Epic Things to do in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve
2019 has flown by - we can’t believe New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. If you’re planning on spending the last day of the decade in Amsterdam you’ve made a brilliant choice. Enter 2020 with a bang in the Dutch capital where you can celebrate in true style without spending a fortune. Take part in some brave New Year’s Eve traditions, party hard at the best bar in town, soak in the festive atmosphere around the canals - whatever it is you’ll be doing, it will be a night you won’t forget (hopefully even after too many drinks). We’ve rounded up some epic things to do in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve…
1. Party in the public squares
Places that are guaranteed to be buzzing on New Year’s Eve are Amsterdam’s public squares. There will be unofficial street parties on the squares including Dam Square, Rembrandtplein and Nieuwmarkt. Perhaps the most famous is Leidseplein Square where many of the city’s bars, pubs, coffeeshops and clubs can be found and there will be a real fun atmosphere here. Plus you can expect beer tents to pop-up and live entertainment well into the early hours of 2020. Just because Amsterdam’s official New Year’s fireworks have been cancelled this year, it doesn’t make 31st December any less exciting. Head to the square and go on a bar crawl with your mates and end up at Belushi’s! Just be careful around the squares as people tend to let off fireworks on the streets so be cautious and stay safe.
2. Stay in a hostel for epic atmosphere
Make sure to book your accommodation for New Year’s Eve in advance because beds get booked up quickly during the party season. There are three hostels we would recommend in Amsterdam that each offer a fun party atmosphere, great location and young crowd. St Christopher’s at the Winston has a 24 hour reception so you can party as late as you like. This hostel also offers free breakfast if you book direct. Then there’s the Flying Pig Uptown or the Flying Pig Downtown, each both safe, secure and fun hostels; one is located in the museum district and the other is close to the Red Light District - and they both have a 24 hour reception too. The hostels will each be busy on New Year’s Eve filled with backpackers making it easy to meet new people.
Public transport in Amsterdam stops at around 8pm on New Year’s Eve so make sure you keep this in mind when making your plans; try and keep within walking distance to the hostel so you can get to and from it easily.
3. New Year’s Eve Party
Looking for an affordable place to party on New Year’s Eve? The biggest and best party for backpackers will be at Belushi’s Bar just a few minutes walk from the Red Light District. This electric bar will be throwing an epic New Year’s Eve party for 2020. Expect live DJs, drink deals, dancers, confetti cannons, private tables and more. Belushi’s has just been refurbished and is a more affordable option for partying in the city. Some of the nightclubs will cost a fortune and entry prices will be sky high on New Year’s Eve, so Belushi’s is our top choice. Plus, the bar is right below the hostel (St Christopher’s at the Winston) which makes getting to bed after a few too many drinks super easy! This year's theme is the Sanctum of Sin so unleash your inner devil and book your spot now.
4. Take part in the Dutch New Year’s Day tradition
Ok, so not exactly on New Year’s Eve but the day after. One of the more unusual (and seriously brave) things to do in Amsterdam is the Dutch tradition called the ‘New Year’s Dive’. On the 1st January and for the 60th year in a row, hundreds of brave people will run into the ice-cold water of the Amstel River to welcome in the New Year. It’s one of those once in a lifetime bucket list moments. The New Year’s Dive takes place at over 150 places around the Netherlands. Maybe quite a good way to forget about that hangover? Maybe not.
5. Eat Oliebollen
Oliebollen is a traditional Dutch sweet treat that is similar to a deep fried donut. These delicious dumplings are always eaten in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve and are made from dough which is often filled with sultanas, raisins or currants. You simply must indulge in one of these deep fried oliebol when you’re in Amsterdam for NYE. You can get a taste of them at street food stands, Christmas markets and in most Dutch bakeries. They are eaten on NYE because it is said they ward off evil spirits.
6. Hit the clubs
If you’re looking to go a bit crazier with your wallet on New Year’s Eve then the nightclubs of Amsterdam are always a fun option, they are just extremely pricey. Make sure to do research and check up on entry prices and drinks costs before you go.
Article by Shereen Sagoo
7. Amsterdam Light Festival
If drinking and partying all night isn’t really your thing, then maybe a good dinner and wander around Amsterdam Light Festival is more up your street. From December through to late January you can follow the illuminated route along the canals to see mesmerising art installations brought to Amsterdam by designers from across the world. This year’s theme is ‘Disrupt!’ so expect some tricks of the eye on your final walk through the city before heading into 2020. Use the maps on the Amsterdam Light Festival website to guide you through either the entire 6.3km walking route or 2.8km ‘Artis’ route which is a smaller section of beautiful light installations.