If you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to spend easter this year, look no further than easter in Rotterdam. The Dutch city is known for its vibrant culture, fantastic food and stunning architecture. Still, easter is one of the most exciting times of the year. There’s plenty to keep you busy and entertained, including lots of traditional Dutch celebrations to get involved in.
Here, we’ll explore the events on each day, the local traditions and what it’s like visiting the Netherlands during this particular time of year.
What’s on in Rotterdam at Easter? Easter Celebrations and Events
Easter is celebrated as a religious holiday throughout the Netherlands, with festivals and rituals taking place in honour of Jesus’ resurrection.
Several Easter markets and cultural events take place during this time of year, including some unique attractions, such as the floating Easter market on the Maas river. Here’s what you can expect each day during easter in Rotterdam, from religious events to Dutch traditions.
On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in Rotterdam, many local churches will hold special services to mark the start of the season. It’s often celebrated with religious processions, and there may also be some events taking place in town squares or parks.
Palm Sunday in Rotterdam
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter and marks the start of Holy Week. It’s a special day in Rotterdam as churches hold religious processions and services, often featuring palm branches and other symbols of spring.
Good Friday in Rotterdam (Goede Vrijdag)
Good Friday is a solemn, holy day in Rotterdam, and many churches will hold special services to mark the day. You may also find some traditional processions, such as the Easter parade in Blijdorp or the Procession of the Cross at Noordereiland.
On Good Friday, there is a special, traditional Dutch dinner called ‘Paasvuren’, which includes dishes such as smoked salmon, boiled eggs and herring. People gather around Easter fires to enjoy the meal and have drinks together.
Some locals take part in a procession that winds its way through the streets of Rotterdam, following an ancient Dutch tradition whereby people walk behind a statue of Jesus as it passes by various churches throughout the city before arriving at Erasmus Bridge at sunset, where they throw flowers into the water.
Holy Saturday in Rotterdam
On Easter Saturday, many people go out into nature to enjoy the fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D from the spring sun. It’s also not uncommon to see Dutch people playing football or other outdoor sports on this day.
However, if you want something more traditional, why not visit one of Rotterdam’s churches? On Saturday night (Paaszaterdagavond), friends and family often gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at church services or special ceremonies, with organists playing classical music and choirs singing traditional hymns – it’s beautiful!
Easter Sunday in Rotterdam – Easter Weekend
On Easter Sunday, breakfast usually consists of boiled eggs, bread rolls with butter and cheese, jams and honey as sweet treats! After breakfast, most Dutch people stroll through their local park or along the canal side – enjoying nature at its finest!
On Sunday morning (Paaszondag), churches in Rotterdam open their doors for particular services or masses, which many people attend with their families. Churches also host numerous other activities, such as performances by choirs and bands, art exhibitions and workshops for children.
On Easter Sunday, children search for Easter eggs left by ‘the Easter hare’. The eggs are usually hidden inside chocolate rabbits or along a trail of clues they must follow until they find their prize.
Its a tradition in the Netherlands to exchange eggs. These are usually hardboiled and painted with traditional Dutch designs. You can also find chocolate Easter eggs filled with marzipan or cream at many Rotterdam supermarkets and convenience stores. Many shops also stock unique easter egg-shaped decorations made from ceramic or porcelain.
Easter Sunday Brunch
From mid-morning onwards on Easter Sunday, bars and restaurants across Rotterdam open up their doors for a special brunch. This typically consists of traditional Dutch foods such as herring and pancakes, although some places serve international dishes too. It’s a great way to relax after all the excitement of the previous days’ celebrations!
Easter egg hunt at Park Trompenburg
The Easter egg hunt at Park Trompenburg is one of Rotterdam’s most popular family events. The park is decorated with thousands of easter eggs.
Participants have an hour to find as many as they can before returning them to claim their prizes. Afterwards, plenty of fun activities like face painting, balloon modelling and carnival games keep everyone entertained.
Easter Monday in Rotterdam
Easter Monday (Paasmaandag) marks the end of the celebration period. People gather for picnics in parks or participate in traditional games such as egg rolling competitions or football matches between teams from different neighbourhoods.
It is common for locals to spend time at home enjoying traditional Dutch dishes like mashed potatoes with carrots, peas and bacon, followed by a dessert made from applesauce, cherries and whipped cream served with flakes of almond paste called ‘appelflappen’.
What’s on in Rotterdam
If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate easter, why not visit one of Rotterdam’s Easter markets? Many of these markets offer traditional Dutch treats and souvenirs, from stone-baked bread and cakes to trinkets and jewellery.
You will also find a selection of stalls selling handcrafted Easter decorations, such as painted eggs and rabbits made from wood and clay.
Delft Easter Market – Located in the centre of Delft, this market is a great place to find unique Easter decorations and gifts. View more about spending the easter weekend in Delft here >>>.
Weather in Rotterdam at Easter
Regarding the weather during this time of year, temperatures can range between 4°C-14°C, so visitors should pack accordingly! However, sunny periods occasionally occur occasionally throughout April, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as cycling along the Maas River or taking a boat tour around Rotterdam’s harbour area, where you can marvel at some iconic architecture!
Local Easter Cuisine in Rotterdam
During Easter time, it is common for locals to indulge in some of Rotterdam’s traditional festive dishes. These include ‘erwtensoep’ (split pea soup), ‘stamppot boerenkool’ (mashed potatoes and kale) and ‘hotspot’ (a mix of carrots, mashed potatoes and onion).
There are also plenty of Dutch cakes and pastries to sample, such as ‘speculaas’, ‘gebakje’ (danish pastry) and the ever-popular ‘appelflappen’ (apple flapjack).
These treats can be enjoyed at Rotterdam cafe or restaurant, ensuring everyone can savour the best of Dutch cuisine over easter.
Overall, spending Easter in Rotterdam promises fun activities and engaging cultural experiences! From Goede Vrijdag dinners to Paasvuren hunts and egg-filled breakfasts – there is something for everyone here in this vibrant Dutch city during such a memorable holiday season!
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.