed for children.

1 December

Blijdorp Winterfestival

This year, the Blijdorp Winter Festival takes place in the Van Nelle Factory for the third time. Expect stages with house, techno and hip hop, art and food stands in this iconic Rotterdam building. Escape to a different world.

7 December

Lighting up the Christmas tree

Like every year, there is a huge Christmas tree in front of the City Hall again this year. This year on the Stadhuisplein because of the renovations on the Coolsingel. The Christmas tree is lit (between 17:00 – 18.00 hrs) by the mayor accompanied by a concert with Lee Towers and 300 Rotterdam school children.

Store opening hours

Store opening hours

During holidays in Rotterdam
Christmas in Rotterdam

Christmas in Rotterdam

Christmas means lots of fun activities in Rotterdam again.

8 and 9 December

Christmas in the City

The EO (Evangelical Broadcasting) and the (other) makers of The Passion bring Christmas in the City to Rotterdam, a programme with music performances by Dutch celebrities. The recordings of this national Christmas celebration will take place on 9 December and will be broadcast on tv on NPO1 on Christmas Day. This year’s theme is #nooitmeeralleen, meaning never alone, because nobody should be alone at Christmas!

22 to 30 December

Christmas Circus Ahoy

Due to the unique and ever-changing composition of artists, the Christmas Circus Ahoy manages to surprise every year. The unparalleled Hungarian Post with Florian and Kevin Richter, the pole act of the African Dream Troupe, clown Don Christian and Diana Vediashkina and her dachshunds have already been confirmed.

23 December

Festival Stille Nacht

In the dark days before Christmas, this festival with indie pop, Americana, folk and electronica has become a tradition. This year, it’s bigger than ever because it is in the Maassilo. Halo Maud, Saarloos (Craig Gallagher and Brian McGovern) and Donna Blue will be performing on Sunday, 23 December.

3 November to 3 March

3 November to 3 March


24 to 29 December

Dave’s Winter Variety Show

Dave van der Wal puts an end to all Christmas stress with his magical variety show and produces a Spectacular Winter Show. In an atmospheric mirror tent in the Museumpark, Dave offers a full evening programme of comedy, circus and music.

29 and 30 December

The biggest swan lake in the world

Swan Lake is one of the most romantic ballet performances worldwide. This story about love and loss can be seen at the New Luxor Theater at the end of December.

31 December

National Fireworks

The National Fireworks is a fireworks display not to be missed. Enjoy one of the most beautiful and spectacular fireworks shows in the Netherlands on New Year’s Eve. This year The Rotterdam Philharmonic will play a specially made composition around midnight. For the little ones who will be fast asleep at midnight, the National Children’s Fireworks can be seen at 19:00.

3 x exhibitions you must see

Rubens’ Oil Sketches

Rubens’ Oil Sketches

Largest survey of Rubens’ oil sketches
Dit is Cas

Dit is Cas

Get acquainted with Cas Oorthuys – photographer, optimist, world t...

5 January to 24 February

Pica Pica Winterparade 2019

New Rotterdam musicians are brought together with local artists during the Pica Pica Winterparade with several instore concerts and art exhibitions by local Rotterdam artists.

23 January to 4 February

IFFR | International Film Festival Rotterdam

The IFFR is one of the largest cultural events in the Netherlands and one of the largest public film festivals in the world. The film festival takes place this year from Wednesday, 23 January until Sunday, 3 February 2019.

6 to 10 February

Art Rotterdam Week

Art lovers will have the opportunity to visit numerous art and design fairs, unique exhibitions, site fairs, open studios and pop-up shows during Art Rotterdam Week.

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