Public holidays in Belgium

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In Belgium there are ten official public holidays. Other particular days are also celebrated, but these are not official public holidays and employers are not obliged to give their employees a day off. However, some employers do award a day's holiday in accordance with union negotiations.

Public holidays[edit]

Holiday Date Dutch French German
New Year's Day January 1 Nieuwjaar Nouvel An Neujahr
Easter Monday Monday after Easter Paasmaandag Lundi de Pâques Ostermontag
Labour Day May 1 Dag van de arbeid Fête du Travail Tag der Arbeit
Ascension 39 days after Easter Onze Lieve Heer hemelvaart Ascension Christi Himmelfahrt
Pentecost Monday Monday after Pentecost Pinkstermaandag Lundi de Pentecôte Pfingstmontag
Belgian National Day July 21 Nationale feestdag Fête nationale Nationalfeiertag
Assumption of Mary August 15 Onze Lieve Vrouw hemelvaart Assomption Mariä Himmelfahrt
All Saints' Day November 1 Allerheiligen Toussaint Allerheiligen
Armistice Day November 11 Wapenstilstand Jour de l'Armistice Waffenstillstand
Christmas December 25 Kerstmis Noël Weihnachten

In addition to the above, the same legal text names all Sundays as public holidays (which is why Easter and Pentecost, which always fall on Sundays, are "feasted" by extending the Sunday holiday to the following Moday) but shops are free to select a different weekday as their "weekly closing day" if they wish; they must then declare near the entry to the shop which day it is: French "Jour de fermeture hebdomadaire: <dayname in French>" and/or Dutch "Wekelijke rustdag: <dayname in Dutch>".

As in 2008, when Labour Day and Ascension were both on May 1, employers were required to declare an additional holiday on another day in the month. May 2 had been proclaimed as the official day for this, but, in response to complaints by several industries, the government decided that the holiday could be placed on any date. In any event, most employers seem to have decided to keep May 2 as the date.

November 11 is not observed by the European Institutions, they are operational that day. Instead EU institutions observe Europe Day (Schuman Day) on May 9.

Particular days celebrated in Belgium that are not official public holidays[edit]

Holiday Date Dutch French German
Epiphany January 6 Driekoningen Épiphanie Erscheinung des Herrn
Valentine's Day February 14 Valentijnsdag Saint-Valentin Valentinstag
Iris Day (in Brussels only) May 8 Irisfeest Fête de l'Iris
Day of the Flemish Community July 11 Feest van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap Fête de la Communauté flamande
French Community Holiday September 27 Dag van de Franse Gemeenschap Fête de la Communauté française
Day of the Walloon Region third Sunday of September Feest van het Waalse Gewest Fête de la Région wallonne Festtag der Wallonischen Region
Halloween October 31 Halloween Halloween Halloween
All Souls' Day November 2 Allerzielen Fête des morts Allerseelen
Day of the German-speaking Community November 15 Dag van de Duitstalige Gemeenschap Fête de la Communauté germanophone Tag der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft
King's Feast Koningsdag Fête du Roi Festtag des Königs
Saint Nicholas December 6 Sinterklaas Saint-Nicolas Sankt Nikolaus

The days of the three communities are holidays for their civil servants and for employees of institutions controlled, supervised or financed by them (e.g. municipalities, universities) and may also be observed by banks in the concerned community. King's feast is a holiday observed by all (i.e. federal, community or regional, provincial and local) administrations, including the schools they organize.

See also[edit]