het amsterdamse winterparadijs - Amsterdam Winter Festival

Amsterdam Winter Festival – Winterparadijs

The winter festival in Amsterdam. Things to do with kids at Christmas.
Amsterdam Winter Festival – Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs

Wow!!! If you happen to be in Amsterdam around Christmas and New Years you will not want to miss the Amsterdam Winter Festival. Or if you are looking for some fun winter family vacation ideas, don’t pass up this amazing festival.

We lucked out and happened to be in Amsterdam this year with our kids on opening day and a local recommended to go to this annual winter festival.

The Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs (Dutch) for the Winter Festival, is an indoor & outdoor festival. It is more like a Christmas amusement park with better food, drinks, and fun winter games. We were blown away with the number of things to do at this festival.

The Festival is held at the RAI Amsterdam convention center, and they transformed the entire center into the ultimate winter and Christmas experience. It opens December 21, 2019, to January 5, 2020.

So let’s dive right in and talk about the best things we did at the winter festival.

Amsterdam winter festival pin. Top things to do with kids in Amsterdam

Our favorite things to do at the Amsterdam Winter Festival

#1 – Electric Three-Wheeler with Skis, Race Track

One of the family favorite things to do was Ice Racing. These electric Three-wheelers with ice skates were a blast for our oldest kid and us. This is great for teens and adults.

Electric Tricycles on the ice. Fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam

Our oldest is 10 and she went 3-4 times. These bikes are awesome. They are like tricycles with ice skates for the back wheels. The best part is that they are electric so you can really gain some speed quickly.

As you round the corners, you can accelerate and slide into the skates and skid to create an ice skid, similar to a hockey player stopping quickly on the ice to change directions. Guys, it is so fun! I could have down this for hours!

Three-Wheeler with Skis, Amsterdam Winterfestival

#2 – Indoor Tube Slide

As you enter one side of the expo center, you will be surprised by the giant indoor sledding hill! The best part is that you can tube down the hill of real snow all while being inside.

The indoor tube slide was a blast, and surprisingly you go pretty quick down the hill. It is made with man-made snow, to give you the feeling of being on the mountain. (Minus the freezing temperatures.) There are 2 tube slides and the lines move very fast.

#3 – Ice Skating track and rink

There are 2 ice skating rinks. One is indoor and one is an outdoor rink. We opted for indoor ice skating as we have smaller kids and it was colder outside.

It was perfect for our kids. They provided everything we needed, including the fun pushcarts that made it easier for our kids to skate. The best part was that since we were inside, the ice was cold but we weren’t cold at all.

#4 – Tube Jump – High Jump

Fun winter activities for teens.
Fly down a huge slide on a tube and land on this giant pillow.

The only reason that this is not #1 on this list is that it is more suitable for those 12 years and above. So our kids were too young to enjoy it.

But, for adults and teens, it doesn’t get much more exhilarating and exciting for a tubing experience than this. Outside, the tube slide is set up like the long jump for skiing.

You climb up the stairs to the top, slide down the huge ramp which sends you flying into the air, and then you land on a giant airbag. You get the speed down the ramp, the exhilaration of flying through the air, and the refuge of landing on a huge soft airbag.

Tube Long Jump Area at Amsterdam Winter Festival 2019

#5 – The Indoor Snow Play Area

The two large snow areas are covered with piles of fake snow and snowballs. This is a great Instagram spot, the best part is that you won’t freeze.

Just like the other activities, it is indoors, so you get the fun of playing in the snow without the wet and cold. Our 2-year-old played here for 2 hours and she could have played for 2 more.

It was perfect for all of us because there were lots of food trucks and a bar right in the same area. So the kids played while we had lunch and drinks in peace. It was a win all around.

Indoor Snowplay area – Amsterdam Winter Festival

#6 – The rides & Games

The Amsterdam Winter Festival is more like a full-blown amusement park than a winter festival, with all of the rides, like the Ferris wheel, carousel, slides, funhouse, etc… But it doesn’t lose the charm of a smaller Christmas Market or local festival at the same time.

My older kids loved the rides, but if you are going with small children, they will not be able to ride the rides. My 2-year-old had to watch from the side of every ride. This made the day very long for her. This is a big downside for families with toddlers.

