From Sinterklaas to Koningsdag, the Netherlands can be quite a festive place (perhaps to distract from the dull weather, but who knows.) However, not all Dutch holidays are alien to internationals, the Netherlands also celebrates Easter!
Easter dates in the Netherlands 2023:
Easter in the Netherlands
Easter in the Netherlands is celebrated in a similar fashion to many western countries: there are chocolate eggs, big brunches, and even a day or two off work.
Like elsewhere, the holiday is stretched across Good Friday (Goede Vrijdag), Easter Sunday (Eerste Paasdag), and Easter Monday (Tweede Paasdag). But there are also aspects of this holiday that the Dutch do differently.
Easter symbols and decorations
Yes, Easter symbols and decorations are a thing in many countries — but let’s just say the Dutch are a bit extra when it comes to letting everyone know that it’s Easter time.
You’ll find that shops, supermarkets, and tables are decked out with what can only be described as an Easter Christmas tree.
Willow branches are also decorated with delicately painted, precariously hung eggshells, as well as all manners of cute mini bunnies, butterflies, and baby animals!
Dutch Easter food
Speaking of baby animals, you’ll find them everywhere. No, not real ones, though. Picture miniature bunnies made from chocolate, lambs crafted out of butter, and chicks made out of sugar. 🐥
While we’re on the topic of miniatures and food, in the Netherlands. School children (the miniature) will often have a day where they bring Easter breakfast boxes (the food) into school.
Pupils fill a shoe box with ingredients for a tasty breakfast and bring it to class with them. (Cuuuuuteee, that won’t be messy at all.)
Easter Sunday in the Netherlands
Easter Sunday in the Netherlands — or as the Dutch call it, Eerste Paasdag, usually consists of a tasty breakfast (Paasontbijt) or brunch (Paasbrunch) featuring the precarious Easter Christmas tree, assorted mini animals and, of course, Paasbrood.
This tasty Easter bread is strangely similar to Kerstbrood (Christmas bread). Both are filled with cinnamon, raisins, and almond paste but the difference lies in the details!
Where Kerstbrood is topped with icing sugar, Paasbrood is also often topped with orange peel and almonds. Lekker!
Dutch Easter egg hunts
Of course, there is the all-important Easter egg hunt. However, beware, ladies and gentlemen (specifically ex-pat parents) in the Netherlands, there is NO EASTER BUNNY.
In this country, it’s an Easter Hare or Paashaas. Don’t worry, though he still does his job and sets up a nice hunt for the kiddos. 😉
Easter Monday in the Netherlands
Easter Monday or second Easter, as the Dutch call it, is a bank holiday in the Netherlands.
As the kids munch on their chocolate eggs and start bouncing off the ceiling, parents can take a chill pill and know that they can enjoy a day off after Easter Sunday.
Let’s wrap up with the important points: you are likely to have a day off (yay!), there’s lots of delicious food (fab!), and for the love of god, it’s the Paashaas, not the Easter bunny.
How do you celebrate Easter, if at all? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s note: This article was originally written in April 2021, and was fully updated in April 2023 for your reading pleasure.