February 2024: 6 things expats in the Netherlands need to know
Finally, it’s over - January is gone and spring is just around the corner, but first, we get the joy of spending another February in the Netherlands, meaning: Carnaval, Carnaval and more Carnaval. Here’s everything you need to know about February 2024 in the Netherlands.
Dutch Carnaval season is here!
Let’s get this one over and done with - it’s Carnaval month! Dutch cities from Eindhoven to Den Bosch to Maastricht will be decked in bright colours to celebrate the 40-day fasting period of Lent.
In 2024, Lent will kick off on Wednesday, February 14, and will continue until Easter Sunday at the end of March. New to Carnaval? Expect colourful costumes, traditional music and lots and lots of parade floats. Our quick guide to Carnaval in the Netherlands will get you up to speed if this year is your first.
Valentine's Day on February 14
February 14 is not just the start of Lent this year, it’s also here to mark the favourite day of couples, newlyweds and lovers the world over; Valentine's Day. On the day, you will see all of the major Dutch cities decked out in red and pink - the colours of love.
To celebrate the big day, there are plenty of activities for everyone to join, with plenty of fun activities for happily single people too! If you want to partake in the fun, look out for special dinners at your favourite restaurants, discounts at several shopping malls and lots of fun parties at some of the country’s favourite venues on February 14.
Dutch school holidays across the country
Luckily for the little ones, there’s a break on the way! Schools in the Netherlands will soon be closed for the spring holidays, where lots of children have a week off and enjoy the Carnaval festivities.
For schools in the north of the country - that’s all municipalities in Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen, Noord-Holland and Overijssel as well as Hattem in Gelderland, Eemnes and Abcoude in Utrecht and all municipalities in Flevoland except for Zeewolde - the February vacation falls between February 17 and 25.
This is the same for those in the central region: all municipalities in Zuid-Holland, all Utrecht municipalities except Eemnes and Abcoude, Altena (except Hank and Dussen) in Noord-Brabant, Aalten, Apeldoorn, Barneveld, Berkelland, Bronckhorst, Brummen, Buren, Culemborg, Doetinchem, Ede, Elburg, Epe, Ermelo, Harderwijk, Heerde, Lochem, Montferland (except Didam), Neder-Betuwe (except Dodewaard), Nijkerk, Nunspeet, Oldebroek, Oost-Gelre, Oude IJsselstreek, Putten, Scherpenzeel, Tiel, Voorst, Wageningen, Winterswijk and Zutphen in Gelderland, and Zeewolde in Flevoland will all have their school holidays between February 17 and 25.
Schools in the southern region of the Netherlands will have their February holidays from February 10 to February 18. This is the case in the provinces of Limburg and Zeeland, as well as the municipalities of Arnhem, Berg en Dal, Beuningen, Doesburg, Druten, Duiven, Heumen, Neder-Betuwe (only Dodewaard), Lingewaard, Maasdriel, Montferland (only Didam), Nijmegen, Overbetuwe, Renkum, Rheden, Rozendaal, Rijnwaarden, Westervoort, West Maas en Waal, Wijchen, Zaltbommel, Zevenaar in Gelderland, as well as all of Noord-Brabant except for Woudrichem and Sleeuwijk, Nieuwendijk and Werkendam in the municipality of Altena.
Leap year 2024
If you haven’t already noticed, 2024 is also a leap year - which means there is one extra day in February! This year, February 29 will make up the fifth Thursday of the month and give you one whole extra day of February before we head into March.
Anyone who is due to give birth around the extra day could have an extra-special birth date for their child - with the child only being able to celebrate their actual birthday every four years. The next leap year will take place in 2028.
Season of sports - Rugby and American football tournaments coming up
Sports events are high up on the agendas of many this month, with the Rugby Six Nations tournament set to kick off in early February and continue throughout the month. After that, on February 12 in the early hours of the morning in the Netherlands, the US Superbowl will kick off, with the Kansas City Chiefs set to play the San Francisco 49ers for the title.
Both sports events are expected to have a relatively wide viewing here in the Netherlands, with both gaining a recent following among Dutch crowds as well as expats. This means that you are likely to catch the games at many sports bars in any of the major Dutch cities.
Lunar New Year on February 10
Last, but not least, is the Lunar New Year. The celebration, often also referred to as Chinese New Year is celebrated across East Asia, but also within the diaspora abroad.
There are usually many great events held during this time of year, especially in places such as the Chinatowns of Amsterdam and The Hague, at many different Asian restaurants and even at universities. Be sure to fill up a Hongbao with some cash, grab some friends and join in the celebrations! Happy Year of the Dragon!
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