COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the most public holidays?

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the most public holidays?
Yuri Zdanowicz from Poland dives for the 24th year into Rome's river Tiber as part of traditional New Year celebrations from one of the many bridges of the eternal city on January 1, 2011. Four men sprinkled the muddy water of the Tiber with sparkling wine before taking the plunge from The Cavour bridge, continuing an annual tradition which dates back to 1946. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)
The number of national public holidays varies between four and 13 in the countries covered by The Local. Here's a breakdown of how the dates and total amount of public holidays vary across Europe.

Austria

Public holidays: 13 national, including some falling on a weekend. Up to 15 regionally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), January 6th (Epiphany), Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021), May 1st (Labour Day), Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021), Pentecost (May 24th in 2021), Corpus Christi Day (June 3rd in 2021), August 15th (Assumption Day), October 26th (National Day), November 1st (All Saints Day), December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 25th (Christmas), December 26th (Boxing Day)

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

Some states have additional public holidays: March 19th in Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg; May 4th in Upper Austria; October 10th in Carinthia; November 11th in Burgenland; November 15th in Lower Austria and Vienna.

In addition, three further days are bank holidays but not national public holidays: Good Friday (two days before Easter Sunday), December 24th and December 31st. Depending on your employer, you may get these off work.

Denmark

Public holidays: 10 national, including some falling on a weekend. Up to 4 extra depending on the sector you work in, your employer and collective bargaining agreement (if a union member).

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day); Maundy Thursday (April 1st in 2021); Good Friday (April 2nd in 2021); Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021); General Prayer Day (April 30th in 2021); Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021); Whitsunday (May 23rd in 2021); Pentecost (May 24th in 2021); December 24th (Christmas Eve); December 25th (Christmas); December 26th (Boxing Day).

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

Some industries also have May 1st (Labour Day) as a day off, while June 5th (Constitution Day) is a holiday for banks and government workers, with most shops closed too by law, but optional for the private sector.

Christmas Eve (December 24th) and December 31st (New Year’s Eve) are not public holidays, but many employers treat them as such.

France

Public holidays: 10 national, including some falling on a weekend. Up to 12 regionally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021), May 1st (May Day), May 8th (VE Day); Ascension Day (May 18th in 2021); July 14th (Bastille Day), August 15th (Assumption Day); November 1st (All Saints Day): November 11th (Armistice Day): December 25th (Christmas Day)

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, in general no substitute day is given, but if a fixed public holiday falls on a Sunday, some sectors have agreements that a day in lieu be given on the Monday instead.

Pentecost (May 24th in 2021) is often a holiday, but employers are free to decide and these days many workers head to the office.

The eastern départements of Alsace and Moselle have two extra public holidays, one on Good Friday and one on December 26th.

Germany

Public holidays: 9 national, including some falling on a weekend, up to 14 regionally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), Good Friday (April 2nd in 2021); Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021); May 1st (Labour Day); Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021); Pentecost (May 24th in 2021); October 3rd (German Unity Day); December 25th (Christmas); December 26th (Boxing Day).

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given. Bavaria is the state with the most public holidays.

Late last year, The Local asked readers in Germany if public holidays which fall on weekends should be compensated the coming week. Unsurprisingly an overwhelming majority were in favour.

READ ALSO: Should Germany ensure workers get a day off for every public holiday?

Many states have extra holidays: January 6th (Epiphany) in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony-Anhalt; March 8th (International Women’s Day) in Berlin; Corpus Christi Day (June 3rd in 2021) in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Hessen; August 15th (Assumption Day) in Bavaria and Saarland; September 20th (World Children’s Day) in Thuringia; October 31st (Reformation Day) in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein; November 1st (All Saints Day) in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Bavaria; Day of Repentance and Prayer (November 17th in 2021) in Saxony.

Italy

Public holidays: 12 nationally, including some that fall on weekends, up to 13 regionally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), January 6th (Epiphany), Easter Sunday (April 4th in 2021), Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021), April 25th (Liberation Day), May 1st (Labour Day), June 2nd (Republic Day), August 15th (Ferragosto), November 1st (All Saints’ Day), December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 25th (Christmas Day), December 26th (Boxing Day).

What else do you need to know?  If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

There are also some extra regional holidays: April 25th (Feast of St Mark) in Venice, April 28th (Sardinia Day) in Sardinia, June 24th (Feast of St John) in Florence, Genoa and Turin, June 29th (Feast of St Peter and St Paul) in Rome, July 15th (Feast of St Rosalia) in Palermo, September 19th (Feast of St Gennaro) in Naples, October 4th (Feast of St Patronius) in Bologna, November 2nd (Feast of St Giusto) in Trieste, December 6th (Feast of St Nicholas) in Bari, and December 7th (Feast of St Ambrose) in Milan. 

Norway

Public holidays: 10 nationally, including some which may fall on a weekend, 

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), Maundy Thursday (April 1st in 2021); Good Friday (April 2nd in 2021); Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021); May 1st (Labour Day), May 17th (Constitution Day), Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021); Pentecost (May 24th in 2021); December 25th (Christmas Day), December 26th (Boxing Day).

