Public Holidays in the Netherlands
On 5 May, the Bevrijdingsdag celebrate the end of the German occupation in the Second World War and the liberation of the former Dutch East Indies. The celebrations are associated with commemorative ceremonies, which are initiated the day before with the National Dodenherdenking.
The Netherlands also honors the great value of freedom, democracy and human rights on 5 May.
Since 1990, the 5th of May is a national holiday. This does not mean that May 5 is automatically a day off. The Dutch government has stipulated that workers and employers must make their own arrangements. Employees in the private sector have a day off on May 5, if this is agreed in the collective agreement. If this has not been agreed or if the sector does not have a collective agreement, the employer will decide the procedure. The public service staff, if it is in the collective agreement and in accordance with service permits, has a day off on May 5th.
Note: Only on 5 May 2025 will Liberation Day be an official day off: Most collective agreements agree that 5 May only applies as a paid day off in anniversary years, i.e. every five years.
During the night of 4th to 5th May, the mayor of Wageningen lights the fire in front of the historic Hotel de Wereld during the ceremony. From there, runners move across the country to spread the fire. It is an important moment for the Netherlands in the transition from the commemoration on 4 May and the celebration of freedom on 5 May. The Liberation Fire officially opens the fourteen liberation festivals.
Liberation festivals take place in 14 cities. Since 1991, the National Committees have appointed Dutch artists to be "Ambassadors of Freedom" on 4 and 5 May and are transported by helicopter from festival to festival.
More information: https://www.bevrijdingsfestivals.nl/
The Dutch flag is raised on May 5 from sunrise to sunset, without orange pennants. A special pennant is available on Liberation Day, the “Vier Vrijheid” (celebrate freedom) pennant. This pennant is white with the red-blue logo of the torch with the freedom fire and the text "Vier Vrijheid". The flag may also be combined with the provincial flag, the city flag or flags of other countries participating in the liberation. The pennant can also be used on the 15th of August. Then it commemorates the end of World War II in the former Dutch East Indies.
Bevrijdingsdag is an official holiday in the Netherlands.
Work on Public Holiday?
Although Liberation Day, celebrated on May 5th, is an official holiday in the Netherlands, not everyone is granted time off. Legislation does not mandate time off, so employees should consult their employer or review their employment contract or collective agreement for specific details.
Note: Only on 5 May 2025 will Liberation Day be considered an official public holiday. Many collective agreements stipulate that 5 May is only recognised as a paid holiday in anniversary years, i.e. every five years.
Retail stores are generally not permitted to open, but some supermarkets may operate with varying hours, subject to municipal permits. Customers are advised to check with the store in advance.
Dining establishments, such as restaurants, cafes, and pubs, remain open.
Public institutions are typically closed on this day. Children are likely to have the day off, as schools are almost always closed for Bevrijdingsdag, which often coincides with school holidays.