Important Dutch Holidays 2023 To Know

Last Updated: June 30, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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With this handy “Dutch Holidays 2023” list, you can plan your trip more effectively in 2023. Find quieter times, or plan to include popular events. You’ll find up-to-date events and school holidays in this list.

You might want to travel to Holland precisely because of the events below. If you don’t, you can adjust your travel plans and plan around these dates โ€” saving yourself (a lot of) money in the process because hotel rates rise significantly during special events and school holidays.

Whether you’re planning to visit during flower season or gay pride or looking for quieter times instead, this post is written for you.

Kings day is the best known Dutch holiday. Here people dressed up in orange.
People dressed up in Orange on one of the omnipresent fleamarkets during Kings Day – Photo: Ruben May

Dutch Holidays 2023 ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿซ

Important Dutch holidays 2023. When schools are closed.
School Holidays in Holland.

School holidays in The Netherlands mean high season, more expensive flights, accommodation, and busier attractions.

Because the Dutch have more holiday leave than most countries in the world (up to 8 weeks per year), they will take a lot of day trips apart from their proper vacations. Meaning most tourist attractions in the country will be super busy.

Spring Holiday:  February 18 – March 5, 2023

May Holiday: April 29 – May 7, 2023 – One week only. However, many schools also close for a second week. Either before or after the official week.

Summer Holiday: July 8 – September 3, 2023

Autumn Holiday: October 14 – October 29, 2023

Christmas Holiday: December 23, 2023 – January 7, 2024

You might have noticed that these dates are extended during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn holidays. It’s not that kids have all this time off. The country is split into three zones (North, Middle, and South) to alleviate the worst congestion during these school holidays.

Holland might be a small country, but with 17 million people, it’s pretty dense. If everybody were off simultaneously, roads and airports would be completely jammed. Expect busy tourist destinations and hotels during the entire period mentioned above.

Flower Season: March 23 – May 14, 2023 ๐ŸŒท

Gorgeous red tulips during flower season in the Netherlands.
Red tulips in the “Noordoostpolder” during flower season – Photo: Andres Bartelsman

From late March to early May, flower season in Holland is a favorite time for many visitors. Who wouldn’t want to see these gorgeous tulips in full bloom?

With so many people visiting to experience the beauty, expect crowds and prices to peak during this time. Maybe only August can be more expensive.

The main attraction during flower season is, of course, the Keukenhof. In 2023, the park will be open from March 23rd to May 14th, so mark your calendars!

Remember that a significant portion of Keukenhof’s exhibition is indoors to prolong the flowers’ lifespan. If you visit early or late in the season, most flowers in bloom will likely be inside. Plan your visit during the final two weeks of April for the best chance to enjoy the flowers outdoors in the fields.

I recommend booking your transportation and entrance via this combination deal. These are the official buses, not tour companies. You get the best deal and the most flexibility, including a skip-the-line entrance ticket. You can leave from five different departure points. Amsterdam RAI or the Airport are the two most convenient departure points for most people.

If you want to go off-the-beaten-track, which I highly recommend, one of the best places to see the real production flower fields is in the “Noord-Oost polder,” about 50 miles/80 kilometers north of Amsterdam. Here you can drive a 60 miles/100-kilometer route passing the most beautiful fields. It’s called the “Tulpen Festival.”

If this sounds like something you want to experience, renting a car or booking a private tour is best.

King’s Day: April 27, 2023 ๐Ÿ‘‘

Kings Day celebrations in Utrecht.
Kings Day celebrations in Utrecht – Photo: Ruben May

King’s Day is a huge celebration throughout the country. The country will turn orange from North to South. Expect festivities in every city, town, and village โ€” as times change the Dutch also become more critical of the royals, but not on April 27th.

It’s a celebration for the people who answer the call, coming out in orange from every corner. It’s a fantastic experience to be a part of if you can.

If you book your visit for the final week of April, you can include the best chance to see the Tulips in bloom and experience King’s Day.

Being part of King’s Day will also guarantee understanding the exact meaning of the Dutch word: “Gezellig.”

The night before (King’s Night) traditionally means a lot of partying deep into the night. Because of this, not only many tourists come to Amsterdam. Also, Dutch visitors from other parts of the country will look for a hotel in Amsterdam simply because there is no transit home anymore. And most likely, they had too much to drink to drive home.

Make sure to book your hotel early in advance. And don’t expect to do a lot of sightseeing this day either. The crowds will be too large for that. Public transport is minimal. Come to the party, take in the atmosphere, and stroll around. Or schedule a quieter date to visit Amsterdam instead if you’re not into big parties and avoid April 26 and 27.

Another big part of King’s Day is that the King always visits a city in The Netherlands with his family on his birthday. It’s an authentic Dutch experience that is also televised. The destination for 2023 was Rotterdam.

Formula 1 race in Zandvoort: August 27, 2023 ๐ŸŽ๏ธ

Formula 1 Zandvoort Circuit.
Formula 1 Zandvoort Circuit – Photo: Aaron Cornelissen

It has been 35 years since we saw the “Formula 1” race in The Netherlands, but in 2021 a dream for many Formula 1 fans came true. The race came to the Netherlands once again. A slight delay due to the pandemic, but the enthusiasm was just the same when it finally happened.

