High-resolution palynological analysis on annually laminated sediments of Sihailongwan Maar Lake (SHL) provides new insights into the Holocene vegetation and climate dynamics of NE China. The robust chronology of the presented record is based on varve counting and AMS radiocarbon dates from terrestrial plant macro-remains. In addition to the qualitative interpretation of the pollen data, we provide quantitative reconstructions of vegetation and climate based on the method of biomization and weighted averaging partial least squares regression (WA-PLS) technique, respectively. Power spectra were computed to investigate the frequency domain distribution of proxy signals and potential natural periodicities. Pollen assemblages, pollen-derived biome scores and climate variables as well as the cyclicity pattern indicate that NE China experienced significant changes in temperature and moisture conditions during the Holocene. Within the earliest phase of the Holocene, a large-scale reorganization of vegetation occurred, reflecting the reconstructed shift towards higher temperatures and precipitation values and the initial Holocene strengthening and northward expansion of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM). Afterwards, summer temperatures remain at a high level, whereas the reconstructed precipitation shows an increasing trend until approximately 4000 cal. yr BP. Since 3500 cal. yr BP, temperature and precipitation values decline, indicating moderate cooling and weakening of the EASM. A distinct periodicity of 550–600 years and evidence of a Mid–Holocene transition from a temperature-triggered to a predominantly moisture-triggered climate regime are derived from the power spectra analysis. The results obtained from SHL are largely consistent with other palaeoenvironmental records from NE China, substantiating the regional nature of the reconstructed vegetation and climate patterns. However, the reconstructed climate changes contrast with the moisture evolution recorded in S China and the mid-latitude (semi-)arid regions of N China. Whereas a clear insolation-related trend of monsoon intensity over the Holocene is lacking from the SHL record, variations in the coupled atmosphere-Pacific Ocean system can largely explain the reconstructed changes in NE China.