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St Nicholas' Eve/Sinterklaas in the Netherlands

December 5 is St. Nicholas’ Eve in the Netherlands, a time of gift-giving and parties. It is the day before St. Nicholas’ Day but the big celebrations happen on December 5.

Is St Nicholas' Eve/Sinterklaas a Public Holiday?

St Nicholas' Eve/Sinterklaas is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Saint Nicholas riding through the streets of Dordrecht, in the western Netherlands.
Saint Nicholas riding through the streets of Dordrecht, in the western part of the Netherlands.

Celebrate Saint Nicholas’ Eve

St. Nicholas (also known as Sinterklaas) celebrations include family gatherings, exchanging presents and treats, and festive songs dedicated to the saint. Children leave out clogs or shoes, hoping for Sinterklaas to fill them with presents. At this time of the year, St. Nicholas is seen with his helper, Zwarte Piete, in shopping centers, schools and hospitals throughout the Netherlands.

Public Life

St. Nicholas’ Eve 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’ Eve

St. Nicholas’ Eve and Day both commemorate 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.

St Nicholas' Eve/Sinterklaas Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2011MonDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2012WedDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2013ThuDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2014FriDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2015SatDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2016MonDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2017TueDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2018WedDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2019ThuDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance
2020SatDec 5St Nicholas' Eve/SinterklaasObservance

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