Purple Friday in the Netherlands Date in the current year: December 13, 2024

Purple Friday in the Netherlands Purple Friday (Paarse Vrijdag) is observed in the Netherlands on the second Friday of December. On this day, students in Dutch schools are encouraged to wear purple to show their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and take a stand against bullying.

Although the Netherlands is one of the world’s most culturally liberal countries, this doesn’t meant that Dutch LGBTQ+ students never face discrimination or bullying. According to reports, about half of all queer secondary schools students in the Netherlands have difficulty openly expressing their sexuality. LGBTQ+ youth tend to enjoy school less and skip classes more often. About half of all students who come out of the closet have to deal with negative reactions regarding their orientation or are outright bullied. Suicide rates among LIGBTQ+ youth are also higher than among heterosexual youth.

Purple Friday in the Netherlands was inspired by Spirit Day, an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day that originated in the United States, which, in turn, was inspired by Canada’s Pink Shirt Day. American high school student Brittany McMillan organized the first Spirit Day in collaboration with GLAAD on October 20, 2010. The color purple and the name Spirit Day are a reference to the pride flag, where the purple stripe represents spirit.

Two months later, Dutch high school student Nazmul Zaman decided to organize a similar campaign at his school to offer support to LGBT youth and raise visibility of sexual and gender diversity in a positive way. Thanks to the support from COC Nederlend, the world’s oldest existing LGBT organization, 150 schools participated in the inaugural event that took place on December 12, 2010.

Purple Friday has been held in Dutch schools every second Friday of December since its inception. The event is coordinated by COC Nederlend’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance Network (GSA) in collaboration with educators, psychologists, and other professionals.

Hundreds of schools across the Netherlands participate in Purple Day every year. In addition to encouraging their students to wear purple, some schools publish the annual Purple Friday Newspaper with educational content about sexual and gender diversity, as well as organize special events to promote tolerance and combat bullying.

Purple Friday isn’t just for secondary schools; the campaign is also supported by primary schools, secondary vocational schools, universities, and other educational establishments. COC Netherlands offers various resources for teachers and school directors who want to join the campaign and make their schools a safer and more inclusive place: posters, PowerPoint presentations, educational podcasts, lesson letters for different grades, craft materials, picture books, songs, poems, coloring pages, manuals, games, information for parents, and more.

These materials come in physical Purple Friday packages that schools can request and use free of charge. There are two types of packages: for primary schools and for secondary schools, including vocational institutions. In addition to the physical packages, there are downloadable digital materials available on the official Purple Friday website. It should be noted that these packages can be very helpful, but they are not required: schools can participate even without a package. What matters is that they focus on creating a safe environment for students.

Remind me with Google Calendar


Other Observances



Purple Friday in the Netherlands, observances in the Netherlands, LGBTQ+ awareness days, anti-bullying campaign