Anti-Black Friday Activities in Amsterdam

Thanksgiving may not be celebrated in the Netherlands, but the tradition of Black Friday shopping is slowly making its way into mainstream Dutch culture. There is no denying that Amsterdam has world class shopping, but that is just one of its great features. If you find yourself in Amsterdam over the Thanksgiving holiday, I suggest you skip the Black Friday sales and enjoy a more cultural day, exploring everything that Amsterdam has to offer.

Walk Through De 9 Straatjes
Start the day by taking a walk through the city's De 9 Straatjes neighbourhood, also known as "The Nine Streets". Keeping with the Black Friday theme, this area is home to some of the city's best shopping, but you will quickly soon discover that it offers much more than retail. In this picturesque neighbourhood you can take in the beautiful Dutch architecture and canals that have made Amsterdam famous, or get a cup of coffee in one of the many cozy cafes. For those interested in learning more about the city's unique history a visit to one De 9 Straatjes many galleries or museums, such as Het Grachtenhuis, is sure to please.

Take the Train to Zaans Schans
When you finish your stroll through The Nine Streets, keep heading north towards Centraal Station. From Centraal Station, take the train to Zaans Schans, small town just minutes from Amsterdam. Here, you can spend the afternoon exploring a community that still holds its 18th-centruy charm. You may have to remind yourself that Zaans Schans is not an open air museum, but is, in fact, a true community where families still live and work. Black Friday shopping will be far from your mind as you take a walk along a windmill-lined trail, learn how to make traditional wooden clogs, or try some of the delicious cheese made right in the town. An afternoon in Zaans Schans will provide a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam's streets and canals.

Visit the Van Gogh Museum
End your day at the Van Gogh Museum, where music and art combine for a night of fun. Each Friday, the museum hours are extended and visitors are invited to admire the artwork with music and drinks (for those over 18 years of age). One Friday a month an evening of creative arts that features music, artistic performances, dance, workshops, and more takes place. This program changes monthly, but an amazing time is always on the list.

Skipping the stores this Black Friday will allow you to experience a whole new side of Amsterdam, while immersing yourself in the rich Dutch culture. Learning about the history of the Nine Streets, visiting Zaans Schans, and spending the evening at the Van Gogh Museum will not only be a fabulous experience, it will leave you with a greater appreciation for this special city.

Tori Holmes is a freelance copywriting and social media specialist living in Amsterdam. Born and raised in Canada, she is spending her time abroad seeing all the amazing sights her favourite city has to offer.