Home Lifestyle Holidays & Celebrations Public holidays in Belgium: important dates in 2021 and 2022
Last update on June 01, 2021

Living in Belgium? Here’s a list of all Belgium’s public holidays you need to know in 2021 and 2022, as well as other important dates to make a note of on your calendar.

Whether you’re living in Belgium or just visiting, it’s important to note the dates of Belgium’s holidays as many businesses typically close. Annually there are 10 Belgian national holidays for workers, seven of which have fixed dates each year.

To ensure you don’t miss out on anything important, our guide puts together a list of Belgium’s public holidays as well as important dates for your calendar.

Introduction to Belgian public holidays

Most of the holidays in Belgium are observed nationwide. However, there are three public holidays in Belgium that are especially for the language communities: Dutch-speaking Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia, and the German-speaking provinces in eastern Wallonia.

During Belgium’s public holidays (a holiday is called jour férié in French and feestdag in Dutch), Belgian businesses – with the exceptions of police stations and hospitals – close. This is increasingly changing, however.

Performers in a parade on Belgian National Day

One of the most important holidays is Belgium’s national day. This holiday celebrated with big festivities and military shows, although there are many popular regional Belgian holidays, such as carnival in Belgium and a number of top Belgian festivals, which are not official Belgian public holidays.

When Belgium’s bank holidays fall on a Thursday or Tuesday, some companies close on the Friday or Monday to make the bridge (faire le pont/de brug maken); thus, they give everyone a long weekend away from work. The law prohibits working during national holidays in Belgium, although exceptions exist; in such cases, an employee should be rewarded a compensation day within six weeks of any worked Belgian holiday.

It’s important to note that if a Belgian holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the public holiday doesn’t typically transfer to another day in the week.

Belgian public holidays during 2021

There are officially 12 Belgian national holidays. Two of them fall on a Sunday, however: Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday (Whitsun or Pentecost). This generally gives workers 10 Belgian public holidays, unless other holidays fall on a Sunday:

  • 1 January (Friday): New Year’s Day
  • 2 April (Monday): Easter Monday
  • 1 May (Saturday): Labor Day
  • 13 May (Thursday): Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
  • 24 May (Monday): Whit Monday – the seventh Monday after Easter, also known as Pentecost Monday
  • 21 July (Wednesday): Belgium National Day (Belgian Independence Day) – commemorates the day Leopold I took the constitutional oath as the first King of Belgium in 1831.
  • 15 August (Sunday): Assumption Day (Assumption of Mary)
  • 1 November (Monday): All Saints’ Day
  • 11 November (Thursday): Armistice Day
  • 25 December (Saturday): Christmas Day

Belgian public holidays during 2022

  • 1 January (Saturday): New Year’s Day
  • 18 April (Monday): Easter Monday
  • 1 May (Sunday): Labor Day
  • 26 May (Thursday): Ascension Day (40 days after Easter)
  • 6 June (Monday): Whit Monday – the seventh Monday after Easter, also known as Pentecost Monday
  • 21 July (Thursday): Belgium National Day (Belgian Independence Day) – commemorates the day Leopold I took the constitutional oath as the first King of Belgium in 1831
  • 15 August (Monday): Assumption Day (Assumption of Mary)
  • 1 November (Tuesday): All Saints’ Day – the following day is not a public holiday
  • 11 November (Friday): Armistice Day
  • 25 December (Sunday): Christmas Day

Regional Belgian public holidays during 2021

There is one regional public holiday in Belgium for each of the different language-speaking areas:

  • 11 July (Sunday): Celebration of the Golden Spurs (Day of the Flemish Community) – celebrates the victory of the count of Flanders and the borough militia against the king of France outside Courtrai.
  • 27 September (Monday): Day of the French-speaking Community – commemorates the victory of the patriots against the Dutch army in Brussels in 1830.
  • 15 November (Monday): Day of the German-speaking Community – the date a decree was published to prescribe the arms, flag, colors, and community day of the German-speaking area.

