How to make the most out of your Dutch public holidays in 2023
Christmas hasn’t quite arrived yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t already start planning out your days off in the new year. The Netherlands doesn’t offer workers very many public holidays, so it really is a good idea to make the most out of the few that come around every year.
But what do you need to do to make the most out of the guaranteed days off you’ll be getting in 2023? Read on to find out!
Public holidays in the Netherlands in 2023
It’s possible that as an expat, your home country offers significantly more national holidays than you’ll get in the Netherlands, but here you’ll only ever get a maximum of eight days off in a year. Plus, the Dutch government hasn’t implemented a system where if a public holiday falls on a weekend, you get the next Monday off instead.
On top of the bank holidays, however, people who work full-time are guaranteed at least 20 days of paid holiday a year, which means you have plenty of opportunities to take a bit of a break from your busy schedule and relax with friends, family, pets or just by yourself (introverts, we’re looking at you). In a slight improvement from this year, 2023 will bring six additional days off to people with jobs in the Netherlands, which means you could, for example, turn your 20 holiday days into 26. Here are some tips on how.
Start planning your time off for the new year
So what days off will you have next year? Of course, we’ll be kicking things off the right way with January 1, or New Year’s Day, however this year the holiday once again falls on a weekend, so you’ll be straight back to work on Monday, January 2. After that, you’ll have to wait for a little over three months for your next day off.
April: Easter Weekend and King’s Day
Easter falls slightly earlier in 2023 than it did in 2022, with Good Friday falling on April 7. Sadly, this isn’t a holiday in the Netherlands, so you’ll actually have to wait until Easter Monday on April 10 for your first real holiday day of the year. Many schools will have Good Friday off though, so you might want to take the day off too and enjoy a four-day weekend with your family.
Once Easter kicks things off, though, there are plenty of public holidays to look forward to in the spring - although they don’t offer many options for bridging the gaps and making the most out of the days off. There’s Koningsdag (King’s Day) on April 27, which is a Thursday so you’d only have to use one of your holiday days to take April 28 off too and make it a four-day weekend. Alternatively, you could decide to book the whole week off, and it would only cost you four of your holiday days.
May: Ascension Day and Whit Monday
Once you make it through April, there are another two public holidays to look forward to in May: Hemelvaartsdag (Ascension Day) and Tweede Pinksterdag (Whit Monday), which this year fall on May 18 and May 29 respectively.
These holidays offer the best opportunity for bridging, as you’d only have to book six days off work, but you’d get to enjoy a lovely 12-day holiday spanning from May 18 to the 29. And of course, there’s nothing stopping you from booking additional days off, ensuring you have a luxuriously long break.
You might be thinking that, after a long dry spell in the first few months of the year, April and May show signs that the Netherlands is finally getting into the swing of things. You would, however, be wrong. Brace yourself: Whit Monday is the last public holiday you’ll get until Christmas.
Sounds pretty painful, especially as a nice day off would give you a great chance to make the most of the glorious Dutch summer weather (should it decide to make an appearance). In spite of the lack of public holidays, though, you could still opt to book time off over the summer months. If so, school holidays in 2023 fall between mid-July and early September (depending on which part of the country you live in) so make sure you and your family check which dates apply to you before booking any time off - or, if you don’t have kids, make a note of the dates so you can be sure to avoid the summer rush!
December: Christmas and New Year’s festivities
Once you make it through the unpredictable summer and potentially dreary autumn, the good news is that Christmas is only right around the corner, and with it comes a couple of guaranteed days off. The last two years have been rather tragic, with the majority of the festive days falling on a weekend, but things are looking up in 2023!
Next December, Christmas Eve (December 24) falls on Sunday, which means both Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 25 and 26) will once again be holidays. As for New Year’s, New Year’s Eve is a Sunday, which means New Year’s Day (January 1, 2024) falls on a Monday. What a great way to kick off the year!
If you want to make the most of your festive season, booking off December 27 to 29 and January 2 to 5 could be the way to do it, providing you with two full weeks off but using up only seven of your annual holiday days!
Have a happy, healthy, and holiday-rich 2023!
It’s definitely too early to start getting excited about the 2023 Christmas holidays, but it isn’t too early to think about the time off you’ll want to take in the new year. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a calendar and your laptop and start planning!
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