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 King’s birthday (King’s Day, Koningsdag) 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 Kingsday, 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)
Remembrance Day on May 4, is an annual observance in the Netherlands that remembers those who died during war and in peace-keeping operations. Remembrance gatherings are held throughout the Neterlands. Every year, people dedicate two minutes of silence at 8 pm on May 4 to pay their respects to soldiers and civilians who died during World War II, as well as other military conflicts and peace-keeping missions. Wreaths are laid at various places, such as the National War memorial in Amsterdam and at the military cemetery in Rhenen on the Grebbeberg, where heavy fighting took place during WWII.
May 5: Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)
The day after Remembrance Day the Dutch commemorate the end of the Nazi occupation during WWII. On May 5th, flags are flown at full-mast, and many open-air liberation festivals, or bevrijdingsfestivals, take place throughout the country. Peace talks and signing of the peace treaty took place in Wageningen in the hotel “De Wereld”. Therefore Wageningen organises a large 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 Petes (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.
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
- May 5th - Liberation Day
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- December 25th - Christmas Day
- December 26th - Boxing Day