Life

Dutch public holidays: important dates in 2020

Living in the Netherlands? Here's a list of all of the Dutch public holidays you need to know in 2020, as well as other important dates to make a note of in your calendar.

Whether you’re residing in the Netherlands or simply visiting, it’s important to note the dates from the Netherland’s public holidays as numerous businesses typically close.

To ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, our guide puts together a list of the Netherland’s public holidays and important dates for the calendar.

Introduction to Dutch public holidays

There are essential Dutch national holidays, although some holidays in the Netherlands vary across regions. For example, there are many regional variations of Dutch carnival in February and March in Catholic areas. However, for all Dutch citizens – and plenty of visiting revelers – King’s Day could well be the largest of all Netherlands’ public holidays.

It is important to notice is that if a Dutch holiday falls on the Saturday or Sunday, the general public holiday isn't typically transferred to another day in the week.

Dutch public holidays 2020

  • Wednesday, 1 January: New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaarsdag)
  • Friday, 10 April: Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag) – only for government workers – not an official public holiday
  • Monday, 13 April: Easter Monday (Pasen)
  • Monday, 27 April: King’s Day (Koningsdag)

King’s Day orange madness (oranjegekte)

  • Monday, 4 May: National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) – no official holiday
  • Tuesday, 5 May: Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) – official holiday every five years (2020, 2025, 2030, etc.)
  • Thursday, 21 May: Ascension (Hemelvaart)
  • Monday, 1 June: Pentecost (Pinksteren)
  • Friday, 25 December: Christmas Day (Eerste Kerstdag)
  • Saturday, 26 December: Boxing Day (Tweede Kerstdag)

Important dates within the Netherlands

  • Sunday, 29 March: Clocks go forward 1 hour as daylight saving time (DST) starts
  • Sunday, 10 May: Mother's Day
  • Monday, 4 May: National Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) – not an official holiday
  • Sunday, 21 June: Father's Day
  • Sunday, 25 October: Clocks go back 1 hour as daylight not waste time (DST) ends
  • Wednesday, 11 November: Sint Maarten’s Day – when children typically go singing from door to door in return for sweets, vaguely reminiscent of Halloween
  • Sunday, 6 December: Sinterklaas (Sint arrives in the Netherlands in mid-November) – no official holiday

Shops closed within the Netherlands

You will discover shops typically closed on public holidays; however, additionally they traditionally close on Sundays and Monday mornings (and sometimes all day Monday) all year round. Although larger cities have changed this, you'll typically find shops closed in smaller towns. Koopzondag, however, means shops have been given a designated Sunday to spread out.

Dutch school holidays

See our help guide to summer break in the Netherlands.

Air raid siren (Luchtalarm)

Don't be alarmed if you hear a siren on the first Monday of each month at noon. Since 2003, sirens have been tested once a month nationwide. Should you hear a siren any other time, however, it could be the Dutch signal for any kind of disaster, from fires to hazardous gasses. You need to head indoors, close doors and windows and put on the TV or radio.

The Dutch government also keeps a website with information on emergencies (noodsituaties in Dutch), or you can also subscribe to the government’s mobile alert service to receive a text whenever an urgent situation arises in your area. Find a complete list of emergency numbers in the Netherlands.

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