Easter in the Netherlands can be an exceptional experience if you are celebrating it here as an expat or you are travelling for the holidays.
As you can imagine Easter weekend has a different pace than any other weekend and the best way to enjoy it is by reducing the speed and go with the flow.
Even though the Netherlands is not a particularly religious country, there are some small rituals around the Easter celebration, more or less traditional. Here is a list of the main things to experience in Rotterdam.
Easter is simply all about brunch. I don’t know where the ritual comes from, but on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday the main thing to do is to have brunch, at home or out, with friends or family.
It’s so extensive that almost all the restaurants will offer a special package for this occasion and reservations are necessary to ensure a spot at the popular locations.
It took me a couple of years to enter the trend and now I am a big fan. Last year we tried Dudok’s brunch for Easter Sunday and went even more Dutch by joining the all-you-can-eat pancakes cruise with the Pannenkoekenboat for Easter Monday and we were not disappointed (and overloaded with sugar).
Brunch is both a simple activity and something that will occupy a couple of hours of your day and it combines tasty bites of delicious guilty pleasures. This year we are going to try the home version of the celebration and I am really looking forward to it.
Approximately one week before Easter, around Palm Sunday, Dutch families go around looking for willow branches to prepare the Easter tree.
I had never heard of such a thing and it does look just slightly ridiculous, but this almost bare composition of branches with hanging decorated eggs has definitely some cute charm as well.
CHOCOLATE EGGS HUNT
As in other northern countries, the chocolate eggs hunt is big in the Netherlands as well and there are many events organized around it for children of all ages, famous the one at Plaswijckpark.
The city of Rotterdam is kind to visitors and bored citizens and has almost all the attractions open for the Easter weekend: museums and highlights follow a Sunday schedule but they are more than happy to host. Because of this, they become a very popular way to spend the day and expect queues and chaotic settings.
In addition to the general attractions, there are specific events related to Easter. Starting with St. Matthew Passion, which is scheduled in many different places on different days, this is the time of the year for classical music concerts and performances.
LESS CULTURAL EVENTS
I remember that in the past almost all the shops would stay closed for Easter and people would migrate to the few open options, but lately the main shopping centers are open for everybody to enjoy some unnecessary purchases. For tourists though, it’s definitely much easier to enjoy the city during the holidays in this way.
Since last year, the popular Swan Market is also taking place on Easter Monday for all the flea market lovers.
I hope you are looking forward to this long weekend as much as I am and feel free to share your traditions for this celebration.
originally written for Rotterdammer Girls