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What to pack for Amsterdam in January: complete packing list

Packing list for Amsterdam in January: learn what to pack for Amsterdam in January with our complete packing list.

We have shared before on this site our best tips for visiting Amsterdam in January.

Today, we dive deeper into one of the most essential aspects of getting you ready for your trip: packing!

Packing for Amsterdam in January requires a bit of skill, especially if you are used to traveling light.

Since January is a cold and wet month in Amsterdam, your packing is likely to be a little bulky; however, there are ways to minimize luggage charges while staying comfortable and stylish.

This packing list for Amsterdam in January has all you need to know!

Top tips for the perfect January packing list for Amsterdam

Embrace Amsterdam’s relaxed style and do not pack an excessive number of outfits for sightseeing/going out/ etc.

The Dutch are very relaxed so, unless you want to get changed every time, you can easily wear your sightseeing clothes when out too – just add accessories if you want to dress them up!

Opt for one excellent and versatile coat that can take you from day to night and protect you from the rain – see a list of suggestions below

Choose one main pair of versatile shoes that you can wear while sightseeing and will keep you comfortable and dry. Skip heels, completely impractical on Amsterdam’s cobbled streets!

Use packing cubes – if you have never used them before, take it from me: they are wonderful to pack lots of stuff in tiny suitcases!

Amsterdam packing list for January: travel essentials

Ten essential things to pack for Amsterdam are:

Travel documents and vaccination card

Travel documents, ID and vaccine record card are a must to visit Amsterdam.

It is important to have them on you when entering the country and it is also important to have them on you as you visit the city.

Having ID on you is a law requirement in Amsterdam and the vaccination card can be required to enter attractions and restaurants.

Rules about current restrictions change all the time so I recommend you keep an eye on the official Dutch Government Website Here.

Face covering

Currently, face coverings are mandatory indoors and on public transport in Amsterdam. You can easily get new ones in Amsterdam pharmacies and supermarkets; however, make sure you have your own so you are not caught out.

Comfortable, rain proof shoes

In Amsterdam, you will walk a lot and many streets are cobbled so comfortable walking shoes with good support are a must!

In all seasons, I recommend you opt for shoes with a rubber sole and good arch support.

In summer, I like Teva sandals or proper walking sneakers such as Sketchers Go Walk or Adidas fashion sneakers.

In fall and spring, I recommend ankle boots with rubber soles and in a rainproof material.

In the winter, ankle boots work well for men while, for women, I usually opt for tall boots with rubber soles and are able to take the rain.

If it snows in Amsterdam, you can usually deal with it with good winter shoes and do not need to pack snow boots.

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast a couple of days before your trip as, especially lately, foreseen what’ it going to be like in moody Amsterdam is exceptionally hard!

Crossbody bag

I highly recommend carrying a medium-size crossbody bag as your day bag of choice while visiting Amsterdam.

This will be a safe and comfortable item to have with you all your daily essentials, it will be easy to keep safe when on public transport and you will be able to keep with you when visiting Amsterdam museums.

Amsterdam is a very safe city so you do not need to get an anti-theft bag, unless it gives you extra peace of mind.

Travel umbrella

In Amsterdam in January, it rains a lot!

While the city gets fantastic sunny days, it is very common to find yourself under the rain in Amsterdam in pretty much any season.

In many cases, the rain comes in the form of showers and will start and stop several times during the day, but it may last for quite a while and you will need the shelter of an umbrella.

A lightweight travel umbrella is usually enough unless the wind picks up. I usually have a lightweight travel umbrella in my day bag any time I see grey sky in the morning!

Scarf or pashmina

You may not need a scarf or pashmina in the height of summer; however, I find this to be a very useful item pretty much all year round in Amsterdam.

I love those that are large enough that you can wrap them around your shoulders and have an extra layer should the temperature suddenly drop.

Cash and card

In Amsterdam, you should carry both cash and card.

Some purchases are card only (public transport tickets on the tram are a good example. Read here >>> my Amsterdam public transport guide for visitors) but cash will be handy on several occasions.

Amsterdam is still very much cash-oriented: big hotels and restaurants accept credit cards but you want to have cash or card with a PIN for purchases in shops, cafes, etc.

You can find ATM machines to withdraw cash in several locations around town.

International travel adaptor

If you are traveling from overseas, I recommend you pack an international travel adaptor. In Amsterdam, you have two-pin sockets: for the best value and versatility, I recommend you get hold of an international travel adaptor that you can then use again and again on all your travels.

Extra battery pack for your phone

If you are anything like me, you will have your phone in use pretty much constantly while in Amsterdam, for maps and photos!

I always pack an extra battery: opt for one with several ports if you have several devices.

A high visibility band

I have learned this trick from a local friend and I found it priceless for Amsterdam.

In January, Amsterdam can be rather dark and, if you are wearing a dark coat, this can result in bikes not seeing you and running you over (this is especially true if you are not familiar with Amsterdam bike lanes and walk on one!

A high visibility bank around your arm is an inexpensive, easy to pack and practical way to minimize risk.

Toiletries and medications

To help you pack, this is a list of toiletries to pack for your trip:

  • Face wash
  • Face cream day/night – opt for one with wind and protection if you can
  • Body wash / shampoo / conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Brush / Comb
  • Hair ties
  • Shaving essentials
  • Feminine products
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste / floss
  • Tweezers
  • Make up and make up remover if using
  • Perfume if using
  • Hands cream for relief after a long day out
  • Essential medications and prescription: make sure you have the generic name of whatever medication you use at home: this will speed up any refill you may need to get while in Amsterdam

What to pack for Amsterdam in January – clothing essentials

In winter, I recommend you wrap up well and dress in layers and a rainproof coat/jacket.

Bicycles covered in snow in Amsterdam in winter

In particular, to visit Amsterdam in January you need:

  • Underwear
  • Warm socks / tights
  • Thermal top – this may not be necessary if you are used to very cold weather but I find it essential for long hours sightseeing
  • Long sleeve top
  • Short sleeve top for layering
  • Long pants/ trousers / woolen skirt / dress
  • Warm woolen sweater / hoodie
  • Warm jacket
  • Scarf, gloves, hat
  • Travel umbrella
  • Warm pajama for the night
  • Comfortable, rain proof boots
  • If traveling with small kids, I recommend a winter suite, footmuff and rain cover for the stroller

In Amsterdam in winter snow is possible. While usually, it doesn’t fall enough to require full-on snow gear, it is essential to have a jacket and shoes that can take it.

The best winter coat for Amsterdam in January

The best winter coats for Amsterdam are warm and rainproof.

I recommend you opt for long-ish coats that cover you to your knees (or below, if you can carry that style) and with a hood.

The one that works best for me is a Columbia parka with rainproof exterior lining: perfect all winter long and reasonably versatile.

The best shoes for Amsterdam in January

The best shoes for Amsterdam in January are flat, comfortable and rainproof.

I love knee-high boots (you can opt for lined ones, but this is usually not needed) or ankle boots, which work well for men and women.

I recommend not to bring heels and to leave sneakers for the drier season: they won’t last long in Amsterdam’s rain!

What to pack for visiting Amsterdam in January with kids

If visiting Amsterdam with kids in January, I recommend you pack:

  • Winter clothes, including hat, gloves and scarf/neck warmer
  • Rain proof shoes
  • All-terrain stroller with stroller footmuff and rain cover
  • Baby carrier + carrier winter cover
  • Practical changing bag – I find backpack diaper bags work best in the city
  • Blanky/comforter

I hope you enjoyed this packing list and it helped you plan what to pack for Amsterdam in January. Safe travel planning!

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