The Netherlands celebrates several public holidays, ranging from New Year's Day to Christmas. Among the most prominent holidays are King's Day, which honours the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, and Liberation Day, which marks the end of World War II.
In addition to these national holidays, various regions within the country celebrate their own local holidays, such as Carnival in the southern provinces. As a result, many schools and businesses across the Netherlands shut down in observance of these festive occasions.
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Types of Dutch holidays
There are several types of holidays in the Netherlands, including:
Dutch public holidays
There are 7 public holidays recognised in The Netherlands, these include national holidays like Good Friday and Easter Monday plus two public holidays celebrated solely in The Netherlands. There are also additional regional public holidays observed in specific states in the Netherlands.
Dutch religious holidays
The Netherlands observes several religious holidays throughout the year, including Christian holidays such as Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost. Easter is celebrated as a two-day public holiday, with the first day being Easter Sunday, and the second day Easter Monday. Ascension Day, which falls 40 days after Easter, is also observed as a public holiday. Pentecost, which occurs seven weeks after Easter, is another religious holiday in the Netherlands.
In addition, Christmas is widely celebrated in the Netherlands as a religious holiday, with Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 26th) both observed as public holidays. While these holidays have religious significance, they are also celebrated in a more secular manner by many people in the Netherlands, with traditions such as Easter egg hunts and Christmas markets.
Easter in the Netherlands
Easter (Pascha) is a significant religious holiday in The Netherlands, celebrated with traditional processions, church services, and cultural events. Easter in The Netherlands is from April 7 - April 10, 2023. Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag) and Easter Monday (Tweede Paasdag) are public holidays.
In addition to the seven national holidays observed throughout the Netherlands, there are also several regional holidays specific to certain parts of the country. Carnival is celebrated in the southern provinces of Limburg and North Brabant, with parades, costumes, and street parties. King's Day is a national holiday, but the city of Amsterdam also celebrates with a "King's Night" the night before, which includes concerts and parties.
St. Nicholas' Eve is a holiday mainly celebrated in the northern parts of the Netherlands on December 5th, where children leave their shoes out overnight and receive small presents and sweets from "Sinterklaas" (St. Nicholas) and his helpers.
Finally, while Liberation Day is a national holiday, it is celebrated more extensively in the city of Wageningen, where the German surrender was signed on May 5th, 1945. These regional holidays reflect the diversity of traditions and customs throughout the Netherlands and are an important part of the country's cultural heritage.
The Netherlands also celebrates several secular holidays, including National Remembrance Day (May 4). Liberation Day (May 5), Labor Day, and Carnival (Feb 19 - 21). These holidays are usually observed with parades, fireworks, cultural events, and traditional foods.
List of holidays in the Netherlands
*May 5th is a paid holiday every five years, next in 2025.
Informal Dutch holidays
Carneval • Feb 19 – Feb 21, 2023
March Equinox • 20 Mar, 2023
Moederdag (Mother’s Day) • May 14, 2023
Vadertag • Jun 18, 2023
June Solstice • Jun 21, 2023
Keti Koti • Jul 1, 2023
Roodharigendag (Redhead Day) • August 25-27, 2023
September Equinox • Sep 23, 2023
December Solstice • Dec 22, 2023
How public holidays work in the Netherlands
The country recognises 7 national and regional public holidays. On public holidays, most shops, restaurants, and public institutions, including banks and post offices, are closed. However, there are some exceptions, such as grocery stores, which may have limited hours. Public transport operates on a reduced schedule, and it's essential to check the timetable beforehand.
Employers are required by law to provide their employees with a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation each year, but employers are not required to provide additional time off for public holidays. However, many employers do offer paid time off for public holidays as a benefit to their employees.
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