May 1 is Labor Day and a (free) holiday in Spain

May 1 is Labor Day, which is celebrated by giving everyone the day off. However, it is not a party for everyone in Spain because there are still more than three million job seekers who cannot find a job and many of them do not even receive benefits. Therefore, the largest trade unions CCOO and UGT are calling on the streets to demand more work, better contracts, fairer wages and better working conditions from the new Spanish government.

May 1 is an official holiday in almost all European countries, including Spain and Belgium (May Day), but, oddly enough, not in the Netherlands. As always, an association with a Catholic celebration such as Saint Joseph’s Day could be a factor in this case.

to May 1 celebration However, as a celebration of the labor movement, it also underlies the introduction of the eight-hour workday, something widely introduced in Europe in the late nineteenth century, first in Great Britain and then in other countries.


In Spain Dia Internacional de los Trabajadores Primero de Mayo is a national holiday and therefore a day off across the country. However, it is also the day when the Spanish trade unions call to demonstrate against the government and demand better working conditions.

However, many Spaniards don’t care much about demonstrations etc. and simply celebrate a fun day out with the family. In the year 2023, May 1st falls on a Monday during Puente de Mayo. Lots of people have a long weekend.

Netherlands and Belgium

In the Netherlands, Labor Day is a public holiday only on the BES islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba). The meetings were traditionally organized by SDAP (later PvdA) and CPN. Until the 1980s, the CPN held an annual demonstration in Amsterdam on 1 May. May 1st has been a day off for Amsterdam municipal employees for several decades.

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In many countries (including Belgium, France and Spain) May 1 is the same Paid holiday. In the Netherlands, this generally does not apply to blue-collar workers, but to a small group of civil servants, banks and stockbrokers. Trade union employees are also free on this day. file keyword Work day Today is the feeling of international belonging.

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