Keeping warm through the winter - Winterized terrace culture has started!

Like many European cities, Amsterdam has a charming terrace culture. Especially during the winter!

Published by Mio on 24/11/2015

Terrasje pakken ‘Let’s grab a terrace’, is a deeply-rooted request you’ll hear locals say on beautiful summer days, after working hours, and yes even on cold dreary winter nights.

Image courtesy to Leonie Proeft

Hibernating at home seems like a thing in the past. Since a couple of years the Amsterdam’s terrace culture is not just limited to the summertime thanks to the fine heaters and fluffy blankets.

Unlike the rest of the Netherlands, institutional caterers in Amsterdam weren’t allowed to set up winter terraces or winter gardens due to energy consumption regulations. But ever since we got the green light a few years back many café’s have been making quite an effort to prep their terraces to be cozy, comfy and above all… warm.

Besides warming up the alfresco terraces, there are some places that make sure to add that little extra ‘umph’ in making winter a special season to enjoy outdoors.

Image courtesy to iceamsterdam

For some of these cafeterias there’s more to it than heaters and string lights.

What are the trends and what can you expect?

Frosty Activities

The Dutch are known to be passionate ice skaters. You can even tell by the amount of Dutch paintings depicting ice-skating people in among others the Rijksmuseum. You’ll probably also bump into several ice skating rinks throughout the city with a nicely heated terrace.

A very special terrace with an ice skating rink is the one on the 85m high roof terrace (with an awesome view) of bar restaurant Floor17 . They altered the roof terrace into a true winter garden. And if your friends aren’t into sliding over this 80 square meter synthetic ice rink you can just leave them at the bar.


“People want to enjoy or experience something, also during winter. Enthusiasts can enjoy our heated terrace every Friday and Saturday with home made stamppot, special beers, and live music.” – Melle Schellekens (f&b director Floor17)

Image courtesy to Mark Kuipers

Winterish Dishes

According to food trend watcher Marjan Ippel a winter terrace should also include a matching menu, like the stamppot they serve at Floor17. Think of firm winter soups, warm punches and seasonings that will spice you up.


“Great examples are Waterkant, you can tell from a distance that the winter terrace looks lively and cozy, and Roest with its outdoor bonfire and grilling and roasting on a spit. “ – Marjan Ippel

Another bar/restaurant that knows how to get you into a winterish realm is De Herengracht. They organize winterish food events in their winter garden such as the “Let’s go wild” event which takes you back to the primitive wild boar from the spit and beer pullen era. And the “Ze smelten de kazen” cheese fondue event with bratwurst from the grill.

Food brings people into communion like art and music.

Image courtesy to ByLauri

Magical Experiences

There’s something magical about the winter season. Nordics really know how to celebrate this season through fantasy and myths, but so do the people at the NDSM-wharf. The area is far from having a winter nap and the terraces at both café Noorderlicht and Pllek have a beautiful bonfire where you can gather around and enjoy one of the many theater shows, storytellers and art exhibitions accompanied with live music, food events, and more.

Another place in north Amsterdam that’s an old ship-wharf with an awesome winter terrace concept is De Ceuvel.

Happy Healthy Winter

De Ceuvel is an alternative and creative breeding ground that organizes many activities throughout the year.  They’re known to organize winter grill food events with warm sangrias, but also for re-imagining their terrace into a ‘health resort’ with outdoor sauna cabin and hot tub, and a detox menu for example. 

The cafes mentioned above showcase creative ways of making use of their winter terraces, but if you simply want to grab a pint with friends on a heated terrace, nothing more nothing less, you’ll find plenty of those throughout the city of Amsterdam as well.

The official winter terrace season runs from the first of November until the first of March. What are your favorites? Let us know!

-Mio-

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