Christmas Away from Home - a mymaastricht guide

By Miruna on Monday 18 December 2023 at 08:36
Christmas Away from Home - a mymaastricht guide

Are you an international student who is going to be staying in Maastricht over the holidays? Although many people are talking about flying home for Christmas, we know this might not be an option for everyone. We also know that if you’re new here, you might not know about what there is to do around the place at this time of year so we wanted to give you some options on how you can make your Christmas break here a memorable student experience 🙂

Whether you’re looking for a cosy spot, a unique experience or just something fun to fill some of your days with, we’ve researched and rounded up some potential options for you! 

No ticket needed events:

Naturally, we will start at the most accessible option, Magisch Maastricht –  the Christmas market, open until December 31st, which provides a magical experience and some Dutch festive fun. With an indoor skating rink and a sky-high Ferris wheel and loooads of tasty snacks, potential gifts for yourself or others and lots of mulled wine, this is a must-visit this Christmas, in our opinion! If we’re being honest, we know that many of you have probably already visited the market, so we won’t babble on any more about it. However, did you know that the Christmas stands don’t stop in Vrijthof? At the old Servatius bridge, the cosiest Christmas market opens its small taverns where you can taste organic crepes, Gluhwein or a traditional Wurst.

Through the “tunnel of light” at the Magical Maastricht Vrijthof, you can access the Sint Servaas Basilica. During the holiday season, this place becomes an exhibition, with special displays and decorated trees. The basilica’s volunteers are there to answer questions about the building and the nativity scenes explored by the exhibition during December, which offers this experience even more depth.

If you’d rather keep away from the big crowds, you might want to consider swinging by Pop-Up part 14 of Storytelling-Design at Wycker Brugstraat 60. Here, Dutch designers showcase their work while spilling the beans on their inspirations! You can feast your eyes on a mix of design goodies—think cabinets, jewellery, lamps, clothing, wall objects, bags—you name it! But here’s the kicker: it’s not just about looking and touching; you’ll get to chat with the designers themselves. Get ready to hear the unique stories behind the 17 designers’ works any day until 31st December besides the Christmas days themselves! Best part? It’s free! 

(opening hours: Wednesday-Friday from 11:00 to 18:00, Saturdays from 11:00 to 17:00, and Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00) 

We’ve mentioned Bazar du Sud before, but have you heard about their “12 Days of Christmas”? Until December 23rd, every Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 12:00 to 17:00, you’ll get to enjoy workshops with a small group of entrepreneurs, all of whom are super excited to share their creative ideas with you right before the holidays! You can create and look for unique handmade gifts at the Fire Station Canteen while supporting small businesses 🙂

Photo credits: Marta

Call for music enthusiasts! On the 19th of December, at Centre Céramique, you can enjoy the Christmas concert by KUMA Music School for free with various musical acts and tasty snacks. 

Paid-ticket events:

Also, in Maastricht, the city where every small cafe turns into its own Christmas wonderland anyway, you can transport yourself back to the 1950s at the Vintage Christmas Dinner Show. Being held at Amrâth Grand Hotel de l’Empereur on the 21st of December, cinematography enthusiasts are invited to enjoy timeless holiday classics like ‘White Christmas’, ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s’, and ‘Holiday Inn’, ballet shows and music while savouring a four-course dinner. ‘Let It Show’. For info and tickets reach out to

Keeping it in tune with the oldies but goldies, get ready to jingle and mingle at the ultimate Christmas bash – “80’s Verantwoord” with an extra festive twist! The biggest hits from the ’80s paired with the quirkiest Christmas tunes will set the stage for the most epic sing-alongs. The trip down memory lane does not stop there, however – an Arcade Machine, loaded with all cherished ’80s games, will also be available. Rock around the Christmas tree and make this experience personal by heading to their Lightning Requests booth and queuing up your fave tune, all for €17!

For those willing to hop on a train and go further afield during this time, a one-of-a-kind event is happening in Amsterdam: Concertgebouw’s Christmas matinee. It takes place on the 25th of December when, under the direction of future chief conductor Klaus Mäkelä, the Orchestra will play Beethoven’s Third Symphony – what says Christmas Atmosphere more than classical music? Ticket prices range from €29 to €175 , depending on the seats you pick. 

To be fair, classical music isn’t everyone’s taste, so if Beethoven feels outdated to you and you’re over 21 years old maybe partying in Eindhoven will have a nicer ring to you! On the 24th of December, R&B SUNDAY will organise a Christmas Eve Special Event. For €27 you can start off your Christmas vibes with other party people at Klokgebouw. Get your best black and white outfit on and enjoy the festive feeling! On the 26th of December, R&B SUNDAY will also come to Complex, Maastricht, to keep the holiday celebrations going.

We think music and dance speak to most souls, but what about the theatre kids out there? Tolhuistuin Amsterdam has thought of everything – from 22nd to the 30th of December you can visit the WinterParade, where you will find not only cosy theatre tents hosting a range of diverse shows, but also a silent disco where Christmas classics are guaranteed to get you grooving!! If you like the sound of it, make sure to book your tickets for €6 before they’re gone 🙂 

Have you always wanted to go on a little canal cruise but never got the chance to? Make the most of your holiday stay in the Netherlands by trying out the Pancake Cruises for €27 in either Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Nijmegen! In case the name didn’t give it away, this is a great opportunity to enjoy beautiful views, destress and eat as many pancakes as you can!

Feeling nostalgic about visiting the circus with your parents as a kid? If you’re planning on visiting The Hague, you can experience a Christmas one! From December 23rd to January 7th the Groot Kerstcircus presents a brand new show with circus stars from all over the world doing spectacular acrobatics, spoken poetry and comedy acts. Ticket prices for these events range around €25.

Another fun idea would be to go on an adventure that combines Dutch folk, Grimm fairy tales and roller coaster rides at the Efteling. During the Holiday season, Winter Efteling turns the funpark into a wintery wonderland, with ice skating rinks and winter delicacies.

On the 31st of December, with 2024 slowly knocking on our doors, the Netherlands will be filled with New Year’s Eve Parties. We’ll keep you posted as soon as these events are announced for Maastricht, but for now, The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam offer bonfires, firework shows and parties to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Stay tuned for updates and get ready to ring in 2024 with a bang!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with students? DM us on Instagram!

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