Abundant with lights, trees and decorations the cosy, underground Christmas market is the ultimate festive wonderland. In 2013 Father Christmas again took up residence in the Velvet Cave, where everyone is welcome to visit.
The organisers have an exhibitor policy to ensure a diverse range of special Christmas and gift items including cribs in many designs, mouth-blown ornaments, carved decorations and do-it-yourself Christmas cards. Don't forget to stock up on Belgian chocolates to add extra luxury to your Christmas at home.
When visiting the market in the Velvet Cave you can also enjoy the mural paintings, sculptures and 18th century chapel. You can also see the Valkenburg Castle - the Netherlands' only hilltop castle. The shops and restaurants also have convenient opening hours during market time so visitors can really enjoy the town.
Things you may want to know :
Number of stalls: About 60
Coach parking: Yes
Convenient ferry ports: Calais, Rotterdam or Zeebrugge
Closest airport: Maastricht Aachen Airport
Market web page: Christmas Market Velvet Cave
To start planning your trip:
What year was your Christmas market established?
How many visitors do you have approximately?
Every year more than 125,000 people from home and abroad come to our special underground Xmas Market.
How many stalls do you have approximately?
This year there will be 60 stalls as we have extended the route.
Why do people love your Christmas market?
It's an underground Market, so this is a unique location. We put a lot of time, love and energy in making beautiful decorations which fit perfectly in our theme. We therefore have our special design theme. Also we try to be unique in the products our stallholders present to the public.
Is there a theme to your market this year?
In 2012 the theme is "Santa's Home".
How do you decide upon the theme?
In the early year we gain ideas for the coming Christmas Market together with our design team. Finally one theme comes forward and then we start working to create a beautiful market for our guests. The theme reflects the interests of different target groups.
What kind of goods are on offer?
Our exhibitor policy provides a diverse range of special Christmas and gift items like cribs in many designs, mouth-blown Christmas ornaments, carved Xmas decorations, do-it-yourself Christmas cards, marl articles, Belgian chocolates and other goodies.
What socio-economic benefits does your Christmas market bring to your region?
The Stichting Kasteel van Valkenburg (Valkenburg Castle Foundation) was founded in 1924 with the objectives of preserving the Velvet Cave and the ruins of Valkenburg Castle (the Netherlands' only hilltop castle), as they are now, for future generations and keeping both of these national monuments safe and accessible. All proceeds from this activity goes towards the maintenance and preservation of these unique pieces of cultural heritage. Also the town Valkenburg profits, because a lot of people from all over the world come to Valkenburg.
How do you prioritise small businesses and local artisans having stalls?
Every year we try to create an appropriate relationship with our (local) artisans and of course the other companies provided that they all fit within the theme and its appearance.
From an overseas visitor's perspective, how do you want people to perceive your destination?
As a unique underground location in which one is immersed in a warm Christmas atmosphere.
Does the market have a positive knock-on effect with other activities and events throughout the year?
Many people who visit our Christmas Market get to know our Castle Ruins and Velvet Cave. Both locations are open all year round and of course we organize all sorts of extra activities during the year.
How do you address fair trade - if at all?
At our Christmas Market we have some companies who sell fair trade items.
What do you enjoy most about organising a Christmas market?
To translate a theme into a beautiful, underground fairytale where young and old have fun.
What are the biggest challenges in organising a Christmas market?
Creating a good concept / theme and translate this into the decoration and present a varying range of products.
What three words best describe your Christmas market?
Decoration, Cave, different products.
Is there anything unique about your market and/or region?
The unique part of this Market is the underground perspective.
Why do you think Christmas markets are especially good for group, coach travel?
The Christmas Market takes place underground which makes this a unique location. The Christmas theme appeals to both young and old and for every budget there's a gift to buy. We also have a pleasant cooperation with tour operators from home and abroad for several years. During the Christmas Market whole Valkenburg is in Christmas sphere through the Christmas decorations and special activities. Also shops and restaurants have convenient opening hours during this period which enables people to easily spend a half or whole day in Valkenburg.
This year our Christmas Market takes place from the 15th of November until the 23rd of December 2013. The theme this year is "Santa's Home". Please visit the Valkenburg Christmas market page for more information.