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Chasing Winter Vibes: (My First Dutch Holiday Adventure)

Hey everyone! It’s my first winter here in the Netherlands, and it’s been quite the ride. I thought i’d spill the tea on some of the coolest winter festivals that I went to that made me feel right at home in this chilly wonderland.

1. Amsterdam Light Festival: Where Canals Meet Kaleidoscopic Dreams

Imagine this: December in Amsterdam, but with an explosion of lights and colours. That’s the Amsterdam Light Festival for you! The city’s canals, already Insta-worthy, turn into a giant art canvas with funky light sculptures.

The best part? Cruising through the canals on a Light Festival boat, checking out the changing themes each year. It’s like a dazzling light show that convinced me winter could actually be pretty cool. (Pun Intended :p)

2. Gouda’s Candlelit Extravaganza: Christmas Magic in Every Flicker

This one was my personal favourite. On December 15th, this place becomes a fairytale. Picture the entire city center aglow with the soft flicker of countless candles.

The Candlelight Festival turns Gouda into a cozy haven from noon till midnight. Streets bathed in warm light, shops all dolled up for Christmas – its like stepping into a holiday movie. The city even gets a Christmas tree as a gift from its Norwegian sister city Kongsberg. These are fascinating age-old traditions!

3. Rotterdam’s New Year’s Bang: Fireworks, Music, and Martin Garrix

Let’s talk New Year’s in Rotterdam. The city goes all out with the biggest fireworks show, and after three-years of corona, it was such a comeback! The Erasmus Bridge becomes ground zero for an explosion of colours, and can you guess who’s DJ-ing this sky-high party? None other than Martin Garrix! A famous dutch local. From the beats, to the lights, and the crazy vibe – it’s a wild way to ring in the new year. Rotterdam, you sure know how to throw a party!


In the end, these winter festivals have been more than just events on my calendar. They’ve been an escape from feeling far from home. The twinkling lights, the festive buzz, and the mix of cultures made me miss home a little less. Who knew winter could be this awesome in the Netherlands? It turns out, it’s not all about the cold – it’s about finding warmth in the coolest places!

Written by Deepika Balaji

Edited by Chloe McIntyre

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