You’ve survived the Krampus, so now it’s time to celebrate with a little help from Dispatches Europe! At this time last year, our website went live after spending November on LinkedIn. It’s been quite a ride since then, and we can’t thank you all enough for coming along with us on the journey.
This week’s itinerary includes the first-ever appearance of the annual Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival in Amsterdam, Berlin’s annual modern craft fair, and more Christmas events than you can shake a stick at.
Amsterdam – Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival: For the first time in 2016, the annual Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival will make Amsterdam its home from Saturday through 5 February 2017. This year’s theme is “Music Inspires,” where ice sculptures as tall as 6 meters will dominate the 14° Fahrenheit scene.
Expect to see the likes of Prince, David Bowie, Mozart, and lots of crystal-clear instruments – all made with more than 550,000 kilograms of ice and snow by 42 international ice sculptors at Arena Boulevard this season.
Amsterdam Light Festival: Now through 22 January 2017, the canals and city center of Amsterdam will be aglow once more during the annual Amsterdam Light Festival.
Celebrating its fifth year in 2016, the festival will have over 35 light pieces from artists, designers and architects from all over the world on two exhibition routes: Water Colors (canal cruises) and Illuminade (walking tours). This year’s theme is “biomimicry,” the science where man-made objects and structures take cues from nature to solve “human problems.”
Barcelona – Greatest Hits Music TV: Does the Friends theme song make you want to dance in a fountain?
Do you still want to believe every time the haunting whistle of The X-Files theme kisses your ears?
Do you shed a few tears when the first notes of Hill Street Blues escape from the piano?
Then head over to Palau de la Música Catalana tonight for the Cinema Symphony Orchestra’s Greatest Hits Music TV concerto. The orchestra has performed throughout Europe, and “was specially created to perform the greatest hits of film and television for live audiences.”
Tickets range from 29€ to 56€.
Berlin – Zeughausmesse: Since 2004, the German History Museum Berlin’s Zeughaus has hosted its annual Zeughhausmesse decorative arts fair.
The fair runs from today through Sunday, offering “an opportunity for the wider public to meet practitioners of Modern Craft and to buy high quality objects of daily use.”
A jury chooses 85 artists to present their crafts to the public, four of whom will receive the Berlin Volksbank Prize for Decorative Art “to honor their exceptional achievements.”
Admission ranges from free to those under 18, to 8€.
Brussels – Winter Wonders (Plaisirs d’Hiver): Brussels has one of the biggest Christmas markets and winter festivities months in the world with Winter Wonders. Through 1 January 2017 at the Grand-Place, around the Bourse, the Place de la Monnaie, the Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons, behold the following:
- A Christmas market with more than 200 chalets
- Fairground attractions (Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, etc.)
- A covered ice rink for skating (Place de la Monnaie, till Sunday 8 January)
- A Christmas tree and sound and light show on the Grand-Place
- Impulsion: light and sound playground at the Bourse
- Guided visits (available in English)
- Origami Lights: Japanese video mapping (Sainte-Catherine Church)
In short, this is huge!
(Editor’s note: See our review of Plaisirs d’Hiver here on our list of Europe’s best Christmas markets.)
Copenhagen – Christmas in Tivoli Gardens: We just don’t have enough time and space to include all of Europe’s best Christmas festivals. But we can’t ignore this one.
Tivoli Gardens, of course, invented the concept of “amusement park” back in the mid-19th century, the inspiration for Walt Disney to create Disneyland. Today, Tivoli Gardens’ rides and attractions are one of the most-visited destinations in Europe. Now through 31 December, the park features over-the-top Christmas decorations and events at the park, which is lit by more than half a million lights.
Here are a few events:
• The Tivoli Christmas Light Show, with 16,000 lights, in the Chinese area was developed for the park and has never been shown anywhere else in Denmark, according to the Tivoli website. Songs played during the show are classic Christmas songs such as Jingle Bells, Let it Snow, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Sleigh Ride.
• Santa Claus visits for photos, and to receive Christmas lists from kids.
• Starting this weekend, there are performances of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Tivoli Concert Hall.
• There are Christmas parades and booths where kids can make cookies and cakes.
Tickets start at 110kr, or about $15. You can see all the package options here.
London – Christmas at Kew: Want to explore a magical winter wonderland in London? Head over to Kew Gardens for the fourth edition of Christmas at Kew.
The mile-long trail will be adorned with 60,000 lights; a choir of Christmas trees greeting you as you begin your journey; a tunnel of dancing illumination; and a karaoke jukebox full of Christmas cheer before exiting in front of the spectacular display at the Palm House.
Paris – Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées: This one started early last month, but better late than never, no?
Happen to feel the Christmas spirit in Paris? Take it over to the Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées.
Open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 to midnight and Friday through Saturday from 10:30 to 1:00.. One hundred sixty chalets from the Vosges dot the famous avenue between the Rond-point and the Place de la Concorde, filled with regional foods, toys, decor and so much more.
And of course, lots of Christmas lights to brighten your day.
Admission is free.
The market is scheduled to run until 8 January 2017.
Vienna – Scrooge: Based on the timeless Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, the musical Scrooge by Michael Schanze & Christian Berg returns to Vienna’s Halle E today through Sunday.
The musical follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a penny pincher who is visited by three ghosts over the course of a single night, taking him through time to unravel his story, and warning him of what could come if he does not change course.