New Years Day

January 1st, 2015

On December 31 the Dutch tradition is to eat 'oliebollen' (a kind of doughnut with spice and dried fruit) and 'appelbeignets' (also a kind of doughnut filled with apple). At midnight the sky is lit up with fireworks (this is the only time fireworks are allowed in Holland). Expect lots of partying, lots of fun and lots of noise!


April 22, 2015

April 3rd is Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag), April 5th is Easter Sunday (1e Paasdag) and April 6th is Easter Monday (2e Paasdag). Good Friday is not a public holiday although employers often make this a compulsory holiday, or have early closing. Most shops are open. Easter Monday is a public holiday and everything is closed, although most of the major cities are busy with weekend tourists. Traditionally at Easter Dutch households buy a willow twig and decorate it with lots of plastic eggs, 
bunny rabbits and Easter chicks.

king's Day (Koninginnedag)

April 27, 2015

This is the birthday of the Queen Mother Juliana. The present King, has kept this date in honour of her. Almost every town has a fun fair during the days leading up to King's Day. The 'Oranjeverenigingen' (Associations of Orange) organize parties, pop concerts, sporting events and cultural festivities. The most notable event, however, is the free market (vrijmarkt). On April 30 all Dutch people are permitted by law to sell goods on the street. The King, in whose name this gigantic spectacle is organized, always visits two towns in the country. These are selected well in advance and the population will have prepared for months.

Remembrance Day (Nationale Doodherdenking)

May 4, 2015

Although this is a normal working day, at 8pm there is a remembrance service for the dead in the Second World War and a two minutes silence is called for, even on the roads.

Liberation Day (Nationale Bevrijdingdag)

May 5, 2015

This marks the day of the liberation of Holland after the Second World War. Every 5 years this is a public holiday and the next time is in 2015

Mothering Sunday (Moedersdag)

May 10, 2015

On the second Sunday in May, the Dutch honour their mothers.

Ascension Day (hemelsvaartdag)

May 5, 2015

This is always on a Thursday. A catholic holiday, but nevertheless a public holiday. A lot of employers will make the following Friday an obligatory holiday as well. Many people take the day off anyway where it is not obligatory and make a long weekend.

Whitsun (Pinksteren)

May 24th/25th, 2015

Also a catholic holiday this is always on a Sunday and Monday. It is most notably remembered for the huge pop festival Pinkpop in the south of Holland. Bands come from all over the world and there is camping, partying and hundreds of thousands of partygoers enjoy a full 2 days of excellent music and fun. Previous bands included, Pulp, The Rolling Stones, The Verve, Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, Faithless, Kane, Macy Gray, Bush and Lenny Kravitz.. More info on this years bands can be found on

Fathers day (Vadersdag)

June 21, 2015

On the third Sunday in June the Dutch honour their fathers.


December 5, 2015

On the Saturday following November 11 Sinterklaas celebrations begin when Saint Nicholas, accompanied by his Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) helpers, arrives on a steam boat from Spain. They normally arrive into a city harbour amongst much singing and a carnival atmosphere, followed by a procession in the main streets. Each evening between his arrival and December 5 th children leave their shoes by the fireplace hoping to receive a small present - but they must beware - if they have been naughty their punishment is to be taken away by Zwarte Piet. On December 5th families give children presents in the evening. Along with the presents adults and older children receive anonymous poems. You may find this tradition in an office party where you will have to buy a (inexpensive) present anonymously for a colleague and write a poem (which can be quite sarcastic). Chocolate letters, Speculaaspoppen, Pepernoten and chocolate milk are an absolute must.


December 25 and 26, 2015

Christmas is becoming more and more popular as the time to give presents, although nobody wants to give up Sinterklaas. Presents are generally left under the tree for family members to open on Christmas morning.Christmas Day and Boxing Day are bank holidays, but unfortunately if they fall at the weekend, as they do this year, you do not get the following workdays off.

Saint Nicholas, accompanied by his Zwarte Piet (Black Peter)