Christmas and New Years in Holland with P&O Ferries


It is now just a short few weeks until Christmas and the best way ensure the ‘most wonderful time of the year is indeed wonderful is with a little bit of planning. Here is a look at all the goings on in Holland over the last few months of 2017. Book now for your mini break or holiday in Holland with P&O Ferries.

Dutch Christmas Markets

There is an excellent and varied selection of Christmas markets for holiday shoppers to peruse opening late November and running right through to the New Year. Here is a guide to some of the markets not to miss this season. With P&O Ferries’ Hull to Rotterdam crossing you can visit these events with ease and comfort with overnight passage, you can bring your car to load up with Christmas goodies and depart on the day of your choosing. For more information click here

Magical Maastricht the furthest in land Christmas market from the port in Rotterdam, this is one of the grander busier Christmas markets Holland has to offer. The giant ferris wheel and ice rink in Vrijthof Square are difficult to miss but be warned large crowds are expected. The market is held throughout the entirety of the month of December, opening seven days a week, for more details on opening times view their website here.

If you plan to buy presents have no fear for the logistics, there’s underground parking for you to stow your gifts and return to all the fun of the market unencumbered. The market is set up as a series of wooden chalets for you to explore with hand made wares to delight the even most discerning of recipients.


Starting December 16 is Maastricht’s Magical Culture Festival. If you seek a little more than lights and shopping for your Christmas break then the 200 performances, workshops, guided walks, concerts and plays, not to mention museum and gallery events will surely have something to offer you. The programme is set to be released any day now.

For weekend trips or holidays with less travelling involved, bear in mind you can cross most of Belgium in a few hours, the Dordrecht Christmas Market is a viable option. It is however just a three day event so plan carefully to be there from December 15th. This is a beautiful event in the harbour due south of Rotterdam. over 200 stalls are established in the 2.5km market, the largest in all Holland. An excellent choice for boat lovers, the old harbour is bedecked with history and you’ll have the chance to sea Dutch maritime history in action. As a port market this event has a unique feel that you just won’t get in other major cities as much of the good for sale are shipped in from around Europe. Dordrecht market takes place on the Friday of the third weekend of December so with P&O Ferries you could plan a wonderful weekend retreat around this event.

For many of us what constitutes Christmas was solidified in the Victorian with much kudos going to Charles Dickens. Now it may seem strange to leave Britain to celebrate one of its most renowned authors but hey it’s Christmas – roll with it. On the 16th-17th December, Deventer hosts its Dickens Festival.


Deventer is a relatively small city, populated by about 5000 people, it is however rich in history and wealthy in 19th century architecture making it perfect for that Victorian Christmas feel. The Dickens Festival sees characters brought to life with upwards of 950 characters set to amble the market performing set pieces and gibing with the public. There’s plenty of time for you to read up on some of your favourite tales so as not to miss a thing. This is a popular event hosted annually with well over 130,000 people in attendance last year so prepare for queues. It will be well worth it though, the atmosphere dreamt up by the crowd will give you a sense of nostalgia and wonder that could catch even the meanest of Scrooges by surprise.

For literature fans, history buffs and anyone with an active imagination the Dickens Festival certainly shouldn’t be missed.

Other honourable mentions worthy of your consideration for Christmas 2017 is the Alkmaar Winter Festival returning for its fourth year. This city is famed for its cheese markets and we are sure you will be able to find some stashed away somewhere. The fair focuses on authentic Christmas fair with shopkeepers and performers alike pulling out all the stops to provide a lively and fun atmosphere for Christmas revelry. The fair opens on December 10th.

The Dutch capital is naturally the place to be for New Year’s Eve there is a lot going on in the build up. The central museum square is built in to a Christmas village for you to meander through on your way to and from galleries or restaurants. There is also the Light Festival, illuminating the city streets and canals with professional light engineers competing to bring a little wonder to nightly sojourners. And multiple markets with different themes are dotted throughout the month for you to pick and choose at your leisure. For full details click here

Book now for your ferry to Holland this December, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from P&O Ferries!

Image Credit: Ralph Peter Reinmann , shadowgate , Kevin Dooley

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