Nearly 10 million people on holiday during high season

© Hollandse Hoogte / Amber Beckers
During last year’s high season, nearly 10 million Dutch people travelled to holiday destinations in the Netherlands or abroad. In the busiest week, when school holidays in the north, central and south parts of the Netherlands overlap, 3.7 million residents were either travelling to or had reached their holiday destination. Most money is spent during holidays abroad. France remains the most popular foreign holiday destination, as figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show.


The high season starts on a Saturday one week before the beginning of the school holidays and lasts for nine weeks. In the high season of 2016 (the period from Saturday, 2 July to Friday, 2 September), 9.9 million Dutch residents went on holiday at least once, almost equivalent to the high season of the previous year. The fifth week of the high season was the busiest, when over 3.7 million Dutch were away from home for one or more days celebrating a short or long, domestic or foreign holiday. In the fourth to seventh week, children from all three holiday regions (north, central and south) enjoy their school summer holidays.

Foreign or domestic holidays

Long holidays are mainly spent abroad. During last year’s high season, 5.3 million people travelled abroad and 2.7 million people spent their holiday in the Netherlands. Short summer holidays – no more than 3 overnight stays – are mostly spent in the Netherlands (1.4 million, as against 0.4 million short holidays abroad).

Popular destinations

In the high season of 2016, summer holiday destinations were almost the same as in 2015. Despite a decline of 60 thousand, France remains most popular with nearly 1.1 million holidays. In Germany, 956 thousand holidays were spent, i.e. an increase of 122 thousand, which narrowed the gap between the two countries. Spain follows at a suitable distance with 583 thousand holidays, 72 thousand more than one year previously. The United States made its debut as a popular holiday destination and comes in tenth place at the expense of Portugal.

Top 10 holiday destinations, high season 2016
 Number of holidays
Great Britain185
United States128

Most money spent on holidays abroad

The Dutch spent almost 4.6 billion euros on holidays during last year’s high season. For the most part, these expenses concern long holidays (nearly 4.4 billion euros), particularly those spent abroad (3.7 billion euros). Holiday spending is consistent with the number of holidaymakers and also peaks in the fifth week of the high season. Altogether, Dutch tourists spent a total of 747 million euros on holidays in this week last year.