Celebrating Easter may include religious services, familial and cultural traditions, and welcoming Spring’s arrival with egg hunts. In the Netherlands, Easter (Paas) is observed for two days and called the Eerste en Tweede Paasdag. This year, 2019, these days fall on Sunday April 21, and Monday April 22; schools and government offices are closed. Here’s a list of activities to help you strike the right holiday mood for your family.
Many hotels and restaurants offer special Easter meals – some even include an egg hunt! Be aware all the listings here require reservations!
- Amstel Hotel Enjoy a fancy brunch in the magical, chandeliered Mirror Room at the Amstel Hotel, including live music and a children’s corner. Tea and regular dining times will also include Easter specials.
- De Pannenkoeken Boat Cruise the IJ and enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes on De Pannenkoekenboot. For Easter, an extra-long two and a half hour cruise will depart twice per day on each of April 21 and 22. Warm vegetables, meat side dishes, and an ice cream dessert have been added for the special day.
- Floor 17 hosts The Parents’ Peace Lunch – Eggy Easter Edition and with such a great name for their Easter meal, you can rest assured there will be fun activities for the little ones including an egg hunt and painting eggs, while parents relax and enjoy the fantastic views of the city.
- The Garden at Zomerbloemen Pluktuin is open from 10.00-17.00 on Easter Monday April 22. Stop by to pick tulips with the bulbs on or to get pony rides that begin at noon each day. Reserve places at a vase-painting workshop or an Easter Brunch, which will include their own organic eggs, local cheese, jams and breads, and other dishes with ingredients from the local polder.
- Artis Zoo Enjoy a Easter Breakfast buffet in the Two Cheetahs restaurant, in front of giraffes, Grévy zebras and large kudu through a safety net. Then take a walk along the flowering bulbs in the park. Children will be fascinated by the different sizes of eggs of the various birds in the zoo.
The editorial team at Amsterdam Mamas has also put together a list of places in Amsterdam that serve awesome brunches. The list has been updated (2019) to mark the businesses that stay open during Easter. To include a favourite not on the list, contact us.
- A variety of traditional classical music for Easter is performed at the Concertgebouw the month of April leading up to Easter April 21. Pieces include Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Great Mass.
Tulip Time Begins
- The annual Amsterdam Tulip Festival kicks off on April 1 and takes place at more than 80 locations in the public spaces of Amsterdam, and in gardens of museums, hotels, and striking buildings. The public space is freely accessible, but admission fees apply for some gardens; maps are available beginning April 1.
- The famous Keukenhof flower gardens open once again! This year beginning March 28. The Easter weekend is Dutch Heritage Weekend. Experience folk dances, music, costumes, crafts, living statues of historic figures, and tastes of freshly smoked herring and Dutch cheese. To top it off, the Easter Bunny will be visiting on Sunday and Monday.
Other Fun Things To Do
- Amsterdam’s own fairytale castle, Muiderslot is always on top of holiday celebrations with special activities. On April 21-22, spring tours will be held with a special attention to the tulip in the Golden Age. This is also the first weekend the falconer returns for the high season and there will be flight demonstrations every hour. LIttle ones can hook a duck in the courtyard for success in the hunt.
- Throughout the Easter week the Ketelhuis at the Westergasfabriek will be showing De Matthäus Passion conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw (staged at De Nieuwe Kerk in 2016).
Whatever you choose—whether it’s fancy or casual—go at your own pace for the holidays and enjoy your family. And don’t forget to take photos for the memories!
Lori Evans is a writer and musician/piano teacher from the USA, heading into her third year in the Netherlands. She lives with her techie husband, her delightfully grumpy 15-year-old son, and two mellow cats that seem not to have noticed their transatlantic transplanting. She’s slowly adjusting to her 19-year-old daughter attending college in NYC.