Public holidays and non-working days in the Netherlands

Public holidays and non-working days in the Netherlands

Public holidays and non-working days in the Netherlands 1000 1000 ReadySteadyGo

In every country, including the Netherlands, there are public holidays on which most Employees have time off work while retaining their right to pay. Before you plan your holidays, check when Dutch public holidays occur!

Public holidays, but not always by law

There are few public holidays in the Netherlands – just nine. However, these are not days off by law; in the Netherlands, these are regulated by a collective agreement or contract. Therefore, if you want to find out whether one of the popular holidays in the country will be a public holiday for you, you will need to refer to your applicable contract or company rules.

Payment for work on days off

For public holidays, the Employee retains the right to be paid. However, if your work schedule shows that you will be working on that day, you are entitled to an allowance. Its amount depends on the employer, generally between 50% and 100%.

It may therefore happen that you will have one of the public holidays free, e.g. on 25 December, which is the first day of Christmas, but you will have to spend the second day of Christmas at work. It all depends on your employer.

Number of days off in Poland

For Poles who go to work in large numbers in the Netherlands, such a small number of days off may seem inadequate. In Poland, Employees can enjoy 13 days off, which are established by law. If you are interested in this topic, read the article Life in the Netherlands – how does it differ from life in Poland?

Holidays in the Netherlands in 2022

As in other countries, several holidays are fixed and scheduled for a specific day of the year, and a few are movable holidays. The calendar of public holidays and days off in the Netherlands in 2022 is as follows:

  1. 1 January is New Year’s Day (Nieuwjaar),
  2. 17 April – Easter (Pasen),
  3. 18 April – Easter Monday (Pasen),
  4. 27 April – the most important public holiday in the Netherlands, King’s Day (Koningsdag),
  5. 26 May – Ascension Day (Hemelvaartsdag),
  6. 5 June – Pentecost (Eerste Pinkstersdag),
  7. 6 June is Pentecost Monday (Tweede Pinkstersdag),
  8. 25 December – the first day of Christmas (Eerste Kerstdag),
  9. 26 December – the second day of Christmas (Tweede Kerstdag).

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag), celebrated on 5 May 2022, is also a very important day in the Netherlands. Liberation Day is a public holiday for Government Employees, but many employers give their Employees time off on this day once every five years. In this way, they commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Good Friday

Employees extend their public holidays to Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag), the commemoration of Christ’s death on the Cross, the second day of the Paschal Triduum. Although it is not a public holiday, many employers grant leave on this day at the request of the Employee without problems.

Additional holidays and days off

There are, of course, many more Dutch holidays, but usually their celebrations do not involve a public holiday. The list includes:

  • Valentine’s Day (Valentijnsdag), celebrated on 14 February,
  • Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) on 4 May,
  • Mother’s Day (Moederdag) – 8 May,
  • Father’s Day (Vaderdag) – 19 June,
  • All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) – 1 November,
  • St. Nicholas’ Day (Sinterklaas) – 5 December,
  • Christmas Eve (Kerstavond) – 24 December,
  • New Year’s Eve (Oudejaarsavond) – 31 December

King’s Day (Koningsdag) – the most important public holiday in the Netherlands

No other public holiday – not Christmas, New Year’s Day or even Liberation Day – is as lavishly celebrated as King’s Day. For the Dutch, it is the most important public holiday of the year and not only a day off work, but also a time of great joy and unbridled fete.

A holiday since 2014

The Dutch have celebrated King’s Day since 2014, when Willem Alexander, the current monarch, took the throne. Previously, that is until 2013, this holiday fell on 30 April and was Queen’s Day – the then reigning Queen Beatrix.

King’s Day celebrations

Contrary to appearances, King’s Day is not celebrated with pathos, but instead takes the form of casual fun. On this day, the Dutch come out in the streets dressed in orange and celebrate their monarch’s birthday with music, dancing and fun. Adults drink the popular Dutch beer and there are competitions, games and activities for children. The flea markets, where literally anyone can sell whatever they want and for how much they want, are a characteristic feature of the day.

So, if you are going to work in the Netherlands and are wondering what to take on your trip, don’t forget your orange clothes! You can of course buy them locally too.

What if the employer does not provide a day off?

The holidays listed above in the Netherlands do not have to be days off. If Employees do not have to report to work, it is usually because this is stated in the applicable collective agreement (rules and regulations) or the provisions of the individual contract. Therefore, if one of these documents does not stipulate that a certain day is to be a day off and the employer does not agree to you taking a holiday on that day, you must report to work. This is not usually a sign of discrimination, intolerance or bullying. You can read about when these occur in the article How do you prove bullying at work?

How do you plan a holiday in the Netherlands?

By knowing which holidays in the Netherlands are the most common days off, you can easily organise your holiday so that you have a few days to relax. Simply take the days off that fall immediately before or after the holidays that are free from work.