Strange Dutch Celebrations: Having a baby in the Netherlands

This is the last post in the mini-series: Strange Dutch Celebrations.

(Just in case you missed the other posts: Seeing Abraham & Sarah (Turning 50 in the Netherlands) and The 12 and a half year wedding anniversary.)

Beschuit met muisjes

From these previous posts, we learned that Dutch people are a bit barmy when it comes to celebrating birthdays and anniversaries… So what happens when they have a baby?

Well, my dear readers… you’re in for a treat! It’s about to get a whole lot weirder.

Back home, in England, when someone has a baby… they will probably call their Mum… and then after a few days, the (hopefully) happy couple will get in touch with other friends and family to announce their new arrival. Some people plaster the event all over Facebook. Their choice.

In Holland?

You just announce it to the whole street! With coloured banners, bunting, balloons etc (blue for a boy, pink for a girl) possibly a stork… and any other baby related paraphernalia you can think of.

Situatie gewijzigd = situation changed

Situatie gewijzigd = situation changed

Situation changed! It sure has!!

Then comes the baby announcement card aka the Geboortekaartje.

Organised parents-to-be will have already selected the card design and the baby name, so when their little bundle of joy arrives… all they have to do is fill in the date, time and weight at birth. Oh and because they’re Dutch = the baby’s length! A very important detail!

The geboortekaartje (literally: birth card) is something we Brits could definitely learn from the Dutch! All the vital statistics, on one piece of card – it’s so handy! (Especially if you’re like me: terrible with remembering birthdays and suchlike!)

So. You’ve got your card – which means you’re part of the inner circle. Now to visit the little pipsqueak.

Brace yourselves for the worst part.

Even worse than holding a brand new, tiny baby and thinking the whole time: “Shit… what if I drop it!?”

You need to eat a rusk with butter and aniseed balls on top.

Beschuit met Muisjes

Beschuit met Muisjes

Told you.

**Bleeeeeeeeeugh!**

I’m not a baby. I don’t eat rusk. I especially don’t eat rusk with butter! I especially, especially don’t eat rusk with butter and ANISEED BALLS!!

Yet, it’s a Dutch custom… so when a baby is born, you’ve got to do it.

Beschuit met muisjes (literally: rusk with little mice, real meaning: rusk with aniseed balls) come in three types. White and blue balls for a boy. White and pink balls for a girl. And white and orange balls when a new member of the Royal family is born!

Are you looking forward to geboortekaartjes dropping through your letterbox!? Wahahahaha!!

Hayley x

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11 comments

  1. Ha, a 24 hour labour, no pain relief obviously, to be presented with one to eat, hmm just what I fancied. Both of us being English and dreadfully polite I made my husband hide it in a bag and just left the crumbs on the plate. By number 2 I was much more acclimatised and direct.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you know why it’s called muisjes (mice)? It’s because the aniseed sometimes have a little tail that sticks out of the ball. You can also present it (for older brothers/sisters to treat their classmates for exampe) with ‘lange vingers’ dipped in chocoladepasta and then dipped in de ‘muisjes’.

    Aniseed was known for shrinking the uterus faster and for the breastmilk. I still don’t know why every vistior has to eat it then 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Being Dutch I was very disappointed when my baby was born in England and they did not record his birth length. A neonatal nurse tried to measure it a couple of days later, but it was very inaccurate. So we’ll never know his birth length and the number on his birth announcement is all wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A bit late perhaps, but how do you not love beschuit met muisjes??? I think this is an awesome and delicious Dutch tradition 🙂

    Like

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