Surviving the winter break

Are you staying in Delft for the winter break? With no lectures for two weeks, there are plenty of seasonal things to see and do to get you in a festive mood.

Carol concerts
Listening to carols sung by choirs is a surefire way to get you in the Christmas spirit. The Maria van Jessekerk at Burgwal 20 in Delft hosts a couple of concerts. On December 15 at 20:00 the renowned St John’s College Choir from Cambridge in the UK will perform. Tickets start at €22.50. The Federation of Delft Choirs organises a free concert that takes place at the church on December 19 at 14:00. In the Klis shopping area of the city, also on the afternoon of December 19, several choirs will perform and there’ll be ice carving demonstrations too.

Christmas markets
In the Wippolder neighbourhood of Delft on December 18, between 17:00 and 21:00, 20 stalls will be set up on the Nassauplein. A market will also take place at Papaver on Korftlaan at the Delftse Hout, between 9:30 and 16:30 on December 20, with organic regional and seasonal products from 25 small sustainable enterprises. In The Hague from December 17 to 23 you can visit the Royal Christmas Fair from 12:00 to 21:00 on the Lange Vijverberg. Further afield, there are larger markets in the Netherlands worth a visit, a couple of which are noteworthy. The Valkenburg markets are unusually located in caves, and open through-out the holidays. At the Dickens festival in Deventer “more than 950 characters from the famous books of Dickens will be revived” according to the organisers. The festival is open from 11:00 to 17:00 on December 19 and 20.

Ice skating
During winter, ice skating is a national pastime. For the last 13 years Delft has had its own rink on the Beestenmarkt, but not this year, alas. Unless the canals freeze over, you’ll need to head out of the city to skate. You can visit Winterland at the Stads-erf in Schiedam, where “an ice rink in a fairytale atmosphere” is promised. Scheveningen in The Hague will be transformed too, with an ice rink in front of the Kurhaus Hotel, and a 30 metre long ice slide on the boulevard.

Christmas circus
There are two to choose from not far from Delft. In Ahoy Rotterdam, between December 19 and 28, top international circus acts including trapeze artists, acrobats and clowns will perform. Tickets start from €28. The Hague also has a circus at Malieveld, running from December 19 to January 3, featuring a human cannonball, tightrope artist and more. Tickets start at €15 with a student card.

Top 2000 songs
If you’d prefer to stay at home in the warm, then tune in and listen to NPO Radio 2’s countdown of listeners top 2000 favourite songs of all time, broadcast from noon on Christmas Day to midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Take to the streets as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. For a couple of hours the skies will be alight with pyrotechnics, with the national ban on fireworks lifted for the occasion. In order to try and curb accidents and injuries, the rules were tightened last year. Fireworks can now only be set off between 18:00 on December 31 and 2:00 on January 1. Sponsored by the state, the display at Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge is the largest in the Netherlands and is broadcast live on television.

New Year’s dunk
On January 1, many brave souls head to the beach for a dip in the North Sea. Food manufacturer, Unox, sponsors events all over the country. “The New Year’s Dive is a true Dutch tradition. In Scheveningen around 10,000 Dutch people annually go into the water to start the New Year,” they said. “In total there are 45,000 New Year’s Divers.” Spectating may be equally entertaining if you’re not brave enough to join in.

Editor Redactie

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