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Pentecost

Pentecost 2018 and 2019

Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday and Monday, in the Netherlands, is a public holiday. Because the date is related to Easter, it is a moveable holiday that does not fall on the same date each year. Both Sunday and Monday are public holidays throughout the Netherlands.

YearDateDayHoliday
201820 MaySunWhit Sunday
21 MayMonWhit Monday
20199 JunSunWhit Sunday
10 JunMonWhit Monday
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History of the Holiday

In the Catholic religion, Pentecost signifies the day that the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and showed itself to the apostles. It is celebrated 50 days after Easter, which is why the date changes each year. The name Whit Sunday and Monday comes from the white clothes worn by those being baptised, as the holiday is a popular baptismal day.

Traditions and Celebrations

There are many festivities throughout the Netherlands celebrating what they call Eerste Pinksterdag and Tweede Pinksterdag. There are markets and musical performances designed to celebrate the holiday. The Day of the Castle is held on Pentecost Monday, a celebration that supports public appreciation of historic Dutch castles. Many people make a special effort to attend church services after which spend the day with family and friends. Because Pentecost is usually the first nice spring weekend, people take walks and bike rides or perform outdoor home maintenance. Because it is a two-day holiday, some take vacations.

Pinkpop Festival

Music festivals are very common during Pentecost in the Netherlands. One of the best known festivals is Pinkpop, held at Landgraaf. It is the most famous open-air festival and the longest running, uninterrupted in Europe. At least 60,000 people attend the festival which has sold out 20 times in its 40 year history. Recording stars including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Struts, Paul McCartney, Halestorm and more have taken the stage during the Pinkpop Festival. There is a large camping area close enough to the stage that those staying at the festival can enjoy the live music at their campsite.

The name of the festival comes from a combination of pinksteren, the Dutch word for Pentecost, and pop music. However, the Dutch word for doll is also pop and the most recent logo for the festival represents a doll in a pink dress. The first event was called Pinknick because people were supposed to bring their own food. The event was free with a pig roast and apples provided to all who attended at no charge. A number of local bands agreed to play for free and almost 10,000 people attended the first event.