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St Nicholas' Day in the Netherlands

December 5 and 6 are Sinterklaas/St. Nicholas’ Eve and Day in the Netherlands, when Saint Nicholas, also known as Sinterklaas, visits children and brings them presents. In the Netherlands, the main celebrations take place on December 5, rather than December 6.

Presents from Sinterklaas, or St.Nicholas, for the kids.
Presents from Sinterklaas, or St.Nicholas, for the kids.
©iStockphoto.com/Sean Locke

Celebrate Saint Nicholas’ Day

Sinterklaas celebrations in the Netherlands take place on December 5 and usually wind down on December 6, when St. Nicholas departs. In some places, St. Nicholas may still make an public appearances with his helper, Zwarte Piete. Children are visited in schools, hospitals, and shopping centers. Many shops are filled with Sinterklaas trinkets, decorations, gifts and toys. Special songs are sung to honor St. Nicholas.

Public Life

St. Nicholas’ Day is not an official public holiday in the Netherlands. However, many businesses dedicated to Sinterklaas are busy during this time of the year.

About Saint Nicholas’ Day

The day commemorates the life of St. Nicholas, a Christian saint who is popular among children because of his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The legendary figure of St. Nicholas is derived from Nicholas of Myra who officiated as a bishop in 4th century Greece.

About St Nicholas' Day in other countries

Read more about St Nicholas' Day.

St Nicholas' Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
MonDec 62010St Nicholas' DayObservance
TueDec 62011St Nicholas' DayObservance
ThuDec 62012St Nicholas' DayObservance
FriDec 62013St Nicholas' DayObservance
SatDec 62014St Nicholas' DayObservance
SunDec 62015St Nicholas' DayObservance
TueDec 62016St Nicholas' DayObservance
WedDec 62017St Nicholas' DayObservance
ThuDec 62018St Nicholas' DayObservance
FriDec 62019St Nicholas' DayObservance
SunDec 62020St Nicholas' DayObservance

Quick Facts

St. Nicholas’ Day honors a Christian saint who is associated with gift-giving. It is a festive celebration in the Netherlands on December 5–6.

St Nicholas' Day 2016

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

St Nicholas' Day 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Name in other languages

St Nicholas' DayEnglish

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in December 2016 in the Netherlands

Fun Holidays on December 6, 2016

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