Lady on bike

Bank holidays 2012 – 6 days off extra

Lady on bike
© labicicletaverde (FlickR)

There it was today, my first working day in 2012. Good corporate citizen that I am, I investigated straight away how I can help my company by getting maximum relaxation for as little time off as possible.


The Netherlands always struck me as a country with very few bank holidays with the 9.2 public holidays per year – of which two are Sundays anyway. This year, we can only look forward to 6 additional holiday days – but compared to some years past when every holiday seemed to fall on a weekend, 2012 is really good.

Here they are, your extra days off:

  • Sun 1 Jan New Year’s Day well, that one is over already. And was a Sunday anyways. But no use crying over spilled milk.
  • Sun 8 Apr Easter Sunday Coincidentally, this year on a Sunday.
  • Mon 9 Apr Easter Monday Take the week off – buy 5 holidays for the price of 4! Sounds better than it is – if you want to go away (and don’t have to plan around your kids’s vacation dates), don’t pick this week. Most of Europe will be on vacation – read: in front of you in the traffic jam. Not to mention the horrendous high season prices….
  • Mon 30 Apr Queen’s Day Now, we’re talking! Prepare well for this Manic Orange Monday. If you are new to the Netherlands, you HAVE to go to one of the major parties around the country. Check out our Facebook group the weeks prior to Queen’s Day – there is always a group going there.
  • Thu 17 May Ascension Day This is my favourite public holiday in 2012. Because I will take Friday off and have 4 days off in a row. Which rocks!
  • Sun 27 May Whitsunday Boring, because falling on a Sunday AGAIN in 2012.
  • Mon 28 May Pentecost Monday see Easter Monday – best stay at home or make use of the clever shops that are open on Pentecost Monday. Nothing beats Swedish meatballs before entering the cash out queue for an hour!
  • here is the vast bank holiday void that is the Dutch Summer and Autumn
  • Tue 25 Dec Christmas Day Luckily in 2012 not on a weekend. Together with Boxing Day, conveniently placed in the middle of the week to get 9 days off when taking only 3 holidays. Doesn’t get much better.
  • Wed 26 Dec Boxing Day the last public holiday of the Dutch year – really made for exchanging all those gifts you didn’t quite need and surely not want. Prepare for sale and shopping madness in all major Dutch cities.

By the way – many countries have more than 10 public holidays. The world leaders are China and Egypt with 16 days, closely followed by India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Morocco with full 15 bank holidays.

Also, in most countries, if a bank holiday happens to fall on a weekend, good employees like you and me are rewarded with the following Monday off.

Off to write a strongly worded letter to the Dutch Authorities….

Happy New Year!