Dutch Language Blog

April and May: Public Holiday Heaven Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Culture

If you have lived in the Netherlands for any length of time, you probably have noticed that it isn’t a country blessed with many public holidays. Even worse, perhaps, is the fact that if one of those precious holidays falls on a weekend, the day off is basically lost.

It is understandable then why when there is a public holiday (and even better if it is combined with some sunny weather) everyone seems to flock outside with a huge grin on their face, relishing the moment.

The majority of public holidays in the Netherlands fall within the months of April and May, so just around the corner really. Most of these holidays are related to Easter and Pentecost.

So what holidays are there, when are they in 2012 and what are their Dutch names? Here’s a list:

2012 Date

English Name

Dutch Name

April 6th Good Friday Goede Vrijdag
April 8th Easter Sunday Eerste Paasdag
April 9th Easter Monday Tweede Paasdag
April 30th Queen’s Day Koninginnedag
May 17th Ascension Day Hemelvaartsdag
May 27th Pentecost Sunday Eerste Pinksterdag
May 28th Pentecost Monday Tweede Pinksterdag

One thing to mention is that Good Friday, whilst a national holiday, is not a mandatory day off for commercial companies. However, most government organisations, banks and insurance companies are closed on the day.

You have also probably noticed that similar to first and second Christmas day (Eerste Kerstdag and Tweede Kerstdag), Easter (Paasdag) is named in a similar fashion – first Easter day and second Easter day. You see that again on the relevant days of Pentecost (Pinksteren).

Queen’s Day, whilst it falls amongst all those Easter and Pentecost related holidays is not related to them. It is its own special event filled with alcohol and the colour orange. We will talk about that in a later post!

What’s your favourite Dutch public holiday?


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