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Dutch Holidays – Key Dates for 2018 & 2019

Categories: Culture

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The Dutch have a variety of national, public and other holidays to keep track of. Whether you’ve just moved to the lowlands, or have lived here all your life, knowing the below list of key dates will save you the embarrassment of going to work when you don’t have to.

2018

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day / Nieuwjaarsdag January 1
Good Friday / Goede Vrijdag March 30
Easter Sunday / Eerste Paasdag April 1 (not a public holiday)
Easter Monday / Tweede Paasdag April 2
Kings Day / Koningsdag April 27
National Remembrance Day / Dodenherdenking May 4 (not a public holiday)
Liberation Day / Bevrijdingsdag May 5
Whit Pentecost Sunday / Eerste Pinksterdag May 20 (not a public holiday)
Whit Pentecost Monday / Tweede Pinksterdag May 21
Sinterklaas December 5 (not a public holiday)
Christmas Day / Eerste Kerstdag December 25
Boxing Day / Tweede Kerstdag December 26
New Year’s Eve / Oudejaarsavond December 31 (not a public holiday)

 

2019 

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day / Nieuwjaarsdag January 1
Good Friday / Goede Vrijdag April 19
Easter Sunday / Eerste Paasdag April 21 (not a public holiday)
Easter Monday / Tweede Paasdag April 22
Kings Day / Koningsdag April 27
National Remembrance Day / Dodenherdenking May 4 (not a public holiday)
Liberation Day / Bevrijdingsdag May 5
Whit Pentecost Sunday / Eerste Pinksterdag June 9 (not a public holiday)
Whit Pentecost Monday / Tweede Pinksterdag June 10
Sinterklaas December 5 (not a public holiday)
Christmas Day / Eerste Kerstdag December 25
Boxing Day / Tweede Kerstdag December 26
New Year’s Eve / Oudejaarsavond December 31 (not a public holiday)

 

Things to Know About the Holiday Season 

Gourmetten

One thing the Dutch love during the holiday season is cooking miniature-sized meats on a tabletop frying pan. Supermarkets make it easy to become involved by supplying packets of pre-cut meat, ready to fry. It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends during the holidays.

Christmas Markets

Fill your belly with mulled wine and oliebollen, while wandering around market stalls lit up by sparkling fairly-lights. The Dutch have perfected Christmas markets, which are dotted around the country during the holiday season. They’re the perfect way to spend a night, and are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Oliebollen

These doughy, fried balls of deliciousness can be found everywhere in the lead up to New Years. Personally, I think they should have dedicated stalls year-round (my waistline disagrees). These lekker treats come in a variety of fillings, including raisins and apples. Sprinkle powdered sugar over them to really get your taste buds tingling.

Kings Day

On Kings Day (formally Queens Day) the entire Netherlands gets painted orange. One of the greatest celebrations on the Dutch calendar, this national holiday is one massive street party. The canals become swamped with boats filled with partygoers, while every square becomes an open-air festival.

Whether you plan on grabbing a bargain at Europe’s largest flea market, or soaking in the sounds of the Dutch DJs, King’s Day guarantees a good time.

Get Creative

One of the best things about Sinterklaas is the tradition of making a creative surprise. Usually, families will draw their gift-receiver at random. They then create an arts and crafts surprise that relates to that person (think paper-mache and glitter), before hiding their present inside. The time and effort that goes into making the surprise is a really lovely gesture, and more important than the gift itself.

Search ‘Sinterklaas Surprise’ on Pinterest for some extremely creative examples.

Nieuwjaarsduik 

Do as the Dutch and brave the chilly waters of Scheveningen beach on New Years Day. Known as the New Year’s Dive, thousands of shivering Dutchies don orange Unox beanies and run into the ocean to celebrate the start of a new year.

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