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, no substitute day is given.

December 24th (Christmas Eve) is not a public holiday, but some employers give it anyway and very few people work as this is the main day of Christmas celebrations in Norway. New Years Eve is also treated as a public holiday by most employers. 

Spain

Public holidays: 8 nationally, up to 14 locally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), Good Friday (April 2nd in 2021), May 1st (Labour Day), October 12th (Spanish National Day), November 1st (All Saints’ Day), December 6th (Constitution Day), December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 25th (Christmas Day)

What else do you need to know? If a national or regional holiday falls on a Sunday, it is up to the regional government whether to have a day in lieu on the next weekday. Additional holidays are chosen at the regional or local level.

Some public holidays are only celebrated in certain regions:

January 6th (Epiphany) in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castile and León, Catalonia, Ceuta, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia, Navarra, Valencia

St Joseph’s Day (March 19th) in Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, Valencia

Maundy Thursday in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castile and León, Ceuta, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia, Navarra

Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021) in Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Catalonia, La Rioja, Navarra, Valencia

Corpus Christi Day (June 3rd in 2021) in Castilla-La Mancha

San Juan (June 24th) in Catalonia and Valencia

Eid al-Adha in Ceuta and Melilla

August 15th (Assumption Day) in Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Canary Islands, Castile and León

On top of that almost every region has at least one regional public holiday: February 28th in Andalusia, March 1st in Balearic Islands, March 19th in Basque Country, April 23rd in Aragon and Castile and León (both regions have it as their regional day), September 8th in Asturias; July 28th and September 15th in Cantabria, May 31st in Castilla-La Mancha, September 11th in Catalonia, September 2nd in Ceuta, September 8th in Extremadura, May 17th in Galicia, June 9th in La Rioja, May 2nd in Madrid, March 13th in Melilla. Each of the Canary Islands has an individual public holiday (Tenerife on February 2nd, July 3rd for El Hierro, August 5th for La Palma, September  8th for Gran Canaria, September 15th for Lanzarote, September 17th for Fuerteventura, October 4th for La Gomera). 

And each municipality usually has a further two or more extra holidays depending on local patron saints.

Sweden

Public holidays: 9 nationally, with 3 so-called de facto public holidays.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), January 6th (Epiphany), Good Friday (April 2nd in 2021); Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021), May 1st (Labour Day), Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021), June 6th (National Day), December 25th (Christmas Day), December 26th (Boxing Day). 

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, you do not get an extra weekday in lieu.

Midsummer’s Eve, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not national public holidays in Sweden, but the majority of employers treat them as such. 

In many workplaces or collective bargaining or agreements, there are additional public holiday policies. The most common include a half-day before certain public holidays (Epiphany, Walpurgis and All Saints’ Eve), or ‘bridge days’, so that if a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the Monday before or Friday after is given as an extra day off.

Switzerland

Public holidays: Only 4 nationally and the communes with the fewest paid public holidays have only 5 in total, up to 16 regionally.

When are they? January 1st (New Year’s Day), Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021), August 1st (National Day), December 25th (Christmas Day). 

What else do you need to know? If the holiday falls on a weekend, you do not get an extra weekday in lieu.

Several public holidays are marked by a majority of regions, but not quite all: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Pentecost and All Saints’ Day.

Some other public holidays are marked by multiple regions: January 2nd (St Berchtold’s Day), January 6th (Epiphany), March 19th (St Joseph’s Day), May 1st (Labour Day), August 15th (Assumption Day), December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception).

And some cantons have their own holidays: March 1st (Republic Day) in Neuchâtel; June 23rd (Jura Independence Day) in Jura; June 29th (Feast of St Peter and St Paul) in Graubünden and Ticino, Jeûne genevois (September 9th in 2021) in Geneva; Day After the Federal Fast (September 19th in 2021) in Vaud, September 22nd in Appenzell Innerrhoden, September 25th in Obwalden, December 24th in Glaurus and December 31st in Geneva and Glarus. 

A few local communes also have additional public holidays.

Elsewhere in Europe:

The Netherlands has around nine public holidays each year including King’s Day on April 27th. But according to the government’s website: “There is no law that says employees must be given a day off work on certain public holidays. So no one has a legal right to a day off on a public holiday. Your collective labour agreement or employment contract will tell you if you have the day off on public holidays.”

Belgium has around 12 public holidays including Independence Day on July 21st, although two of them, Easter Sunday and Whitsun (Pentecost) fall on a Sunday. If other public holidays fall on a Sunday, such as Armistice Day on November 11th, a substitute day off is generally not given to workers. There is also a regional holiday for each of the three different language speaking areas: Flemish, French-speaking and German-speaking areas.

In Ireland there are nine public holidays including St Patrick’s Day on March 17th and in the UK there are in general eight public holidays, but when some fall on a weekend, such as Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 26th) then substitute days are given.


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