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Easter Day in the Netherlands

Easter Sunday is a festive, family orientated day in the Netherlands. People prepare festive breakfasts, brunches or lunches. They may also search for and eat chocolate eggs that are supposedly delivered by the Easter hare.

Easter Eggs and Flowers
Easter eggs are made for children on Easter Day.
Easter eggs are made for children on Easter Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Lisa Thornberg

What Do People Do?

Easter is a time to celebrate for many people. Observant Christians make a special effort to attend a church service. Easter Sunday church services are often longer than usual and may conclude with a festive meal. Easter fires (paasvuren) are held in rural areas in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands.

Many people prepare an Easter breakfast, brunch or lunch with a range of seasonal and luxurious foods to share with family members, friends or neighbors. Foods served include: boiled, poached or fried eggs; paasstol (a rich loaf of bread filled with raisins, nuts and marzipan); butter made into the shape of a lamb; butter flavored with herbs; bread; croissants; cheese; ham; shrimps; smoked fish, particularly salmon or eel; and sweets or chocolates in the shape of eggs or hares. Later in the day, people may eat lamb, which is seen as symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Some people eat unleavened crackers, reminiscent of the matzo eaten during the Jewish observance of Passover.

Families with children may decorate boiled eggs and hide boiled or chocolate eggs around the house or garden. Children are told that these eggs have been delivered and/or hidden by the mythical Easter hare (paashaas). Some organizations organize Easter egg hunts. The prize for an Easter egg hunt contest is often a large chocolate model of a hare or a basket of Easter treats. As schools are generally closed for a few days at Easter, families with children may take a short vacation at this time of year.

Public Life

Public life in the Netherlands is very quiet on Easter Sunday. As on other Sundays, banks, post offices and many businesses are closed. Some stores in tourist areas may be open but many are closed. Public transport services run to a normal or slightly reduced Sunday timetable.


Easter Sunday is a time for Christians to celebrate Jesus' resurrection after his death by crucifixion. It is a time of celebration following the solemn period of fasting, known as Lent (vastentijd), and the days of mourning Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The origins of Easter lie in the Jewish observance Passover. However, many of the rituals and symbols around Easter can be traced back to pre-Christian beliefs in much of Europe.


A common symbol of Easter Sunday is a cross, often decorated with flowers or young leaves. Eggs are also symbolic of Easter for many people. Real eggs and eggs made of chocolate or candy are hidden and eaten. Children are told that the eggs are delivered and/or hidden by a mythical figure known as the Easter hare who wears clothes, walks on his back legs and carries eggs in a basket on his back.

New leaves, spring flowers, birds, particularly chickens and chicks, and lambs or other newborn animals are also symbols of Easter. These represent the "rebirth" of nature as winter ends and spring begins. In addition, lambs represent the sacrifice made by Jesus. Some people combine a number of these elements to make a table decoration known as a Easter piece (paasstuk). Children often make these at school and present them to their parents.

About Easter Day in other countries

Read more about Easter Day.

Easter Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday Type
SunApr 42010Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 242011Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 82012Easter DayNational holiday
SunMar 312013Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 202014Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 52015Easter DayNational holiday
SunMar 272016Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 162017Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 12018Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 212019Easter DayNational holiday
SunApr 122020Easter DayNational holiday

Quick Facts

On Easter Sunday (paaszondag, pasen) many Christians in the Netherlands celebrate the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion.

Easter Day 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Day 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019


Name in other languages

eerste paasdagDutch
Easter DayEnglish

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2019 in the Netherlands

World Holiday on April 1, 2019

Fun Holiday on April 1, 2019

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