National events and feasts

Carnival

Carnival, the Dutch either love it or hate it. Celebrating carnival is most popular among people living to the south of the rivers in the provinces Noord-Brabant and Limburg. This does not mean that carnival is not celebrated in other parts of the Netherlands. Wageningen has 4 carnival clubs. During carnival celebrants dress up and go from café to café, singing songs, participating in parades and drinking large quantities of beer.

April 27: The King's Birthday (Koningsdag)

The Dutch Royal Family has always been very popular and the Queen’s Birthday has always been enthusiastically celebrated. In 2013 King Willem-Alexander succeeded to the throne. The Queen's or King’s official birthday (King’s Day, Koningsdag) in the Netherlands is celebrated each year with parties, street markets, concerts and special events for the royal family on April 27. Each year, the royal family visits one or a few places. They are entertained with displays and performances around local historic events. Royal family members generally join in with the games in a good natured way and greet thousands of people who turn out to see them. On Koningsday, festivities are held throughout the Netherlands. For example, Amsterdam and Utrecht have flea markets (vrijmarkt). The streets are full of stands manned by people aged 5-105, selling everything imaginable. Wageningen also has a “vrijmarkt” in the Hoogstraat, Wageningen's main street. When buying something at these markets, don't forget to bargain! It's part of the fun!

May 4: Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking)

On May 4th, the Netherlands remembers those who died during the Second World War: soldiers, people of the resistance and those who died in concentration camps in Europe and in Asia. At 8:00 in the evening, a 2-minute silence is held, and people gather in many municipalities for silent marches. On this day, flags are flown at half-mast from many houses and buildings. Locally, a memorial service takes place at a military cemetery near Wageningen in the village of Rhenen on the Grebbeberg, where heavy fighting took place during WWII.

May 5: Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)

The day following Remembrance Day the Dutch celebrate their liberation from the German occupation in 1945. Wageningen played an important role during the liberation as the peace talks and signing of the peace treaty took place in Wageningen in the hotel “De Wereld”. On May 5th, flags are flown at full-mast, and many open-air liberation festivals, or bevrijdingsfestivals, take place throughout the country. Wageningen also has a bevrijdingsfestival, which takes place in the city centre and includes many (musical) performances by Dutch and sometimes international artists. Thousands of people come to Wageningen to enjoy the festival.

For more information, please consult: www.4en5mei.nl

December 5: Saint Nicholas day (Sinterklaas)

Every year in November Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by steamboat from Spain. Throughout the centuries, Sinterklaas has been considered the patron saint of children, and on December 5th, the evening before his birthday, he brings them gifts. He has a whole crew of helpers, Black Peters (Zwarte Pieten). Sinterklaas sometimes also brings gifts for the grown-ups, often in the form of a surprise package that is accompanied by a poem praising or ridiculing the receiver. True to the spirit of Sinterklaas, the giver of the package always remains anonymous.

National holidays

The following days are national holidays in the Netherlands. During these days the university will be closed:
  • January 1st - New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • April 27th – The King's Birthday
  • Good Friday
  • May 5th - Liberation Day
  • Ascension Day
  • Whitsun
  • Whit Monday
  • December 25th - Christmas Day
  • December 26th - Boxing Day