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Public Holidays in the Netherlands
Easter (Dutch: Pasen) is the most important Christian celebration in the liturgical year after Holy Week. Christians celebrate this day because they believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. According to current calculations, this crucifixion occurred between 26 and 36. Over the years, many non-religious cultural elements have been added to Easter, making it an essential secular celebration.
Easter lasts two days and is celebrated on a Sunday and Monday. Both days are separately called First and Second Easter Day or Easter Sunday (Paaszondag) and Easter Monday (Paasmaandag). Easter has its origins in the Jewish Passover. During the First Council of Nicaea (325), the dates of the two festivals were officially separated. The period from Easter to Ascension Day lasts forty days.
In the Netherlands, the eerste en tweede paasdag are public holidays. Depending on local regulations and permits, most shops are closed on Easter Sunday, but many are open on Easter Monday. Special promotions are often offered to attract customers in areas with many furniture shops (Meubelboulevard/Woonboulevard). Please check the opening hours on the website of the respective shop/restaurant.
Dutch people usually celebrate Easter with family or friends. Depending on the denomination, they also go to church. Grocery shops sell various chocolate eggs and baked goods for weeks before Easter. An old tradition is Easter breakfasts (paasontbijt) with Matzes, decorated eggs and many other goodies. Easter breakfasts are also held in many schools.
There is also the tradition of Easter egg hunts in the Netherlands. Chocolate eggs are hidden and have to be found. The tradition of searching comes from the Jewish festival of Pesach. On the evening before the first night of Pesach, the house host goes through all his house rooms and ensures that all leavened food (chamez) has been removed. The smallest crumb must no longer be found. Pieces of bread or sweets are often hidden, so the children are involved in the search.
Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies also have nothing to do with the Christian festival. The egg and the Easter bunny are symbols of new life and fertility. They refer to pagan fertility festivals that used to be celebrated around this time. They come from a tradition of spring festivals much older than the Christian celebrations.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are official public holidays in the Netherlands.
No law in the Netherlands states that employees are off work on certain public holidays. There is therefore no legal right to a day off on a public holiday. The collective agreement (Collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst CAO) or employment contract states whether employees are 'off' on public holidays or have to work after all.
Public institutions, schools and training centres are closed.
Restaurants, cafés and pubs may open on both days. The latest closing time for catering establishments on Easter holidays is 3 am with no one allowed in after 2 am.
Shops are closed on Easter Sunday. DIY stores, furniture stores and car dealerships are closed on Easter Sunday and open until 7 pm on Easter Monday in many places. Local exceptions may exist, as the municipality has permitted specific areas or individual shops.
In large cities, many but not all shops are open on Easter Monday. Shops are allowed to be open until 7 pm on Easter Monday. The Meubelboulevards, in particular, attract many Dutch people.
Supermarkets are open on both holidays in the big cities but may have different opening hours. Smaller towns, in particular, may have adjusted opening hours. This also depends on local regulations.
Tip: If you want to shop or buy something, check the adapted opening hours with the respective shop in advance.
There are no Easter holidays in the Netherlands. The holiday periods are around or after Carnival (Voorjaarsvakantie), and a second block at the end of April/beginning of May (Meivakantie).
Easter in the Netherlands:
|Pasen 2024||Easter 2024||Easter Sunday, 31st March 2024, and
Easter Monday, 1st April 2024
|Pasen 2025||Easter 2025||Easter Sunday, 20th April 2025, and
Easter Monday, 21st April 2025
|Pasen 2026||Easter 2026||Easter Sunday, 5th April 2026, and
Easter Monday, 6th April 2026
|Pasen 2027||Easter 2027||Easter Sunday, 28th March 2027, and
Easter Monday, 29th March 2027
|Pasen 2028||Easter 2028||Easter Sunday, 16th April 2028, and
Easter Monday, 17th April 2028
|Pasen 2029||Easter 2029||Easter Sunday, 1st April 2029, and
Easter Monday, 2nd April 2029
|Pasen 2030||Easter 2030||Easter Sunday, 21st April 2030, and
Easter Monday, 22nd April 2030