Dutch public holidays compared to other EU countries

Culture shock can come in various forms, but perhaps one of the biggest shocks is coming in to work thinking you had the day off, when in fact, it was slain from the public holiday list.

You would have waved goodbye to Boxing Day and Good Friday, and now you have to get used to figuring out if May 5 is a day off or not. 

Liberation Day

Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated in the Netherlands on May 5, following on from Remembrance Day, on May 4.

Liberation Day marks the end of the German occupation during WWII; a pivotal date in history many would argue. It is a day of festivities after we remember soldiers who fought in the war. There are many festivals and parades of veterans throughout the country.

After Liberation Day in 1945, the day was commemorated every five years until 1990 when it was finally declared a national holiday.

It remained a public holiday every year up until the year 2000, when, for some reason, the Netherlands decided it would only be a day off every five years, according to The Hague city council. 

What the Dutch think about May 5

Naturally, this has become a bone of contention for the Dutch.  According to the National Freedom Survey 2017 (Nationaal Vrijheidsonderzoek), seven out of 10 Dutch believe that Liberation Day belongs on the list of Dutch public holidays

This chart is copyright of Volkskrant / Vrije Universiteit  Holiday comparisons

Top EU countries for holidays

The Netherlands ranks poorly when comparing its holidays to that of other EU member states, so much so, that it didn't even make it to the top 10:
1. Sweden = 39
2. France = 36
3. England = 36
4. Denmark = 36
5. Portugal = 35
6. Spain = 34
7. Italy = 32
8. Norway = 31
9. Belgium = 30
10. Germany = 29
11. The Netherlands = 28

Kiri Scully


Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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