The weather might not have been on our side, but it was still a lot of fun for all those who came! Beatrixpark was so green and pretty with flowers in the field … just a shame that our Easter Bunny couldn’t make it due to illness. (I have it on good authority that next year he will be there – I talked with Santa!) Thanks to everyone who came, and particularly to the 2 sponsors we had – English Lessons Almere and the Atlas of Amsterdam!
What a weekend! Saturday saw the most beautiful spring day, and we celebrated with our Annual Easter Egg Hunt! (This one was super awesome because for the first time in a couple of years we weren’t rained out!)
Good Friday is public holiday in the Netherlands. However that does not mean that you will get off from work. I never got the logic of that, but new places, new rules. Banks are usually closed and many shops will be shut or close early on Good Friday.
Easter Sunday – Paas Zondag
Easter Sunday is a proper public holiday in the Netherlands. Some stores will be open on Easter Sunday, but the majority will stay closed.
Children spend the morning decorating Easter eggs with brightly colored paint and hunting chocolate eggs that have been hidden by the Easter Mummy… uhh… make that the Easter Bunny.
Traditionally, an Easter brunch is held on the Sunday. The table is decorated with the freshly painted Easter eggs, candles, spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, and a vase with decorated willow branches (paastakken). Hanging from this ‘Easter tree’ are chocolate eggs and ornaments like butterflies, bows and bunnies. The brunch consists of a Paasstol (a fruited Easter loaf with a center of soft almond paste), butter shaped like a lamb or bunny, bread rolls, hard boiled eggs, smoked salmon, smoked eel, and other more typical Dutch breakfast items.
In the east almost every village lights an Easter bonfire on some hill or high point. People begin collecting wood for the fires weeks in advance, each area tries to outdo each other by building the biggest and best fire than its neighbors.
Easter Monday – Paas Maandag
Easter Monday is a public holiday in the Netherlands and most likely you will get the day off – unless you work in one of the many stores that are open Easter Monday. If they are open, they commonly open later and/or close earlier than usual. Public transport services generally operate a slightly reduced service, but there may be no public transport in rural areas. There are some restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Easter Monday. There may be some congestion around shopping malls specialized in furniture or garden supplies and popular visitor attractions and on routes back from popular short break destinations.
Weather permitting, Dutch families often spend the day at an amusement park or cycling in the countryside. Bad weather Easters often mean big business for shopping centers and furniture stores. Foodwise, leftovers from Easter Sunday are usually enjoyed. They may also perform household maintenance or seasonal tasks in their gardens, take a walk along the coast, and ride on a cycle while admiring the first signs of spring. Easter fires (paasvuren) are lit in some villages in the northern and eastern parts of the Netherlands.