The best part is that all of the rides are included in your ticket price. But the games are not. We spent an extra 40 Euros on games to entertain our 2-year-old. I would still recommend going with younger kids but just be aware that they will not be able to go on the rides.

Food & Drinks

There are plenty of options for food inside the festival. We didn’t have nearly enough time to try everything we would have liked. The food prices are not too high, but the drinks are expensive.

Don’t forget to try some of the local food and drinks. You can get you hot wine or a local brew here while enjoying time with family or friends. We tried some of the traditional waffles and some great local food for lunch.

Christmas Market as part of the Winter Festival

As part of the Amsterdam Winter Festival, there are also a few local vendors selling some of their hand made goods and art. Take a few minutes to wander through them.

These markets and festivals are part of the reason that we came to Europe this time of year, and the vendors inside and outside did not disappoint. We had lots of fun wandering through the market while our kids played in the fake snow.

Other Things to do at the Amsterdam Winter Festival

Cross Country Skiing

Strap on some ski boots and click into the skis. Take the ski tracks around the slopes and through the picturesque forest that has been set up around the convention center.

They will provide the boots, skis, and poles. You don’t need to bring anything. The smallest boot size they had was a European size 30, this is 2 sizes bigger than my 7-year-old usually takes. But we could tighten the straps and they worked out perfectly.

Magical Theater

If you are needing a rest or need to warm up, head to one of the theatres to take in one of the Christmas movies. Lounge on one of the bean bag chairs, or indoor beach chairs.

They play holiday movies all day long in 3 different theaters. Beware, these theaters get very busy, so go early if you’re counting on seeing a certain movie.

Movie Theater for het amsterdamse winterparadijs Amsterdam Winter Festival
Magical Movie Theatre at the RAI Convention Center for the Amsterdam Winter Festival

VR-Experience and Gaming

If you have a gamer in the family they have multiple systems set up to play. We did not go into this experience, but we heard positive comments from others.

Winter Maze

Try your luck at getting lost and finding your way out of the wooden maze. The maze itself was too easy for our older kids and they rushed through it in less than 5 minutes.

Indoor Maze at the het amsterdamse winterparadijs
Christmas Maze at the Indoor het amsterdamse winterparadijs


If you’ve ever watched curling on tv during the Olympics, and you think, I’d like to try that. Well, then you are in luck with the indoor curling rink.

Once again, it is included in your ticket price and it is inside so you don’t have to bundle up and freeze while you’re playing.

Curling Rink at the Amsterdam Winter Festival 2019het amsterdamse winterparadijs
Curling Rink at the Amsterdam Winter Festival

Feeling the Christmas Spirit

Christmas music is playing. Decorations are hung. Christmas trees are decorated and lit. The entire festival was decorated with every detail. The smell of freshly cut pine, cinnamon and pastries, and hot wine filled the air. If that doesn’t get you in the Yuletide spirit, you’re in for a long holiday season.

Practical info about the winter festival

Opening days: December 21st till January 5th

Opening times: Vary by day, most days are open from 9:30 am-2:00 am. Double-check the website below to verify on the day you are planning to go.

Ticket prices: Entry only (recommended for toddlers and parents who aren’t going to ride the rides) 9 Euros

Regular ticket- includes all the indoor and outdoor rides: 21.50 Euros

**Pro-tip~ You can save 2 Euro per ticket if you purchase your tickets online. Click on this link to purchase them. They do sell out fast so get your tickets before you go.

How to get there: There is great parking at the expo center if you have a car. If not, take Metro 52 to the Europaplein stop.

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February 15, 2020 at 2:02 pm

I love visiting Amsterdam in winter, and the Winter Festival looks amazing! I’d love to bring my nephews here for all the activities!

February 15, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Oh my goodness, this looks so fun. I would love to try my hand at curling. I don’t think I have ever had the opportunity. It looks like you all had a great time!

February 15, 2020 at 10:25 pm

That is really cool that they combined the winter festival with the Christmas Markets. It looks like so much as there really is an activity for everyone! Great info and tips, thank you! 😁

February 15, 2020 at 11:20 pm

Oh my gosh this looks so much fun. The indoor tubing would be amazing. Here was me thinking Europe was all about Christmas markets but this is something else

February 15, 2020 at 11:40 pm

oh this looks absolutely incredible! European cities really light up during the festive season!

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