The Dordrecht Christmas Market is classed as the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands. Located in the fourth largest city in the province, city of Dordrecht. Dordrecht is special as it is the oldest city in Holland (the provinces of North-Holland and South-Holland) of the Netherlands. For 2018 the Christmas markets were hosted on the 14th, 15th and 16th of December.
Dordrecht Christmas Market
The Dordrecht Christmas Market is something I’ve been looking forward to visiting since a few months now. Perfect for really getting into the festive mood. They released a guide map available through their website allowing you to already see the market streets. Luckily I had recovered from some winter sickness the week before so I was very pleased to visit healthy, since it was only 1°c!
The Christmas Stalls
With more than 200 stalls to view, you can spend a whole day enjoying the cosy atmosphere. Many stalls have unique gifts relating to Christmas, however presents and gifts also for daily use. I didn’t stop at all of them, but I checked out most while walking past. Many had items that I simply wasn’t interested in so I enjoyed the walk instead.
Furthermore there were many stalls with delicious food choices and drinks too! Such as hot chocolate and gluehwein, hamburgers and German sausages, chips, fudge, popcorn, Christmas cupcakes, typical Dutch stroopwaffels and of course Dutch poffertjes. My favourite treat at the Dordrecht Christmas market was some fudge that I took home with me to share with my partner.
The Joyful Christmas Music
The stalls combined with the joyful Christmas carols and live music is a treat not to miss! For the live music, there are singing choirs and bands playing throughout the weekend, at different locations and at one of the 2 main stages. This year there was live entertainment at Stadhuisplein and the Vismarkt.
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Unfortunately I’m not sure which bands are in any of these photos. However this trio group above were really enjoyable and I would have sat down to listen if there was space!!
Nativity Scene by the Church
The Dordrecht Christmas market wouldn’t be complete without a nativity scene. Goats, sheep and even a camel can be found next to the gothic style Church of Our Lady. This was a popular spot for families.
During the 2.5km walk I was greeted by many entertaining street performers. One that stood out was a friendly magician showing off his card tricks and catching the watchers off guard.
Dordrecht Christmas Atmosphere
The Christmas route through the historic city is only 2.5km, perfect for those who struggle to walk long distances or disabled visitors. No excuse to leave the kids behind either – unless you plan to shop for their presents!
As well as the 2.5km walk, I visited some extra areas during the Dordrecht Christmas Market to explore the city. Dordrecht has some beautiful hidden spots down alleyways to view the canals.
How To Get There & Important Times
You can easily reach Dordrecht by train and with the Waterbus boat from Zwijndrecht and Rotterdam. Else by car is also possible, but super busy! By car it’s best to park at their free parking location and use their free shuttle bus to enter the historic city center.
For 2018 they were in full Christmas spirit with full day activities starting from 10:00am and ending at 21:00pm. Most stores in Dordrecht are also open with their usual December opening times too. All up to date information can be found on their official website.
Summary of the Dordrecht Christmas Market
I enjoyed visiting the Dordrecht Christmas market for the first time since living in the Netherlands. There are some really unique stalls selling specific Christmas items, as well as many with non-Christmas related items. I had expected more unique stalls as I did feel there were many who were selling the same things just at different locations. I didn’t have the feeling of stopping at each stall to see what they were selling. Warm Christmas socks and scarfs were simply not something I needed. I think Saturday and Sunday will be better too. I think this since I did visit on Friday for the start and some stalls were actually empty.
However the atmosphere throughout the markets is really positive and super cosy. With all types of music played on each corner and on the stages. There were also some great locations that were focused for children, such as the nativity scene area.
Lastly there was so much choice of delicious treats, sweet and savoury, during the 2.5km walk. If I didn’t already have plans for dinner I would have tried a bit of everything!
- Enjoy a full day trip to Dordrecht, such as using the Waterbus from Rotterdam.
- Plan ahead with a route you want to walk using their guide map. This will help you not to miss anything christmassy!
- Coming by car? make use of the free parking area and use the free shuttle bus to enter the historic city center
- Want to use your card? This is possible in most places but best to bring cash with you too. Possibly that you have before your visit as the cash machines will have a long queue.
Are you planning to visit a Christmas market this year? If you visited Dordrecht Christmas Market too we’d love to hear your thoughts!