May 5 is Liberation Day in the Netherlands, commemorating the end of the Nazi occupation in 1945. It’s a national holiday this year, but not next year, and not again until 2015-a quinquennial national holiday, although it used to be annual. I’ve been told the reason for its partial dismantling is that the government wanted to reduce time off, and, with the passage of time, fewer people remembered or felt so strongly about the underlying historical event.
While Europeans work less for pay than Americans, I hate to see Europe even begin to move to what I view as the American low-level equilibrium of short vacations, few holidays and long hours of market work. Instead, since competition does not seem to be leading us to work less, perhaps we should have more nationally mandated holidays (always on a Monday). Martin Luther King, Jr., Day was a good start; how about others-Adam Smith‘s birthday? Suggest your favorite.