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Dutch Public Holidays and National Celebrations in 2024

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Dutch Public Holidays and National Celebrations in 2024

The Netherlands, known for its rich history and vibrant culture, celebrates many public holidays throughout the year. These public holidays, including national and Christian holidays, are not just days off work but are filled with unique traditions and customs that reflect Dutch heritage.

Understanding Holland holidays will help you integrate better and enjoy your stay in the Netherlands. This guide will take you through the main Dutch public holidays, how they are celebrated, and what you need to know about them in 2024.

National Dutch Holidays 2024

Dutch Holidays 2024Date
New Year’s Day / NieuwjaarsdagJanuary 1
 Good Friday / Goede VrijdagMarch 29
Easter Sunday / Eerste PaasdagMarch 31
Easter Monday / Tweede PaasdagApril 1
King’s Day / KoningsdagApril 27
National Remembrance Day / DodenherdenkingMay 4 (not an official holiday)
Liberation Day / BevrijdingsdagMay 5 (official holiday every 5 years; next in 2025)
Ascension Day / HemelvaartsdagMay 9
Whit (Pentecost) Sunday / Eerste PinksterdagMay 19
Whit (Pentecost) Monday / Tweede PinksterdagMay 20
SinterklaasDecember 5 (not an official holiday)
Christmas Day / Eerste KerstdagDecember 25
Boxing Day / Tweede KerstdagDecember 26
New Year’s Eve / OudejaarsavondDecember 31 (not an official holiday)

New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaarsdag)

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New Year’s Day, celebrated on January 1, marks the beginning of the year with a festive spirit. The Dutch welcome the New Year with fireworks at midnight, lighting up the sky to signify new beginnings. One unique tradition is the Nieuwjaarsduik, where thousands of people dive into the icy North Sea.

Families gather to celebrate with hearty meals and toast to new beginnings. As this is an official holiday, most employees enjoy a day off to relax and spend time with loved ones.

Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag)

Good Friday, observed on March 29, 2024, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many attend church services to mark this solemn day, and it is generally quieter, with some businesses closing early. The observance of Good Friday varies, as not everyone has the day off; this depends on the collective labour agreement, the employment contract, and the employer’s policies.

Easter Sunday and Monday (Eerste en Tweede Paasdag)

Easter Sunday and Monday, falling on March 31 and April 1, respectively, in 2024, are significant Christian holidays celebrated with great enthusiasm. Easter in the Netherlands involves egg hunts, Easter brunches, and attending church services.

Families gather for meals, and children enjoy hunting for decorated eggs. Both days are official holidays, and employees typically have these days off to celebrate with their families.

King’s Day (Koningsdag)

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King’s Day, celebrated on April 27, honours King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. This vibrant Dutch national holiday sees the entire country turn orange, with people participating in street markets, parades, and concerts.

The day is filled with national pride and festivities, making it one of the most anticipated holidays in the Netherlands. As a national holiday, most businesses close, allowing everyone to join in the celebrations on this well-known Dutch national holiday.

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)

Liberation Day, one of the Dutch national holidays, on May 5, commemorates the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in 1945. The day is marked by music festivals, cultural events, and remembrance ceremonies held throughout the country.

It is an official holiday every five years, with the next official holiday being in 2025. In other years, it was only a free day for most employees, depending on their employer and the collective labour agreement.

Ascension Day (Hemelvaartsdag)

Ascension Day, celebrated on May 9, commemorates the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. This day is marked by traditions such as early morning walks or bike rides known as dauwtrappen, family gatherings, and attending church services. As an official holiday, most employees have a day off to participate in these activities.

Whit Sunday and Monday (Eerste en Tweede Pinksterdag)

Whit Sunday and Monday, observed on May 19 and 20, respectively, celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. These days are marked by church services, family gatherings, and various outdoor activities. Both days are legal holidays in the Netherlands, and employees typically enjoy these days off to spend time with family and friends.

Sinterklaas

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Sinterklaas, celebrated on December 5, is a beloved Dutch tradition, especially for children. This day honours St. Nicholas and is marked by gift-giving, poems, and special treats like pepernoten and chocolate letters. Although it is widely celebrated, Sinterklaas is not an official holiday, so it is a normal working day for most people.

Christmas (Kerstmis)

Christmas in the Netherlands is celebrated over two days, December 25 and 26, known as Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The holiday is characterized by family gatherings, festive meals, Christmas markets, and attending church services. The Dutch focus on family and togetherness during this time. Both days are official holidays, and most employees have these days off to celebrate.

Other National Dutch Holidays You Should Know About

National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking), observed on May 4, is a day to commemorate those who died in WWII and subsequent conflicts. At 8 PM, two minutes of silence are observed across the country, and various ceremonies take place. This day is not an official holiday, so it is a normal working day.

New Year’s Eve (Oudejaarsavond), on December 31, is celebrated with fireworks, parties, and traditional Dutch treats like oliebollen. It is not an official holiday, so it is a normal working day for most people.

Practical Information for Expats

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Dutch public holidays reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. From national celebrations like King’s Day to religious observances like Easter, each holiday offers a unique glimpse into Dutch traditions.

As an expat, embracing these holidays can enrich your experience of living and working in the Netherlands.

Understanding how public holidays affect daily life can help you plan better. Whether an employee has a day off on public holidays can depend on their employment contract.

Many businesses, including banks and government offices, close on public holidays. Public transport schedules may vary, so it’s important to check in advance.

If you’re still considering moving to this country, explore job opportunities in the Netherlands and let us know if we can help you any further. 

Dutch National Holidays FAQs

How many public holidays does the Netherlands have?

The Netherlands has around 11 public holidays, but this can vary slightly each year.

What is the difference between a bank holiday and a public holiday?

A bank holiday typically refers to public holidays on which banks are closed, but in the Netherlands, the term is less commonly used.

Does the Netherlands have Labour Day?

No, Labour Day (May 1) is not an official holiday in the Netherlands.

Is Sinterklaas a public holiday?

No, Sinterklaas on December 5 is not an official holiday, but it is widely celebrated.

How many bank holidays does the Netherlands have?

The concept of “bank holidays” is not commonly used, but there are around 11 public holidays in the Netherlands.

How many official holidays are there in the Netherlands?

There are several official holidays, including New Year’s Day, King’s Day, Liberation Day (every five years), Ascension Day, and Christmas.

Are national holidays paid in the Netherlands?

Yes, national holidays in the Netherlands are typically paid holidays.

What is the biggest Dutch holiday?

King’s Day is considered one of the biggest and most widely celebrated holidays in the Netherlands.

What is the Dutch holiday every five years?

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated as an official holiday every five years.

What is Whit Monday in the Netherlands?

Whit Monday (Tweede Pinksterdag) is the day after Pentecost Sunday and is an official public holiday in the Netherlands.

12.06.2024

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