May 2024: 5 things expats in the Netherlands need to know

May 2024: 5 things expats in the Netherlands need to know

May is upon us, bringing some wonderful weather and lots of exciting events and festivals, but what are the things that expats in the Netherlands really need to look out for this month? Here’s our top five!

1. Remembrance Day and Liberation Day on May 4 and 5 

Remembrance Day, celebrated in the Netherlands on May 4 is used to mark the loss of Dutch lives in conflicts since the beginning of the Second World War and is celebrated with memorials held in many different Dutch cities to remember the dead. 

On the following day, May 5, the country celebrates Liberation Day - commemorating the day that the Netherlands became free from Nazi occupation in 1945. Canadian, British, Polish, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czech servicemen liberated the North of the country, while British, Polish, American and French soldiers helped to take back control of the remaining occupied regions. Though this year Liberation Day won’t be a national holiday, since it is only celebrated as a full public holiday every five years, there will still be many concerts, festivals and events to celebrate the occasion. 

2. Dutch schools return after May holidays on May 5

Though many workers haven’t had a public holiday for a while, kids in the Netherlands have been off school since April 27. Thankfully for all those busy parents keen to get back to work, the kids are back to school once more on May 5! The next holidays coming up start in July for the summer break.

3. Ascension Day holiday on May 9

Though we didn’t get a King’s Day holiday in the working week this year, Ascension Day (Hemelvaart) is almost here ready to give us some extra time off. The day, which is a public holiday in the Netherlands and many other European countries, celebrates the ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven on the 40th day after his resurrection. 

Ascension day is the 40th day of Easter and always takes place on a Thursday, making it common for workers in the Netherlands to take an extra day off on Friday to round out the week. This way people can take a long weekend to really relax and take advantage of the holiday.

4. Keukenhof closing on May 12

The spring is in full swing but that means it’s almost time for the tulips to fade away until next year. If you’re keen to catch the last few colours, you can head out to the Keukenhof for the last few days of their spring opening until 2025 - the last day you can visit this year is May 12. 

5. Tweede Pinksterdag on May 20

And finally to end with some good news: the arrival of Whit Monday (Tweede Pinksterdag) on May 20. The day is celebrated as a public holiday in the Netherlands so workers can enjoy yet another long weekend between May 18 and 20 if they wish - better get looking for those last-minute deals!



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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