EmbrACE Magazine

First Christmas in Rotterdam? Don’t worry, we got you!


If you are an international student, you know that sometimes life abroad can get difficult. Especially during Christmas when all of your friends are going back to their home countries and you are about to spend your first Christmas in Rotterdam. If this is the case, or you are simply looking for some exciting events in Rotterdam, you’ve come to the right place. We have selected some unique Christmas themed attractions worth looking into.

1. Ice Skating 

Even though Rotterdam is not surrounded by mountains and glaciers perfect for skiing or snowboarding, it is still possible to do winter sports. You might not know that, but ice skating is a very big thing in The Netherlands. Since 1952 the Dutch have been leading in speed and figure skating at the winter Olympics. On top of that, some historians suggest that ice skating might have even been invented by the Dutch. Could there be a better place to learn and master your ice-skating skills? We don’t think so. If you’re looking for a place to ice skate, you don’t have to look far. There is an ice rink just next to the Erasmus Campus, in De Esch. 

2. Christmas Yoga 

Not into ice skating, but still trying to stay fit? Look into Christmas themed workouts or yoga practices all over town. Balanzs (yoga studio) organizes classes such as Pre Xmas Pilates, or Let it Flow yoga, and DPFC Gym & Dance has prepared a special Christmas workout. Look into it!

3. Dordrecht Christmas Market 

One of the biggest Christmas markets in the Netherlands takes place only a 15-minute train ride away from Rotterdam, in Dordrecht. From the 13th until the 15th of December you’ll be able to enjoy music, theatre, and most importantly Christmas foods and drinks in a pleasant Dutch setting. The market spreads out through the entire town and there is a lot to see.

4. Arts and Culture 

If you are an art lover who wants to spend their Christmas break surrounded by paintings, photography and even the local culture, you are very lucky this year. Most museums, such as Kunsthal Rotterdam, Nederland Photomuseum, Maritime Museum and Museum Rotterdam, are open both on Christmas Eve and Boxing day.

5. Other interesting options... 

Look into the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish Churches in Rotterdam, to experience a more Nordic Christmas! Walk through the city admiring the decorations and giant Christmas trees! If you’re looking for some more traditional entertainment, check out the Christmas Circus and Christmas village in Ahoy! 

If you’re not convinced by any of our ideas and you have decided to spend Christmas in bed, under three blankets, watching movies, that’s also fine. However, we can still make your cozy time a little bit better with this ACE Winter Tea recipe:


1 big cup of your favorite tea (earl grey, green, white)

3 slices of peeled ginger

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

1 slice of orange

1 spoon of honey 


Prepare the tea with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Later add honey and orange.

Feel free to spice up your tea with rum, brandy or genever ;)