A dozen ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands - DutchNews.nl (2024)

Valentine’s Day is relatively new to the Netherlands and the Dutch have, well, taken it to their hearts. Whether or not you love or loathe the allegedly most romantic day of the year, you may be obliged to celebrate it with that certain special someone in your life. So here are a few ideas that will help you make it to the other side of the 14th.

Goofy gifts
Hema can serve as your one stop shopping centre for the holiday. They have dozens of Valentine’s Day gifts and other items that include heart-shaped cakes you can have stamped with photos of you and a loved one. If you’re going that route, be sure to put in your order at least two days in advance of whenever you’ll be celebrating.

Looking for sweets that are bit more, well, unconventional? You may have already heard about a certain tompouce-themed “toy” that Hema debuted a few months ago. Those are still around and, at the time of this writing, they’ve been marked down to €28. Too spicy? Your significant other might prefer a few self-heating stroopwafel facemasks instead. There are even goofier Valentine gifts at Flying Tiger. Many have a lobster theme this year (it’s apparently a Friends reference).

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Curl up with a good book or two (or ten)
Maybe your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift is one that provides plenty of quality “me time.” The American Book Center has special Valentine’s boxes this year the staff promise are “brimming with swoon-worthy narratives that will steal your heart and whisper sweet nothings to your soul.”

But if your favourite bibliophile prefers tomes that chill the heart rather than warm it, there are a variety of other themes to choose from like “crime/thriller” or “science fiction.” The size of the box and amount of books are also customisable. You’ll just need to get your order in by 8 February if you want the Official ABC Booklover Box. Visit the ABC’s website for all the details.

Get steamy
Skip this one if the mere idea of sitting around naked with a bunch of strangers of mixed genders and ages is more horrifying than the last Saw movie. For some, an afternoon or evening in a traditional Dutch sauna would be a complete nightmare. For others, it’s a great way to relax with a partner or, for the truly brave (or merely Dutch), a friend, sibling, or even a parent.

Many Dutch saunas offer onsite cafes, body treatments, swimming pools, and small movie theatres in addition to steam rooms. You can learn more about what they’re actually like in this Dutch News article from last year. If you’re ready to dive right in, try the small but gorgeous Sauna Deco in Amsterdam. Hotel & Wellness Zuiver is newer, highly rated, and hosts swimwear days if you want to give a sauna a try but you’re still feeling shy. Sauna van Egmond in Haarlem is another gem.

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Municipal marvels
If you’d like to exercise your civic pride while you, um, “get down to business” this Valentine’s Day, there’s a good chance a nearby sex toy shop has one that will let you do just that. There are shops both in Amsterdam and online where you’ll find certain items inspired by Amsterdammertjes, the city’s iconic traffic barriers.

Not to be outdone, the mother and daughter team at Cupido are selling red ones emblazoned with Leiden’s interlocked key emblem. In 2021, entrepreneurs in Utrecht were applying to convert chunks of rubble and debris from the restoration of Dom Tower into them as well, but you’ll have to scope out the shops on your own to see if they ever went through with the idea.

Dutch treat
Is your ex an expat? Are you starting to think it might be time to try a little local flavour? If you haven’t already considered the potential benefits of having a Dutch partner, now might be the time to look into that whole thing. There are plenty of opportunities for speed dating around the country.

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Here’s one organisation that hosts them in Amsterdam and another in other cities around the country. Plenty of dating apps offer their services in Dutch and Lexa is just one. Be sure to bring your wallet if you meet up, though. There’s a reason why it’s called Dutch treat and not British, French, or American.

RTL and chill
There’s plenty of things you could get up to under your duvet this February. Eating ice cream and feeling absolutely horrible about Valentine’s Day and anything even remotely related to courtship while watching romantic movies or bingeing both series of Fleabag is just one of them.

Sadly, the Netherlands-based Professor Grunschnabel is no more, but there’s always Swedish Glace or Ice Cream Factory, a Dutch ice cream maker with several vegan varieties. As for the movies, RTL 8 Is already hosting their annual Valentine’s Day countdown. It began 22 January and here’s the list of what they’ll be broadcasting now through the 14th.

