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Easter in Amsterdam - Events and Customs of the Easter Holidays in Amsterdam

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The window at Amsterdam's Arnold Cornelis patisserie shows off its Easter treats

The window at Amsterdam's Arnold Cornelis patisserie shows off its Easter treats

© 2008 Shannon McAllister, licensed to About.com
Eerste Paasdag (first Easter day, or Easter Sunday) and Tweede Paasdag (second Easter day, or Easter Monday) are both official holidays in the Netherlands. Amsterdam dons a cheery mood this time of year -- patisserie windows shimmer with sugary works of art, shops flaunt all manner of pastel decorations and markets offer traditional Dutch Easter foods and flowers. There are plenty of ways for visitors to celebrate Easter in Amsterdam, where blooming daffodils and tulips add to the feel of a new beginning.

Fun for Families (and the Young at Heart):

If Easter means to you egg-hunting or a big bunny, you might consider these options for old-fashioned fun:
  • Egg Hunt at Het Groot Melkhuis
    This gingerbread-esque house and its outdoor areas are the center of Easter activity in the Vondelpark. Families flock as kids search for eggs and conquer one of the park's favorite playgrounds. Its name Dutch for "The Big Milk House," the former-dairy-turned-café has a charming terrace great for people-watching and enjoying spring alfresco, with or without children.
    • Breakfast with Bunny at the Hard Rock Café
      For just € 11.95 your kids can enjoy all the face-painting, egg-hunting and coloring they wish between trips to the breakfast buffet. Bunny sighting guaranteed.

    Easter Brunches and High Teas:

    While Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are national holidays in the Netherlands, countless restaurants in Amsterdam are open for service on these days and many offer special holiday menus (most often a brunch or high tea). To find a restaurant that suits your taste, try an advanced search on the IENS Independent Index (a taster-reviewed website of Dutch restaurants), where you can select "Sunday Brunch" in the search criteria. Then call for more information and much-needed reservations.

    A few ideas for a fine Easter meal:
    • Easter Brunch at Café Americain
      Start this decadent holiday meal (€ 49.50/person) with a Champagne cocktail and end it with a canal cruise (included). The stunning Art Deco restaurant in the Amsterdam American Hotel is known for its lavish brunch spreads.
    • Paas High Tea in the Harbor
      For € 16.50 a guest (€ 20.50 with bubbly), the Kompaszaal serves an assortment of tea sandwiches, mini quiches, sweet pastries and scones with clotted cream and jams. The "Compass Room" lies on an island in the modern Eastern Harbor, which offers visitors something completely different from the 17th- and 18th-century heart of the city.
  • Blue Boat Easter Brunch Cruise
    One of the big canal-cruise operators offers a two-hour journey through Amsterdam's waterways, while you dine on hot and cold brunch dishes like finger sandwiches (with "Old Amsterdam" cheese, of course) and tomato with scrambled eggs. Cost: € 45 for adults, € 40.50 for kids under 12, free for kids under 4.
  • Easter at Keukenhof Gardens:

    On April 4 and 5, 2010, the famous Keukenhof Gardens will host Easter parades. Visit these world-renowned bulb gardens to see hundreds of hat-topped revelers in all their finery.

    Tastes of Easter in Amsterdam:

    Perhaps the most obvious signs of Easter in Amsterdam are the beautifully dressed patisserie windows and mouth-watering smells coming from bakeries. Sweet treats, from chocolate tarts to traditional holiday breads, abound this time of year. Have a taste of the local flavors at a local bakery or even at the everyday grocery store Albert Heijn, where the huge array of seasonal feestdagen (holidays) meals includes quiches, coffee cakes and cheese appetizers. Who says you can't cater your own Easter brunch in your hotel room?

    Religious Services in English in Amsterdam:

    Many churches in Amsterdam offer Easter services in English. To find a comprehensive list, see the Expatica website.
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