The racetrack got a complete makeover to bring it into the 21st century. But there are still challenges. To access the area, you have to pass through a nature reserve. There is just one road (single lane in each direction) and a single train track leading in and out of Zandvoort.

Hotels are also limited. The organization tried to solve this with pop-up campgrounds. But charges were astronomical, and the atmosphere was not always the best.

So when the race returns in 2023, preparing yourself is crucial. Book well in advance if you want to stay in Zandvoort. Or opt for accommodation nearby, like in Haarlem or Amsterdam, and travel by train (use the early morning service to avoid most crowds.

Off-the-beaten-track tip: if traffic is a nightmare in Zandvoort (even the trains), consider renting a bike in Haarlem and cycling. It’s not that far. You cycle through a beautiful nature reserve, and you’ll beat all traffic.

Remembrance Day and Liberation Day: May 4 – May 5, 2024 ๐ŸŽ—๏ธ

Royal family arriving to lay wrath at remembrance of the death.
Remembrance of the dead on May 4th on Dam Square – Photo: ยฉ Henk Oostveen

2020 was the year Holland celebrated 75 years since its liberation from the Germans in World War II. The war becomes more and more distant in our memories. That is why today we are not just remembering the war then, but also the wars since.

Freedom is not a given.

That is why we remember the fallen every year on May 4th. At 8 p.m precisely, we’ll observe two minutes of silence. When you’re visiting on May 4th, please be mindful of this. Even planes are stopped at Schiphol Airport, and cars stop at the side of the road. Flags will be raised just half pole.

There are remembrance events all over the country. The two major ones are the National Remembrance at Dam Square and the one on the Waalsdorpervlakte.

The remembrance at the Dam is the event the King and his wife attend. You, as a visitor, can also be there, free of charge. This event is broadcast by the national television station NPO1.

I highly recommend attending the remembrance at Dam Square. It’s free. Be early if you want to see something. Also, account for security. Don’t arrive with bags or suitcases to avoid problems.

The next day we celebrate our freedom. Flags are fully raised, and there will be free festivals across the country. Performing artists travel by helicopter throughout the day to attend the major ones.

On May 5th, if you love parties, the day will be too short for you. There are so many fantastic events to attend. Amsterdam and The Hague traditionally have the most prominent events. But all of the 12 provinces organize their own.

If partying is not your thing, I have another tip for you. Attend the liberation concert on the Amstel River across the theater Carrรฉ. The royal family will attend too.

Getting a view will be tricky, though. You need to be SUPER early. The show starts at 9 pm. Rehearsals start at noon. Although the atmosphere will be unique when darkness falls, it might be best to see part of the rehearsals in person and watch the actual show on TV in your accommodation. NPO1 airs the concert live.

It’s good to know this is not only a local event. Every year many people will visit from around the globe. Especially from allied countries like Canada, the US, and the UK. For a long time, veterans from WWII and their families, now mostly their families.

Because of this, accommodations across the board will skyrocket in price or be fully booked. You might want to look at alternative cities near Amsterdam for a place to stay. Good options are Hilversum, Amersfoort, and Utrecht.

Amsterdam Gay Pride: July 29, 2023 โ€“ August 6, 2023 ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ

Gay Pride celebrations in Amsterdam on the Prinsen canal with the Westerkerk in view.
Gay Pride celebrations in Amsterdam – Photo: Amir Deljouyi

One of the biggest celebrations in Amsterdam is the yearly Canal Parade. When over 80 extravagantly decorated boats take to the Amsterdam canals, all your senses will be overstimulated. It’s fantastic to witness.

The atmosphere is fun whether you’re straight or gay (or however you see yourself). It’s a celebration for everybody. Pride here is more about “Gezellig,” being together, and not so much about the extremes you might see in other cities worldwide.

For 2023, the Canal Parade is scheduled for Saturday, August 5th. The Canal Parade is the highlight of the week, but there are festivities around the city for the entire week, starting July 29th. However, most people will come to the city for the canal parade. Expect large crowds that day, many rainbows, and expensive hotels.

The month of August โ˜€๏ธ

Busy Damrak in Amsterdam in the summertime.
Busy Damrak in Amsterdam during the summer – Photo: Dim Hou

Unless you come for the Canal Parade (which I can only highly recommend), avoid the month of August when possible! It’s (by far) the busiest month for Amsterdam and other tourist areas in Holland. Busier than flower season.

Schools have their summer holiday (not just in Holland, but all over Europe and most likely everywhere in the world), making it busy by itself. Then you have the Southern Europe phenomenon: businesses in France, Spain and Italy close simultaneously every August.

It means they also all travel at the same time. And many decide a city trip to Amsterdam sounds excellent. The city will get swamped with tourists from these countries during the busy tourist season.

Expect almost criminal prices for accommodations in Amsterdam and high airfare to and from Amsterdam. Tourist attractions and museums will often reach their capacity and will refuse entry. And expect crowded streets everywhere. If you can, it’s best to plan around it.

Or plan on doing off-the-beaten-track activities. This is a great time to explore the countryside, go on a nature adventure or visit lesser-known towns like Deventer or Den Bosch. If in Amsterdam, it’s a great idea to explore neighborhoods outside the city center like Oost, Noord, and De Pijp.

Do You Alter Your Travel Dates After Reading This Dutch Holidays 2023 Guide?

Iโ€™d love to hear your thoughts: Are Your Travel Dates Influenced By Special Dates? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ.

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Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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