Head out for dinner…
If you haven’t gone on a canal dinner cruise, this might be an appropriate time. Dine on Water in Amsterdam is hosting two Valentine cruises on the 14th. The elegant Restaurant Ambassade on the Herengracht is arranging special dinners for two as well. Restaurant Waves at the Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus in Scheveningen has a special Valentine menu for the entire month of February. Spido in Rotterdam has a dinner cruise along the Maas on the 14th, too.

….a movie….
If you’d rather catch the latest romantic films rather than sit through Dirty Dancing or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the umpteenth time, check the listings at your local cinemas. The new musical version of Mean Girls is a good pick if you’re looking for laughs.

If you and/or your partner prefer romantic tearjerkers, aim for the critical rave All of Us Strangers, but maybe skip Priscilla. The tale of her troubled marriage with Elvis might not be the best choice for a date night.

Lab 111’s agenda for February is also packed with stranger stuff if flicks like Dune: Part One or the weird and wild films of Yorgos Lanthimos are more your sort of thing. They’re doing a retrospective on the acclaimed director that includes, Poor Things, his latest, but you should probably pass on The Lobster for obvious reasons, especially if you’re going on a blind date. That one has *nothing* to do with Friends.

…or a show…
The Concertgebouw will host a movie-themed classical concert on Valentine’s night, but tickets are almost sold out at the time of this writing. Over at Boom Chicago, there’s a Valentine’s Day Improv Spectacular with ticket packages featuring food, drinks, or just the seats.

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The Haarlem Comedy Factory is doing their Valentine’s comedy night on February 9. For a much different theatrical experience, aim for Het Nationale Theater in The Hague. They’re staging De Apocalyps, an opera that focuses on the true tale of Jan van Leyden, a 16th century doomsayer who became a cult leader. Opening night is the 14th.

…and maybe a co*cktail afterward
The Netherlands is home to plenty of co*cktail bars and Hiding in Plain Sight in Amsterdam is one of the most unique, most intimate, and as far as the drinks themselves go, arguably the most clever. As the name suggests, the proprietors like to keep things on the down low and their ever-changing menu is only available at the bar.

Flying Dutchman is another option. It boasts one of the biggest backbars in the country with over 800 spirits. Spikizi in Rotterdam has a speakeasy theme and cool co*cktails with names like ‘Poison Apple’ and ‘Dirty, Dirty Chai’. Twintig is a unique cafe and bar in Utrecht with twenty of everything on its drinks menu. Twenty beers, twenty wines, and, you guessed it, twenty co*cktails.

Get hitched…
If you’re single and want to throw yourself into the deep end of the passion pool, check out Trouwen Voor 1 Dag (Married for One Day). It’s the Dutch equivalent of a Vegas-style wedding.

Their non-legally binding ceremonies will hook you up with everything you need for last minute matrimony. They’ll provide you with wedding attire and even rings you can take home with you or toss out if your true love truly does have a 24 hour expiration date. An Elvis impersonator won’t host the ceremony, but you can always go see Priscilla at the nearest cinema after you say ‘I do!’

…or just get some fresh air
Love can be celebrated in all sorts of ways. For plenty of folks, staying home with a pizza and curling up on the couch with an old episode of Law and Order is the perfect date. For others, it’s a good, old fashioned box of chocolates and a bundle of flowers from their local bloemenwinkel.

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Then there’s the stouthearted among us who stubbornly head into the great outdoors this time of year, no matter what the weather. If the sun’s out, you can bet the Dutch coastline will be lined with couples holding hands…or holding on for dear life while they kite surf. If you want to give that a go, check out BLOW. They’re one of many kite surfing schools here in the Netherlands. Their next season of classes kicks off in a few weeks and they’re located east of The Hague on Zandmotor Beach.

A dozen ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands - DutchNews.nl (2024)


How do the Dutch celebrate Valentine's Day? ›

About a quarter of respondents indicated that Valentine's Day simply is not part of their traditions or culture. For those that did intend to do something on Valentine's Day, a significant share planned to buy flowers, have a romantic dinner at home, or make love.

