Celebrating Sint Maarten

Published on 9 November 2019


On November 11th, as of 6 p.m., lots of kids, aged kindergarten up to primary school will walk door to door with their paper lantern, singing Sint Maarten songs. In return, they will get candy or some fruit. The latter is not that popular among kids I can tell from experience… 😉

No kids, but living in a child-friendly neighborhood? If you decide to stay at home and watching the kids doing their best singing Sint Maarten songs, make sure you have enough candy or fruit to give away.

Here some tips and ‘nice to know’ facts if you’re not familiar with the Sint Maarten celebration yet.

Handy Tips


Don’t forget the bag!

Where else does your kid has to leave the collected candy… 😉 A bag is a ‘must-have’.

Make sure you have a light for the lantern

An illuminated lantern is much more nicer. Double-check whether the light is working before you step out of the door. Make sure you have enough batteries in storage, just in case.

Ask your kids’ friends to join

Singing from door to door with friends is much more fun for your kid. Make sure you have made arrangements with other parents in time to walk together.

Sint Maarten – historical facts

Sint Maarten was born in 316 in Hungary as son of a Roman officer in the Army.

Years later he became bishop of Tours, France.

A famous legend: Sint Maarten has once cut his cloak in half to share with a beggar during a snowstorm, to save the latter. That night, he dreamt of Jesus, wearing the half-cloak, saying to the angels: ”Here is Maarten, the Roman soldier who is now baptized, he has clothed me.”

Sint Maarten died on November 8, 397, and was buried three days later on November 11.

In 650 Martinus, as he also was named, was canonized as a saint by the Vatican.

Over the years Sint Maarten was and still is worshipped throughout a lot of European countries.

In the Netherlands Sint Maarten is mostly celebrated in the provinces of Limburg, Noord-Holland, Friesland, Drenthe, and Groningen. A few of the oldest Dutch churches are dedicated to him, e.g. the Martini church in Groningen or the Dom church in Utrecht.

Also a few  villages are named after Sint Maarten, e.g. Maartensdijk, in the province of Utrecht and Sint-Maartensdijk, in the province of Zeeland.






On May 4th, people in the Netherlands pay their respect to all victims who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the beginning of Worl War II by a 2-minute silence throughout the whole country.

This year a commemoration with the public is possible again.

National Commemoration

Every year at 7:50 p.m., the National Commemoration will take place on Amsterdam’s Dam Square.

King Alexander and Queen Maxima will walk through a veterans’ guard to lay a wreath on behalf of all citizens of The Netherlands. After this ceremony, there will be a 2-minute silence throughout the whole country.

Furthermore, public transport and road traffic will come to a standstill.



The main commemoration will start in the St. Bavo Church at the Grote Markt.

A silent march will start at the church, Riviervismarkt side, and ends at the Dreef. Here, victims of war will be commemorated by laying wreaths at the memorial of ‘Man in front of the firing squad.’

Commemorations will also take place on the Westergracht, Burgemeester Reinaldapark and Jan Gijzenbrug.

The full program can be found on this website.


Eerebegraafplaats Bloemendaal in Overveen

One of the many honorary cemeteries can be found in the Kennemer Dunes at the Zeeweg in Overveen.

This cemetery was consecrated on November 27th, 1945, by the reburial of Hannie Schaft, a famous Dutch Resistance fighter.

Three hundred seventy-two resistance fighters were re-buried at this cemetery.

Silent march to the memorial cemetery

From 6 p.m. to p.m 6:40 p.m. a memorial service will be held in the building of ‘Publieke Werken’ on the Brouwerskolkweg in Overveen
This service is open to relatives of the fallen and all who are interested.

6:40 p.m. set up of silent march right after the roundabout, corner Brouwerskolk – Zeeweg.

6:55 p.m. start of the silent march to the memorial cemetery

8 p.m. 2 minutes of silence

The silent march is a tribute to the fallen and thoughts about freedom and peace.

On May 4th, people can visit the cemetery between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. As of 7 p.m., the cemetery will be closed at 7 p.m.



Dutch flags will fly half-mast from 6 p.m. until sunset on government buildings. The same rule applies to citizens. For them, this rule is not a directive.

Broadcast on tv

NOS will broadcast the national commemoration ceremony live from 7:50 p.m. on NPO.