Want to join a centuries-old Dutch tradition? Then wake up very early in the morning on Ascension Day and start walking! It is more or less tradition to go on Ascension Day on a Dew Walk or as we say in Dutch “Dauwtrappen”. Get up around 5.30 am, which is really very early in the morning, and join one of the organized Dew Walks. Most of these walks are organized in the East and the South of the Netherlands.
Dew walking or dew kicking is an ancient custom, in the early days it was the intention to get up early and dance barefoot on the grass while singing religious songs.
But if you don’t enjoy the early wake-up for a Dew Walk you can always go to one of the many festivals on Ascension Day instead.
➔ Festival information for Ascension Day in the Netherlands
Ascension Day is a public holiday
Good to know that Ascensions Day is a public holiday in the Netherlands. Schools are closed, working people have a mandatory day off, but most shops are open. The Netherlands is a traditionally Christian country, and a number of religious Christian Days are celebrated with national holidays.
Why should you go on a Dew Walk?
To celebrate spring, a Dew Walk is fun, it’s the celebration of springtime. Get up at the break of dawn and whether you are alone or whit friends make a trip into parks, forests, or open fields to experience the tranquility of nature and take in the fresh air. It’s a time for reflection, relaxation, and connecting with the outdoors.
Dauwtrappen and its best English translation
The word “Dauwtrappen” is hard to translate, best translated in English as Dew Walk, or Dew Kicking, Treading on Dew, or Early Morning Walk. It is a centuries-old Dutch tradition that involves going for a walk in the countryside early in the morning, usually on Ascension Day.
Best organized Dew Walk and an early morning Ascension breakfast?
➔ Dauwtrappen | Pietersberg Maastricht, Fort Sint Pieter, Luikerweg 80, Maastricht
This Dew Walk is organized by the Dutch organization Nature Monuments and led by the forester. In May, nature is at its most beautiful in the morning. The walk takes about 3 hours and starts at the break of dawn, as soon as the sun rises, which is around 6 o’clock. The forester will take you over the Sint Pietersberg and through the former ENCI quarry. Along the way, you can enjoy the most beautiful views from the Sint-Pietersberg plateau. Dud enjoys the early morning silence. During the walk, you hear and see birds singing, frogs croaking, and you hear the leaves rustling. The sounds of nature are unparalleled in the morning.
➔ Dauwtrappen | Park de Hoge Veluwe, Arnhem
Park de Hoge Veluwe. On Ascension Day, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., admission is free for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. This is a wonderful opportunity to enter the park at a time when this park is normally closed. The Park Restaurant is open from 6.30 am, serves a great breakfast, and only sells well-filled picnic baskets on Ascension Day.
➔ Dauwtrappen | National Treemuseum Doorn
How great is that? Enter the National Treemuseum in the early morning hours when it is normally still closed. This Dew Walk is lead by a guide that tell you everything about the birds and the trees that live in the National Treemuseum. After the Dew walk a delicious Ascension breakfast is waiting for you.
➔ National Treemuseum | Arboretum Doorn
➔ Dauwtrappen | Visiterscentre Gooi en Vechtstreek and Boekesteyn estate , Noordereinde 54b, ‘s-Gravenland
Between Amsterdam and the city of Hilversum, you will find the picturesque village of ‘s-Graveland. The village of ‘s- Graveland is known for its beautiful estates and country estates. In previous centuries wealthy citizens of Amsterdam built their homes here. Most estates are now the property of the Dutch organization Nature Monuments. Some of the estates are open to the public. The Boekenstey estate has a beautiful park where yearly the Dew Walk is organized. So if you fancy walking along with the Dew Walk? sign up at the link above. A delicious Ascension breakfast at Restaurant Brambergen is included in the ticket.
➔ Restaurant Brambergen, ‘s Graveland
Dew Walk to celebrate Spring and Nature’s Beauty
Dauwtrappen is seen as a way to celebrate the arrival of spring and enjoy nature’s beauty during the early morning hours. It is believed that walking barefoot or with light footwear on the dew-covered grass brings good luck and health for the rest of the year. The walk is typically undertaken in a group, often with family and friends, creating a sense of community and togetherness.
What time starts the Dew Walk
People participating in dauwtrappen often start their walk at the break of dawn, typically around sunrise. Sunrise is on Ascension Day, medio May around 5.30 am.
Dew Walks Around the World
It is not typical Dutch traction to go on a Dew Walk on Ascension Day. While the tradition originated in the Netherlands, similar customs involving early morning walks in the countryside can be found in other countries as well. The focus is often on appreciating nature and enjoying the serenity of the early morning hours.
How does dew forms?
Dew forms when the temperature of the air drops below the dew point. The dew point is the point at which moist air begins to condense. This can occur sooner in warmer air than in colder air.