Today is Uitslagdag here in Holland, a day when you undoubtedly will come upon one of the more unusual sights in the Netherlands…schoolbags hanging from flagpoles flying the Ducth flag. It is the day that high school seniors in Dutch schools learn whether they have passed their final exams which means they can graduate, or eindexamen uitslag.
So what’s the meaning of this unique Dutch tradition? A Dutch friend tells me that it represents throwing the schoolbag away (out the window) because it is not needed anymore (for those students which have successfully passed their exams… geslaagd). When you see a schoolbag on the flagpole, you know a high school senior who lives at the house has will be graduating because they learned today they have passed their final exams.
If you know a high school senior lives at a house where the flagpole with schoolbag and Dutch flag is not out, it means, sadly, the student will not be graduating with the rest of his/her class. However, students are given a second chance to pass an exam they failed. This re-test (herexam) is limited to two failed classes. These students will find out those results at the beginning of July, so it is quite possible you may still see a flagpole proudly displayed with Dutch flag and schoolbag hanging from it when herexamen uitslag (re-test exam results) are announced.