City centre markets
Located at either end of the Leidsestraat, both Leidseplein and Koningsplein will be home to various festive market stalls. The ice rink and olliebollen food stands can be found at Leidseplein from 2 November 2012 to 13 January 2013, with additional Christmas-themed activities taking place during December.
Flower market (Bloemenmarkt)
For the month of December, Christmas trees - big, small, quirky, insanely green – are available in their dozens, making the floating Bloemenmarkt the ideal place to pick up your living room pine. And as a bonus, the Christmas Palace, Amsterdam's unique emporium of festive goodies – open all year round – is located alongside the market, so you can take home some special treats.
For 2012, Christmas shoppers in search of organic produce and other sustainable products can visit two special winter editions of the Pure Markt. On Sunday 16 December it will take place in Amstelpark, and then on Sunday 23 December (perfect for last minute shoppers) it heads to Park Frankendael. There you'll find 60 'green' retailers and plenty of festive cheer!
Pink Christmas Market
Part of the Pink Christmas festivities, the gay-friendly Christmas Market on the Zeedijk on Saturday, 22 December (14:00 - 22:00) features numerous stalls as well as performances and a fashion show
Funky Xmas Market
The Funky Sunday Markets are fast becoming an institution in Amsterdam and now they're back with a special Christmas edition. The Funky Xmas Market at the Westergasfabriek is packed with cheerful decorations, delicious aromas and numerous craft stalls to create a happy holiday atmosphere. The Funky Xmas Market is on the weekend of 22 and 23 December, from 12:00 to 18:00. Entrance is free. Spreading the seasonal joy a little bit further in 2012, there's also a special Sinterklaas edition of the market on 2 December and a New Year's Market on 6 January 2013!
One of the largest Christmas market events in the Netherlands is Christmas at Castle Keukenhof. Although only held from Thursday 6 December through Sunday 9 December 2012, it’s a magical experience that will leave you prepared to have the ultimate Christmas. Stands, stalls and chalets promise an array of goods to taste, experience and buy. Plus there is the winter fair, the castle itself, gardens adorned in fairy lights, an ice rink and an animal petting zoo for the kids.
For those seeking an authentic Weihnachtsmarkt atmosphere without having to cross over into Germany, Limburg is home to a number of large Christmas markets, most notably in Maastricht (30 November - 31 December) and Valkenburg (16 November - 23 December). Although a long day trip from Amsterdam, here you can get your fill of Christmas stalls, Glühwein, roasted chestnuts and seasonal music and dance entertainment, all with an equal serving of Dutch charm