Celebrating Easter in the Netherlands
Erik Krämer — April 2021
Painted eggs, festive Easter brunches, exciting egg hunt games — that’s the Dutch Easter. In fact, last weekend was the Easter Weekend in the Netherlands. Besides the religious aspect, Easter in the Netherlands has many traditions that are presented in this blog.
Traditional Easter Food
Celebrating Easter in the Netherlands is characterized by all the different types of foods enjoyed for this holiday! On the table there are often all kinds of rolls, cheeses, meat, and of course: eggs! The eggs are usually hard-boiled and decorated with an entire palette of happy colors. To enhance the feeling of Easter, the Dutch fancy eating “Paasbrood”, with a layer of butter cut off of a molded butter bunny, hen or lamb.
Decorations are a very important part of the Dutch Easter celebrations. The lunch or dinner table is usually decorated with flowers, such as daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. Additionally, on the table is typically a basket with painted Easter Egg and often the centerpiece is a vase with decorated willow branches. This tree is similar to Christmas in that respect that it is decorated with ornaments and treats such as flowers, bunnies, butterflies and chocolate eggs.
The Egg Hunt
Dutch children spend much time painting and hunting (searching) Easter eggs. In the Netherlands, the Easter animal is not named Easter Bunny but rather “Paashaas” (hare). On the Sunday morning of Easter, the Paashaas hides the decorated eggs either in the house or around in the garden. Kids then go out hunting for the eggs and are pleased to show off and compare the eggs they find with each other.
Easter Monday is a public holiday in the Netherlands. Weather permitting, Dutch families often spend the day visiting family, Easter markets, festivals and fairs, cycling in the countryside or visiting an amusement park. In case of bad weather, Easters often means big business for shopping centers and furniture stores. In the Eastern part of the Netherlands, so-called “Paasvuren” (Easter bonfires) are typical to celebrate Easter. The singing of traditional Easter songs, dancing and jovial processions are all part of the fun. These Easter bonfires are an ancient tradition, characterizing Christianity.
As a German myself, I celebrate Easter really similarly. I love joining the Easter bonfire with friends, enjoying the evening with food and drinks. The day after I usually brunch with my family. I hope this blog has given you some insights into how Easter in the Netherlands is celebrated!