Public Holidays in the Netherlands

What days are free? Why are they free? Will you get paid for them?

April, May, and June in the Netherlands abound in public holidays, or in Dutch, feestdagen. They are difficult to follow even if you are a Dutch person, let alone newcomers to the Netherlands. To help you get a grip of various celebrations in the Netherlands in this article we will provide you with the dates of holidays in 2019, a short explanation of what we celebrate on each day, and the answer to the question everybody always is interested in: Are these holidays paid.

According to Article 58 ABU CAO for temporary workers, there are 8 recognized public holidays in the Netherlands, and 5 of them fall within the 3 spring months of April, May, and June.

Easter Monday or Tweede Paasdag

Easter is a Christian holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus. However, as the Christian character if the Dutch society disappears, Easter has become a celebration of upcoming spring and family.

The holiday has no set date, but it is always on Monday. This year it fell on April 22.

Easter Holidays in the Netherlands

King’s Day or Koningsdag

April 27 is a celebration of King Willem-Alexander’s birthday. On that day the Dutch like to drink (excessively) and dance to hard-core music. Also it’s the perfect day to get rid of clothes, shoes, toys, books, appliances that you no longer need or use, and make some money of it on many free markets.

 

King's Day in the Netherlands

Liberation Day or Bevrijdingsdag

On May 5 the Dutch commemorate the liberation of their country by the Allied Forces from the Nazi occupation.

Celebrations take place every year, but the day is free only once every 5 years, in 2020, 2025, 2030, etc.

 

Liberation Day in the Netherlands

Ascension Day or Hemelvaartsdag

According to Christian tradition, Jesus died on Friday, was resurrected after 3 days, and 40 days later he went back to heaven. And that’s what Hemelvaartsdag commemorates.  Consequently, the date depends on the date of Easter and is a movable holiday. However, it always falls on a Thursday. This year it will be May 30.

Ascencion Day in the Netherlands

Whit Monday or Tweede Pinksterdag

Actually this holiday consists of two days, Whit Sunday and Whit Monday, called collectively Pentecost, or Pinksteren in Dutch. Officially the holidays commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, but for the Dutch it is just another long weekend, and most of them don’t even know exactly what it is all about. This year we celebrate Tweede Pinksterdag on June 10.

Pinksteren in the Netherlands

The remaining holidays

The three remaining public holidays in the Netherlands are rather obvious and include:

  • 1st Day of Christmas – December 25
  • 2nd Day of Christmas – December 26
  • New Year – January 1st

Will I be free AND paid on these holidays?

In short, yes. But there are some conditions and considerations you need to look out for:

  1. Make sure the company you work for is free on this day. Usually they are, but exceptions happen, so go ask your team leader about it. If the company works on that day you may be entitled to extra holiday allowance, but that depends on the CAO of your employer.
  2. According to article 58 of ABU CAO for temporary workers you will only get paid for a holiday if there is a consistent work pattern. This means that the temporary agency worker was scheduled to work or actually worked on the relevant day in the week in a period of thirteen consecutive weeks immediately prior to the public holiday in question. For example, you will get paid for Easter Monday if you were scheduled for work or actually worked for 13 Mondays before Easter Monday. You will get paid for Hemelvaartsdag if you were scheduled for work or actually worked for 13 Thursdays before the Thursday of Hemelvaartsdag. You will get paid for this year’s Kingsday if you worked for 13 Saturdays before Kingsday.
  3. If your planned vacation include a holiday you will get paid for the holiday, but this money will come from your paid vacation reserve.
  4. If you are on sick leave on a holiday you will receive sickness money for that holiday.
  5. The pay for a holiday does not include any extras or allowances that you normally get. Even if you always work 2 or more shifts and get extra shift allowance, you will not receive shift allowance for the free day.

 

Remember that these are the general rules. It’s always advised to approach your team leader and ask specifically about the rules that apply in this particular company.