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Official holidays in the Netherlands

The official holidays in the Netherlands

It’s almost time for holiday season! Did you know we celebrate Christmas three days long (Christmas Eve, December 25 and 26)? It is probably a little different than you used to. Besides Christmas, there are also some other holidays in the Netherlands which are a little bit different then you are used to compared to your home country. In the Netherlands we have national holidays, New Years day and some Christian holidays. You will have a day off if the law has established the holiday. We will explain more about which holidays we have and when you will officially have a day off!

Carnaval

When: February

Carnaval is a festival mainly held in the Southern and Eastern regions of the Netherlands. It is originated from the Catholic Church. This day there are several parades and people will party in costumes: if you are not used to it, it can be a bit overwhelming. If you would like to know more about the background of Carnaval, read here. Except if you live in the Southern and Eastern regions in the Netherlands, you won’t officially have a day off.

Good Friday

When: April

This holiday is on Friday before easter. On this day the Christians will commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

Easter Sunday and Easter Monday

When: April

You will probably know easter from the Easter bunny who will bring you Easter eggs. But on Easter Christians celebrate this day from their belief that Jesus rose from the dead, on the third day after his crucifixion.

King’s Day

When: April 27th

On this national holiday we celebrate the birthday of Willem-Alexander, our head of state. On this day there are a lot of markets where people sell their old stuff, you can visit multiple fairs and parties and Holland will be orange all over. If April 27th will be on Sunday, Holland will celebrate it on the Saturday before.

Liberation Day

When: May 5th

This is a national holiday where we celebrate the liberation from the German occupation in the Netherlands in 1945. With an official liberation fire from de major of Wageningen the start of the fourteen liberation festivals will be officially openend. If you want more information about this holiday, we recommend this article.

Ascension Day

When: 39 days after Easter

In the Christian community the ascension to God is commemorated, thirty-nine days after his resurrection from the dead. The celebration is part of the Easter cycle.

Whit Sunday and Whit Monday

When: 7th Sunday after Easter (or the 49th day after Easter)

These two days are also Christian holidays, where they commemorate the ‘start of the Christian church’.

St. Nicholas (‘Sinterklaas’)

When: December 5th.

This holiday is especially for children. St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas) ‘arrives’ on his boat from Spain in November and will bring children presents, sweets (‘kruidnoten’ and ‘pepernoten’). This holiday would end on December 5th when we celebrated it extensively with a lot of presents. It is a little bit what Santa is for children in other countries. Note: you won’t officially have a day off.

Christmas Day & 2nd Day of Christmas

When: December 25th and 26th

We probably don’t have to explain in detail what and how we celebrate this holiday. But this holiday is officially a Christian holiday. It is the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.

New Years day

When: January 1st

We will end the year with New Years’ eve and start the new year with New Years day on the 1st of January. You will have a day off on New Years day.

If you do have any questions regarding the holidays in the Netherlands, please contact us by phone or e-mail!

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