Something that intrigued me ever since I first arrived in Holland is the number of Dutch public holidays specifically related to events on the Roman Catholic calendar. It struck me and still does that a fairly non-religious country like the Netherlands would observe so many religious feast days, beyond Easter and Christmas, like the Ascension and Pentecost. I have been raised up in Italy, the Vatican’s seat and Catholic by tradition, and there the Ascension and Pentecost are celebrated by Catholics religious and practicing (not by all Catholics) but are not public holidays. Although I was educated Catholic as well, I dare to say that for more people and myself as well sometimes, it is hard to tell exactly what we are actually celebrating during the different holy days. I made a note about Pentecost, in this pandemic year, in the Netherlands. And added some tips to spend the Pentecost weekend in the surroundings.
Pentecost Sunday/Pentecost Monday (Eerste Pinksterdag/Tweede Pinksterdag) 2021
In the Catholic religion, this day commemorates the descending of the Holy Spirit from heaven where it shown upon the apostles. It occurs 50 days after Easter and as such, the date varies from year to year.
Both Pentecost Sunday and Pentecost Monday (also known as Whit Sunday/Whit Monday) are public holidays in the Netherlands.
This year Pentecost is on the 23th of June and Pentecost Monday on the 24th of June.
Pentecost in a pandemic
This year (much like last year) celebrations of Pentecost must be coronavirus-friendly. That being said, there are still a few ways you can spend your long weekend.
Another option is to get to an open-air park or zoo. The doors have been open to visitors since May 18th, however, in an open air capacity. This means you can enjoy outdoor attractions. Just make sure you maintain a 1.5-meter distance from other visitors and regularly sanitize your hands.
Hoge Veluwe Trotsmarkt
An extra Hoge Veluwe Trots market will take place on both Whitsun days. This is a market where people are passionate about sustainable products with a fair story. You will find the market, with local products, in the central area of De Hoge Veluwe National Park. Check this website page for more information.
Day of the castle
May 24 is also the Day of the Castle. This is an event held each year on Pentecost Monday (Whit Monday, Tweede Pinksterdag). Then castle doors across the Netherlands open their doors to the public. Of course, due to coronavirus, the rules around openings will be different this year. But the outside and some gardens are already worth the trip. The event supports public appreciation of historic Dutch castles.