Regional Belgian public holidays during 2022

  • 11 July (Monday): Celebration of the Golden Spurs (Day of the Flemish Community) – celebrates the victory of the count of Flanders and the borough militia against the king of France outside Courtrai.
  • 27 September (Tuesday): Day of the French-speaking Community – commemorates the victory of the patriots against the Dutch army in Brussels in 1830.
  • 15 November (Tuesday): Day of the German-speaking Community – the date a decree was published to prescribe the arms, flag, colors and community day of the German-speaking area.

Important dates in Belgium during 2021

These Belgian holidays are not typically granted as public holidays in Belgium, but some are widely celebrated around the country:

  • 6 January (Wednesday): Epiphany (Three Kings’ Day)
  • 28 March (Sunday): Clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time starts
  • 8 May (Saturday): Feast of the Iris – Feast Day of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • 9 May (Sunday): Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May)
  • 13 June (Sunday): Father’s Day (second Sunday in June)
  • 19 September (Sunday): Feast Day of the Walloon Region (the third Sunday of September)
  • 31 October (Sunday): Clocks go back one hour as daylight saving time (DST) ends
  • 2 November (Tuesday): All Souls’ Day – a Christian holiday, although public offices typically close
  • 15 November (Monday): Dynasty Day, Feast of the Dynasty, or King’s Feast – although not a public holiday, most government offices close
  • 6 December (Monday): Saint Nicholas Day – when Sinterklaas/Saint Nicolas fills children’s shoes with presents

Important dates in Belgium during 2022

  • 6 January (Thursday): Epiphany (Three Kings’ Day)
  • 27 March (Sunday): Clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time (DST) starts
  • 8 May (Sunday): Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May)
  • 8 May (Sunday): Feast of the Iris – Feast Day of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • 12 June (Sunday): Father’s Day (second Sunday in June)
  • 18 September (Sunday): Feast Day of the Walloon Region (the third Sunday of September)
  • 30 October (Sunday): Clocks go back one hour as daylight saving time (DST) ends
  • 2 November (Wednesday): All Souls’ Day – a Christian holiday, although public offices typically close
  • 15 November (Tuesday): Dynasty Day, Feast of the Dynasty or King’s Feast – although not a public holiday, most government offices close
  • 6 December (Tuesday): St Nicholas Day – when Sinterklaas/Saint Nicolas fills children’s shoes with presents

Belgian school holidays

See our guide to school holidays in Belgium.

Festival holidays in Belgium

Belgium’s cities burst alive with colorful festivals throughout the year, perfect to see on a weekend holiday in Belgium. Belgium’s zany and colorful festivals celebrate everything from bears and Belgian beer to witches and giants; some traditions are hundreds of years old. All of this is alongside a good collection of film, music, and theatre festivals. See our list of the best Belgian festivals.

Carnival in Belgium is an important part of cultural heritage and happens every year at Lent, mostly in Wallonia. The most famous carnival is in Binche, not far from Charleroi. The Carnaval de Binche is several hundred years old and has been listed by UNESCO because of its cultural significance and longevity. There are strict rules for taking part: only men born in Binche can don the traditional Gilles costume. The costumes are wonderfully outrageous and carry strange, secret symbols. The festivities last three days (the best day is Shrove Tuesday), culminating in a parade where boys throw blood oranges into the crowd as gifts.

In Malmédy, the carnival involves masked men in hats decorated with ostrich feathers, grabbing at onlookers with their long wooden pincers hapetchâr (flesh snatchers). They won’t let go until you say sorry.

While in nearby Stavelot, the Carnaval de la Laetare des Blancs-Moussis is renowned for its Lenten parade. Here, hundreds of locals clad in white monks’ robes and hoods with long red noses, making their way through the town throwing confetti and swinging at bystanders with inflated dried pig bladders.

In Geraardsbergen, Tonnekensbrand occurs on the first Sunday of Lent. To mark the occasion, the mayor, councillors and aldermen are presented with a glass of wine, which has a small live fish inside. They drink a mouthful and swallow the fish before pretzels are handed out, iconic of Christian symbolism.