What are different ways Valentine's Day is celebrated? ›

Traditions these days vary from country to country – here's our handy rundown of the most interesting Valentine's traditions from around the world:
  • The United States – Go all out. ...
  • South Korea and Japan – Pamper the men. ...
  • The UK – Go on dream dates. ...
  • Finland – Celebrate friends. ...
  • Peru – Opt for orchids.

Is Valentine's Day a holiday Netherlands? ›

Valentine's Day (Valentijnsdag) is no official holiday in the Netherlands, meaning it's no official day off. Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is also celebrated in the Netherlands.

Does Amsterdam celebrate Valentine's Day? ›

Amsterdam is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so being here for Valentine's Day is an opportunity not to be missed. Cosy up for dinner, take a boat cruise, get married for a day, or just stroll through the old cobblestoned streets this Valentine's week in Amsterdam.

In which country is Valentine's day called Lover's day? ›

Brazil does not celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, as it falls too close to the weeklong Carnival celebration. However, June 12 is "Dia dos enamorados" ("Lovers' day"), where couples exchange gifts, cards, and candy.

In what country is Valentine's day often called boyfriends girlfriends day? ›

Brazil. Brazil is another country that has their own unique day dedicated to love. It's called Dia dos Namorados, which is translated as “Lovers' Day”, “Day of the Enamored”, or “Boyfriends'/Girlfriends' Day”.

Why is February 14 special? ›

It originated as a Christian feast day honoring a martyr named Valentine, and through later folk traditions it has also become a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

Who will a woman marry if she sees a robin on Valentine's Day? ›

Once upon a time, people believed that if a woman saw a robin on a flight on Valentine's Day, she would soon marry a sailor. If she sees a sparrow, she will marry an orphan and be very happy. But if she sees a goldfinch, it means she will marry a millionaire.

What is white Valentine's Day? ›

White Day is celebrated annually on March 14, one month after Valentine's Day, when people give reciprocal gifts to those who gave them gifts on Valentine's Day.

What is the special day in the Netherlands? ›

Public holidays in the Netherlands
DateEnglish nameDutch name
27 AprilKing's DayKoningsdag
5 MayLiberation DayBevrijdingsdag
40 days after EasterAscension DayHemelvaartsdag
7 weeks after EasterPentecostPinksteren
4 more rows

What is the biggest Dutch holiday? ›

The Dutch love a good party, which is why King's Day may very well be the best party in the Netherlands. It's a national holiday and celebrates King Willem-Alexander's birthday with lots of music, dancing, flea markets and fun fairs. We traditionally celebrate this holiday while dressed in orange.

What Dutch holiday is today? ›

Today – 1 May 2024 – is not a holiday in the Netherlands. Discover upcoming public holiday dates for the Netherlands and start planning to make the most of your time off.

What is Amsterdam in February? ›

Amsterdam's cooler and wetter weather in February may put somewhat of a dampener on many plans of spending your trip exploring the iconic canals and squares of the city, but that also makes it a perfect time to explore the inner world of the Dutch capital.

Is Amsterdam a city of love? ›

Step aside Paris, Amsterdam is the new city of love. Countless stories full of wonder, love and intrigue are hidden behind every stone of the city's most famous buildings.

Is Amsterdam for couples? ›

Good choice! One of Europe's most picturesque cities, there are plenty of things for couples to do there!

How is Valentine's day supposed to be celebrated? ›

Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends. Couples send Valentine's Day cards and flowers and spend special time together to honour their love for each other.

How do lovers celebrate Valentine's day? ›

There are lots more ways for people to celebrate Valentine's Day and express their love for one another, outside of customs and clichés! Simple acts like sending a handwritten message can often make people smile more than commercialized ones filled with cards, chocolates, and pricey presents.

How is Valentine's day celebrated in Europe? ›

Valentine's Day in Spain

In Spain, Valentine's Day traditions are very similar to those in Italy and much of the western world with love letters, flowers and romantic dinners. However, Catalonia stands out with its unique tradition. In this Spanish region, a version of Valentine's Day is observed on April 23rd.

What are German traditions for Valentine's day? ›

Here are 5 traditions from around the world to inspire you to do something different this 14th February. Germans celebrate Valentine's Day by exchanging gifts of chocolates, flowers and pigs. Yep, you read it right, pigs.


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