Belgium is a melting pot of French, German and Flemish people, and that certainly affects the holidays that are celebrated in the country. Some holidays are only celebrated by certain communities within Belgium, which can make it a little confusing to know whether banks and public offices will be closed. There are a number of holidays celebrated in Belgium that change days depending on the year, as well. If a holiday falls on a weekend, generally no weekday time off is given. When they fall on weekdays, though, it’s important to know the local customs surrounding them, like whether banks will be open. Read on to find out everything you need to know about public and bank holidays in Belgium.
There are 12 national holidays in Belgium each year.
- Belgian public holidays: 15
- Belgian bank holidays: 13
Mother’s Day in Belgium is celebrated by some on the second Sunday in May, and by others on August 15th. The week before the day, children make small crafts in school to give to their mothers as gifts first thing in the morning. Fathers will usually pick up croissants or pastries to give to mothers in bed and then mothers are pampered for the rest of the day.
Father’s Day in Belgium is generally recognized on the second Sunday in June but it isn’t celebrated as much as in many other Western countries. Small children might make crafts or small gifts in school to give to their fathers, but beyond that, there isn’t much traditional celebration on Father’s Day.
In Belgium, neither Mother’s Day nor Father’s Day is an official public holiday.
One of the most important and widely celebrated holidays in Belgium is the Belgian National Holiday. While it’s celebrated across the country, the largest celebration by far is held in Brussels, including fireworks, a military parade, live music, street performers and more.
People in Belgium also often celebrate Saint Nicholas Day in addition to Christmas. Families exchange gifts on Christmas, but children often also receive a gift on Saint Nicholas Day.
Due to the mix of cultures that are prevalent in Belgium, there are days of celebration for the Flemish, French and German communities. These are extra days of rest for those communities, and some banks and businesses will be closed. None of these days are considered official public holidays in Belgium.
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Dutch||2017 Date||Bank holiday?|
|New Year’s Day||Nieuwjaarsdag||1 January, 2017||Yes|
|Easter||Eerste paasdag||16 April, 2017||Yes|
|Easter Monday||Easter Monday||17 April, 2017||Yes|
|Labour Day or May Day||Dag van de Arbeid||1 May, 2017||Yes|
|Ascension Day||Hemelvaartsdag||25 May, 2017||Yes|
|Ascension Friday||Hemelvaart vrijdag||26 May, 2017||Not a public holiday, but banks are closed|
|Whit Sunday or Pentecost Sunday||Eerste pinksterdag||4 June, 2017||Yes|
|Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday||Tweede pinksterdag||5 June, 2017||Yes|
|Celebration of the Golden Spurs||11 July, 2017||Sometimes, in the Flemish community|
|Belgian National Day||Nationale feestdag van België||21 July, 2017||Yes|
|Assumption Day||Veronderstelling dag||15 August, 2017||Yes|
|French Community Holiday||27 September, 2017||Sometimes, in the French community|
|All Saints Day||Allerheiligen||1 November, 2017||Yes|
|Armistice Day||Dodenherdenking||11 November, 2017||Yes|
|German Community Day||15 November, 2017||Sometimes, in the German community|
|Christmas Day||Eerste kerstdag||25 December, 2017||Yes|
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Dutch||2018 Date||Bank holiday?|
|New Year’s Day||Nieuwjaarsdag||1 January, 2018||Yes|
|Easter||Eerste paasdag||1 April, 2018||Yes|
|Easter Monday||Easter Monday||2 April, 2018||Yes|
|Labour Day or May Day||Dag van de Arbeid||1 May, 2018||Yes|
|Ascension Day||Hemelvaartsdag||10 May, 2018||Yes|
|Ascension Friday||Hemelvaart vrijdag||11 May, 2018||Not a public holiday, but banks are closed|
|Whit Sunday or Pentecost Sunday||Eerste pinksterdag||20 May, 2018||Yes|
|Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday||Tweede pinksterdag||21 May, 2018||Yes|
|Celebration of the Golden Spurs||11 July, 2018||Sometimes, in the Flemish community|
|Belgian National Day||Nationale feestdag van België||21 July, 2018||Yes|
|Assumption Day||Veronderstelling dag||15 August, 2018||Yes|
|French Community Holiday||27 September, 2018||Sometimes, in the French community|
|All Saints Day||Allerheiligen||1 November, 2018||Yes|
|Armistice Day||Dodenherdenking||11 November, 2018||Yes|
|German Community Day||15 November, 2018||Sometimes, in the German community|
|Christmas Day||Eerste kerstdag||25 December, 2018||Yes|
|Holiday||Name of holiday in Dutch||2019 Date||Bank holiday?|
|New Year’s Day||Nieuwjaarsdag||1 January, 2019||Yes|
|Easter||Eerste paasdag||21 April, 2019||Yes|
|Easter Monday||Easter Monday||22 April, 2019||Yes|
|Labour Day or May Day||Dag van de Arbeid||1 May, 2019||Yes|
|Ascension Day||Hemelvaartsdag||30 May, 2019||Yes|
|Ascension Friday||Hemelvaart vrijdag||31 May, 2019||Not a public holiday, but banks are closed|
|Whit Sunday or Pentecost Sunday||Eerste pinksterdag||9 June, 2019||Yes|
|Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday||Tweede pinksterdag||10 June, 2019||Yes|
|Celebration of the Golden Spurs||11 July, 2019||Sometimes, in the Flemish community|
|Belgian National Day||Nationale feestdag van België||21 July, 2019||Yes|
|Assumption Day||Veronderstelling dag||15 August, 2019||Yes|
|French Community Holiday||27 September, 2019||Sometimes, in the French community|
|All Saints Day||Allerheiligen||1 November, 2019||Yes|
|Armistice Day||Dodenherdenking||11 November, 2019||Yes|
|German Community Day||15 November, 2019||Sometimes, in the German community|
|Christmas Day||Eerste kerstdag||25 December, 2019||Yes|
Need to send money home for the holidays in Belgium? Don’t even worry about bank closures, and instead use Wise, which allows you to send money abroad as fast as and as cheaply as possible. Wise may be up to 8 times cheaper than transferring money internationally through banks, because it moves money using only local bank transfers, so you don’t have to pay any international or intermediary fees. Wise also uses the actual exchange rate, like you'd see on Google, without any hidden fees or markups. All you have to pay for the transfer is a small fee that’s spelled out upfront. It’s easy, fast and secure.
And now, Wise offers even more for its users, like borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow you to manage, send and receive money with up to 27 global currencies all at once, with more currencies being added all the time. If you live in one country and get paid in the UK, the US, the EU or Australia, then you can even get bank details to get paid like a local. Borderless account holders will also have access to consumer debit cards beginning in early 2018.
Try Wise today and see how easy transferring money internationally can really be.
Knowing Belgium’s holidays and customs means you’re ready to celebrate without the stress of not knowing whether you’ll be caught needing a bank when all of them are closed. Celebrate stress-free like a local in Belgium for a truly memorable time. Happy holidays!
Brussels is usually seen as the perfect location for expats wanting to explore Europe in their spare time. Sometimes called the “capital of Europe”, Belgium...
Brussels is the de facto capital of Europe, and with many European institutions and global businesses based there, it’s become a hub of expat activity. A...
Belgium is one of Europe’s foremost financial and political centres, drawing in expats from all over the world to work in Brussels and beyond. With large...
***As the international headquarters of the EU and numerous international NGOs, Brussels is an attractive place for young professionals to work. Its...