Easter weekend in the Netherlands

This year the Easter weekend will be from 16 till 18 april. In the Netherlands, the Friday before Easter is a normal work day, except for the few offices that are closed. Easter Monday (Tweede Paasdag) however, is a day off.

Easter has a long standing tradition. Next to its religious ties, in the Netherlands there are a number of unique traditions. Easter Sunday is a festive, family orientated day in the Netherlands. People prepare festive breakfasts, brunches or lunches. They may also search for and eat chocolate eggs that are supposedly delivered by the Easter hare.

Religious services

Observant Christians make a special effort to attend a church service. Easter Sunday church services are often longer than usual and may conclude with a festive meal. Easter fires (paasvuren) are held in rural areas in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands.

Traditional Easter Food

Celebrating Easter in the Netherlands is  similar to the way other countries celebrate this holiday. Dutch Easter is very focused on families and includes an extended breakfast or brunch (paasontbijt of paasbrunch) with families and friends. All sorts of rolls, cheese, ham, eggs, eggs and eggs. You may find the butter is in the shape of a little spring lamb or a hare. Brunch will also include Paasbrood (a cinnamon flavoured rich bread, studded with raisins). I never understood the difference with Kerstbrood apart from the fact it is wrapped in a yellow bow rather than a red one.

Easter Decorations

The decoration is a very important part of the Dutch Easter celebration. The dinner table is usually decorated with flowers, such as Daffodils, Tulips and Hyacinths. On the table there is typically a basket with painted Easter eggs, and often a vase with decorated willow branches. This ”tree” (paasboom) is decorated with ornaments and treats such as flowers, bunnies, birds, butterlies and chocolate eggs.

Easter eggs hunt

Dutch kids usually paint and hunt for Easter eggs. In the Netherlands there is not a bunny, but a hare (paashaas). On the Sunday morning of Easter the paashaas hides the decorated eggs either in the house or around in the garden. Kids go out hunting for the eggs and and compare the eggs they find with each other.

Easter attractions

There are many Easter markets, special Easter brunches at restaurants and Easter events at amusement parks.

St Matthew Passion

St Matthew Passion This work by Johann Sebastian Bach is always performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on Good Friday (two performances). Some people go there every year.

Keukenhof garden

Apart from the famous international flower exhibition, Keukenhof hosts the Easter Hat Parade throughout the Easter weekend. Visitors are also expected to wear an Easter bonnet and there are prizes for the prettiest and most extravagant bonnets.

Is Easter a Public Holiday?

The Friday before Easter is a normal work day. Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Dutch employees are not legally entitled to a day off on public holidays. Schools, offices, businesses, and stores may be closed or open. Read more about public holidays in The Netherlands here.  And about School vacations in The Netherlands here.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday is a public holiday. Dutch people often spend time visiting families, fairs and markets. Easter Monday is an ideal time to visit shopping malls specialised in furniture, kitchens, gardens accessories or plants.  People go to shopping centers (winkelcentrum or woonboulevard) to walk around and enjoy their day off.

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