May 2023: 9 things expats in the Netherlands need to know
And there goes another month! Between all those bank holidays, April 2023 really seems to have flown by. But now that King’s Day is behind us it is time to turn our minds to May. Without further ado, here are nine things expats living and working in the Netherlands need to know about this month.
1. Applications reopen for STAP budget
So far, 2023 has been a bit of a chaotic year for the Dutch government’s STAP budget, after the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) was forced to postpone the first round of applications not once but twice. Finally, though, things should be returning to normal this month, with the next round of applications opening at 10am on May 1.
2. Dutch schools reopen after May holidays
May has only just arrived but a few days from now children across the Netherlands will return to classrooms as Dutch schools reopen their doors following the May school holidays (meivakantie). All schools will reopen on May 8, regardless of which province or region they’re located in.
3. Keukenhof closing its doors on May 14
It feels as though spring has only barely begun, and yet May marks the month that Keukenhof closes its doors after another successful season. If you haven’t made it to the renowned flower gardens yet then don’t worry, there is still time - but not much! Keukenhof’s season ends on Sunday, May 14.
4. Strikes at Schiphol Airport (probably)
While no dates have been confirmed, the AD reported in April that various staff members - including baggage handlers - at Schiphol Airport were likely to strike in May as employees battle for reduced workloads and higher salaries.
Last year, strikes among KLM workers led to significant disruption at Schiphol during the May holidays - here's hoping this year won't see a repeat of last year's chaos! Luckily, the airport has implemented some measures in order to limit queues and delays for passengers - read all about the measures here.
5. Dutch banks raising interest rates
Slowly but surely, Dutch banks are raising their interest rates. At the beginning of March, ING and ABN AMRO doubled their interest rates to 0,5 percent on savings accounts of up to 10.000 euros - and now they've announced more increases from May 1.
At ING, an interest rate of 0,75 percent now applies on accounts of up to 10.000 euros. Customers with between 10.000 and 1 million euros in savings will receive 0,65 percent interest from this month.
Customers at ABN ARMO continue to fare a little better; from May, an interest rate of 0,75 percent applies to all accounts worth up to 1 million euros.
6. Germany (finally) launching 49-euro ticket
You might be wondering what the German 49-euro ticket has to do with the Netherlands, but the good news is that the heavily discounted ticket for public transport will also be valid on some services here in the Netherlands!
The ticket - which launches on May 1 - will also be valid on routes to and from Hengelo and Enschede (i.e. routes between these two cities and Bielefeld, Dortmund, and Münster), and will come in handy for workers and students who commute between the two countries.
7. The Netherlands celebrates 78 years of freedom on Liberation Day
On Friday, May 5 the Netherlands will celebrate 78 years of freedom during Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag). This day is preceded by Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) on May 4, when the Netherlands commemorates the end of the Second World War.
Every five years May 5 is a public holiday. Sadly, the next May 5 holiday won’t occur until 2025, which means schools will be open and you will be expected to work on Friday. Don’t worry though, May offers plenty in the way of Dutch holidays…
8. A bank holiday on May 18 for Hemelvaart...
And this is the first! It might seem a little random, but every year Ascension Day - Hemelvaart, as it’s known in Dutch - is a free day in the Netherlands. Ascension Day marks the day that the church celebrates the ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven on the 40th day after his resurrection, and in 2023 falls on Thursday, May 18.
9. ... And another one on May 29 for Tweede Pinksterdag
And another public holiday! 11 days after Hemelvaart, the Netherlands gets another day off for Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost or Tweede Pinksterdag. This year, Whit Monday falls right at the end of the month, on Monday, May 29.
Thumb: Steve Photography via Shutterstock.com.