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.
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.
About Christmas Eve in other countriesRead more about Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve Observances
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Quick FactsChristmas Eve in the Netherlands is the start of the Dutch Christmas holidays.
Christmas Eve 2017Sunday, December 24, 2017
Christmas Eve 2018Monday, December 24, 2018
Name in other languages
Other holidays in December 2017 in the Netherlands
- St Nicholas' Eve/Sinterklaas – Tuesday, December 5, 2017
- St Nicholas' Day – Wednesday, December 6, 2017
- Christmas Day – Monday, December 25, 2017
- Second Day of Christmas – Tuesday, December 26, 2017
- New Year's Eve – Sunday, December 31, 2017