On October 5 every year, the world celebrates Teacher’s Day (Dag van de Leraar). The day is a celebration of teaching professionals in many countries, and here in the Netherlands, many schools use the day to show appreciation to their staff, and increasingly children are bringing small gifts as a “thank you” to their educators.

Dag van de LeraarHaven’t heard of Teacher’s Day? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know about Dag van de Leraar in the Netherlands!

What is Dag van de Leraar?The Dag van de Leraar (literally: Day of the Teacher), is a celebration of teaching staff in the Netherlands, but also in many other countries around the world. The day commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 International Labour Organisation (ILO)/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. 

This document lays out the rights and responsibilities of teachers across the globe, as well as protections for teaching staff relating to, for example, working conditions. Many of the items discussed by the recommendation focus on the initial preparation and further education of teachers around the world, as well as recruitment, employment terms and work contracts, and overall teaching conditions.

When is Dag van de Leraar?World Teacher’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1994, but while the celebration is held on October 5 internationally, there are still some countries that choose to celebrate the work of their educators on a different date – such as Brazil, where teacher’s day falls on the nationally symbolic date of October 15 – the anniversary of the establishment of primary schools in Brazilian law –  or in Malaysia, where Teacher’s Day is celebrated on May 15 to commemorate a special report released about education in the country. 

In some countries, Teacher’s Day is even recognised as a public holiday, as is the case in El Salvador. In the Netherlands, Dag van de Leraar is not recognised as a public holiday, but is still celebrated in classrooms across the country.

Teacher’s Day presentsIn a lot of schools, Teacher’s Day will feature a special assembly where students can thank their teachers. During the assembly, awards might be handed out by members of staff as well – for example, for outstanding teachers who go above and beyond in their work.

More frequently, children are also beginning to bring small gifts for their teachers as tokens of appreciation for the work they do. Gifts often given to teachers to celebrate Dag van de Leraar include chocolates, small trinkets, cards and thank you letters. 

In other countries, children also make a special effort during the school day itself, such as in Estonia, where the eldest children teach lessons on behalf of the teachers (and under their supervision), as a way of recognising the contribution that teachers make to society. Though this does not happen in the Netherlands, putting some extra effort in by truly celebrating and appreciating teachers on their special day can make the Dag van de Leraar a happy one for teaching staff!

Teacher’s Day bonusIn the past, teachers in the Netherlands have also received a small bonus on top of their salary to coincide with Teacher’s Day, in recognition of the contribution they have made to Dutch society. Recently, these bonuses have been cut for many staff, as part of ongoing negotiations with the government for higher wages.

Dag van de Leraar 2023As is always the case in the Netherlands, Dag van de Leraar will be held on October 5, a few weeks before children break up for the autumn holidays. You can be sure to brighten any teacher’s day this October 5 by bringing along a little thank you note, poem or even a simple card to your child’s primary school, secondary school, or even to your professor at university. Happy Dag van de Leraar!

Image: Mike van Schoonderwalt / Shutterstock.com


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