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Celebrating Ascension Day and Pentecost in the Netherlands
Published at: 5/7/2024, 12:00 AM

Ascension Day and Pentecost are official public holidays in the Netherlands. This year Ascension Day falls on Thursday, 9 May, and Pentecost on 19 and 20 May 2024. On these days, most people in the Netherlands do not have to work and celebrate these holidays.

Originally, Ascension and Pentecost are Christian holidays

Less than half of the Dutch still call themselves religious. Yet most of the Dutch celebrate the Christian feasts of Ascension and Pentecost. These holidays are also celebrated by non-believers. Below you can read how each holiday is celebrated in the Netherlands.

This is what the Dutch celebrate during Ascension Day

On Ascension Day, Christians commemorate that Jesus went to heaven. It is traditionally celebrated on the 40th day after Easter. The Bible says that between Easter and Ascension, Jesus spread the Christian faith on earth in 40 days. This year, Ascension falls on Thursday, 9 May.

According to the Bible, the ascension took place on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, where Jesus told his disciples to continue spreading the Christian faith. As his disciples looked on, Jesus ascended and disappeared from sight. This is seen as the end of Jesus' presence on earth.

Special services are held in many churches on Ascension Day. It is also an official day off, so most people are free from work or school. Some places hold events such as parades, concerts and sports activities. These events are also for non-Christians.

This is what the Dutch celebrate during Pentecost

Pentecost takes place on the 50th day after Easter. In the Netherlands, there are two days on which Pentecost is celebrated. This year it is on Sunday, 19 May and Monday, 20 May. The Bible says that at that time Jesus' disciples found the courage to spread his message. Therefore, many Christians see Pentecost as the beginning of the Christian church.

Most Christian churches in the Netherlands hold special church services on Pentecost Sunday and Pentecost Monday. Although Pentecost is a national public holiday in the Netherlands, not everyone celebrates it as extensively. Unlike Easter, for example.

Like Ascension, Pentecost is also less visible in public life. There are no special decorations or dishes to eat on Pentecost. Although some Dutch people still make a traditional Pentecost bread.

For many Dutch people, Ascension and Pentecost are days off

Although these holidays are not always visibly celebrated, they are official days off in the Netherlands. That means most people are off during these public holidays. But not everyone is free from work. Want to know for sure if you are off? Check with your employer.

Different store opening hours during these public holidays

During all these public holidays, many stores are closed or open at different times. Find out about the opening hours of a store near you to make sure you can do your shopping.

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