Easter weekend in the Netherlands: Dutch traditions and activities

Easter weekend in the Netherlands: Dutch traditions and activities

The Easter holiday celebrates spring, family and excessive chocolate consumption. Here are some Dutch Easter tips to celebrate your long weekend like the locals!

Go on or organise an Easter egg hunt

Contrary to what many may think, the Netherlands doesn’t employ the regular Easter bunny for its egg-dispersing needs. The Dutch have a hare, probably for the simple reason that "Easter hare" translates to paashaas, which has a pleasant rhyming sound.

On Easter morning, the paashaas hides decorated eggs in gardens (with some help from parents), for children to search for the next day. These can be real eggs that have been hollowed out and painted, but more often than not they are chocolate eggs that have the added attraction of being delicious Easter treats.

Start your day with an Easter brunch

One of the most common ways to celebrate Easter is with a family breakfast or brunch, known as paasontbijt, or paasbrunch. The table will usually contain a feast of delicacies such as croissants, (quail) eggs, paasbrood (Easter bread) and, a somewhat older custom: butter lambs with currants for eyes and bells around their necks. You could even try baking your own homemade Easter bread for the occasion:

With the extra time you gain as a result of the public holiday on Easter Monday, you could also go out and enjoy an Easter brunch in a Dutch eatery. For a special experience, try one of these more unique restaurants:

  • Euromast - get a birds-eye view of Rotterdam with an Easter brunch, high tea or dinner up high in this famous observation tower!
  • De Pannekoekenboot (The Pancake Boat) - in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Nijmegen you can cruise the waters while enjoying your Easter brunch afloat!
  • Kasteel Keukenhof - the Keukenhof in Lisse offers bites in their restaurant on the beautiful castle grounds, and you can combine it with a trip to the park!

Go on an Easter outing

Easter is generally a good excuse to go outside and enjoy events like spring markets, whether they're small and cosy or a real day trip's worth of browsing for the whole family.

For a real spring celebration with the kids, you could organise an Easter outing! For instance, take the family along for a fun-filled day of various springtime activities at De Boerinn farm in Kamerik near Utrecht (where you can also enjoy a paasbruch on Easter Sunday!). 

Obscure Dutch Easter traditions

Besides the more common traditions, there are also some more old-fashioned practises that are still honoured in various parts of the Netherlands, such as the Easter bonfires, paasstaakslepen (the Easter stake haul), and the decorated Christian Palmpasenstok cross.

In the North, you may find the occasional nut-shooting, and in Twente, some still practise Vlöggelen, where communities link hands and walk through town in a long line while singing Easter songs. 

Alexandra van Kampen


Alexandra van Kampen

English and Japanese theatre and culture are my forte. My mother was raised in England, and my grandmother in Japan. I studied Japanese Language and Culture, and Film and Photographic...

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