When you come to the Netherlands, you will soon be introduced to new events and traditions. The country has become a mix of different cultures and races. It sticks to its own historical traditions, but at the same time is open to new ideas, people and habits. Below we describe some important Dutch holidays to give you an idea of what to expect. Do you have questions about anything? Or would you like to discuss something else, for example about your work, your living situation, the language or your family in your homeland? Then get in touch with us. We are happy to help you!
1. Good Friday is the first one coming up, the 7th of April. This day is rooted in Christianity and is celebrated on the Friday before Easter. It is the day Jesus Christ was crucified. Be aware this is not a national holiday, if you are free of work depends on the planning of your project.
2. Easter: this is celebrated for religious purposes because of Christ's resurrection. The theme is Spring so you will see a lot of pastel colors, chicks and of course the Easter bunny. Children paint eggs and search for (chocolate) eggs during the Easter egg hunt. The second day of Easter is a Monday and also a national holiday. Always check if your project is also closing.
3. King's Day: On April 27th we celebrate the King's birthday. During this day, people wear orange clothes and there are parties and festivals everywhere. Free markets are popular where people sell their unnecessary stuff. This is usually a free day of work.
4. Liberation Day: on May 5th we celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation in 1945. Every 5 years this is a national holiday, the next will be in 2025.
5. Pentecost: commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and is often celebrated with festivals such as Pinkpop. Like Easter, the second day (Monday) is also a national Holiday.
6. Ascension Day: commemorates the day Jesus Christ ascended to God, 39 days after His resurrection. It is observed 40 days after Easter each year.
7. Prinsjesdag: not a public holiday, but the day when the royal family is seen publicly in their golden carriage as they travel to the Grote Kerk in The Hague. The king makes a public speech presenting the cabinet's plans for the coming year.
8. Sint Maarten: a holiday for children similar to Halloween, where children go past the doors dressed up and sing songs in exchange for candy. It is celebrated on November 11th.
9. Sinterklaas: a well-known and traditional celebration in the Netherlands. It is a celebration mainly focused on children and revolves around giving gifts and candy. ‘Sinterklaasavond’ is celebrated on the 5th of December with family and friends. Surprises and poems are often exchanged. However, the figure of ‘zwarte piet’ has been the subject of debate in recent years due to its association with racism and colonialism..
10. Christmas: is generally celebrated in the Netherlands as a Christian festival. On Christmas Eve many people go to church and on Christmas Day there is often an elaborate meal with family and friends. Christmas presents are also common. Besides the religious aspect, Christmas is also a time of conviviality, warmth and togetherness. During the last and first week of the year, many companies close.
11. New Year's Eve: The Dutch get together with family and friends to celebrate the New Year and eat oliebollen (doughnuts). Fireworks are also traditionally set off and some people take a New Year's dive into the ocean to start the new year fresh!
Source: EMTG health care