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Christmas Eve in the Netherlands

Many people in the Netherlands celebrate Christmas Eve (Kerstavond) by attending a church service and getting together for a family dinner. Unlike in neighboring countries, December 24 is traditionally not a day to exchange gifts.

Christmas Eve is a quiet night in the Netherlands.
Christmas Eve is a quiet night in the Netherlands.
©iStockphoto.com/Tran The Vuong

Celebrate Christmas Eve

Most homes have a Christmas tree with lights and prepare a special dinner. The Christmas meal may include hare, goose, or turkey. Many people eat Christmas stollen, a sweet yeast bread filled with almond paste and raisins.

Traditionally, there are no gifts on December 24 as Sinterklaas brings them on St. Nicholas Eve 19 days earlier. As the bringer of gifts, Sinterklaas is still more popular than Santa who is called Kerstman among children in the Netherlands. However, many Dutch are taking on the traditions of neighboring countries, and exchanging presents is a growing trend. Today, about half the population celebrates Christmas with presents.

Public Life

Christmas Eve is not an official public holiday in the Netherlands. However, Christmas Day and the Second Day of Christmas are holidays.

About Christmas Eve in other countries

Read more about Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
FriDec 242010Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 242011Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242012Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 242013Christmas EveObservance
WedDec 242014Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 242015Christmas EveObservance
SatDec 242016Christmas EveObservance
SunDec 242017Christmas EveObservance
MonDec 242018Christmas EveObservance
TueDec 242019Christmas EveObservance
ThuDec 242020Christmas EveObservance

Quick Facts

Christmas Eve in the Netherlands is the start of the Dutch Christmas holidays.

Christmas Eve 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2018

Monday, December 24, 2018

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
KerstavondDutch
Christmas EveEnglish
HeiligabendGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in December 2017 in the Netherlands

Fun Holiday on December 24, 2017

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