Typical Dutch

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

Advertisements

Strange Dutch Celebrations: 12 and a half year wedding anniversary

Wedding rings

Next month it’ll be mine and the Dutchie’s 1 year wedding anniversary. WOW – how quick has that gone!? So now seems like a good time to talk about Dutch wedding anniversaries… but first, to put it into context… here’s what we’re used to in the UK (and from what I can gather, it’s pretty similar in the US too).

The English tend to celebrate their wedding anniversaries every year, well at least the two of them anyway. But how long do you have to wait until it’s time for a big old party!? Generally, people celebrate ‘properly’ when they make it to 20 or 25 years.

In case you’re not au fait with traditional wedding anniversary names, here’s the list of edited highlights:

1st Paper
10th Tin
15th Crystal
20th China
25th Silver
30th Pearl
40th Ruby
50th Gold
60th Diamond

The names of some of the anniversaries are supposed to provide guidance for appropriate gifts for the spouses to give each other, but I’m not sure if people still do that nowadays. We still call the biggies by their traditional names though, for example most people would know what a “Golden” wedding anniversary is.

So anyway, if you’re Dutch… when do you celebrate your wedding anniversary?

After 12 and a half years, of course!

Sorry, you what?

So you get married in August 2014 and you have a party to celebrate your anniversary in February 2027… Riiiiiiight…

12.5 jaar getrouwd

Good old Wikipedia confirms that in Holland, they also have a similar method to the UK, but they also (apparently) celebrate 37 ½ months, 6 ¼ years and 12 ½ years:

jaar = year
maanden = months

1 jaar Katoen (Cotton)
37 ½ maanden Blik (Tin)
6 ¼ jaar IJzer (Iron)
10 jaar Blik (Tin)
12 ½ jaar Koper (Copper)
20 jaar Porselein (Porcelain)
25 jaar Zilver (Silver)
30 jaar Parel (Pearl)
40 jaar Robijn (Ruby)
50 jaar Goud (Gold)
60 jaar Diamant (Diamond)

And the real reason why the Dutch celebrate 12 ½ years of marriage? They can’t be arsed to wait 25 years for an excuse to party!

Hear! Hear!

Yet another reason why I love the Dutch.

Hayley x

6 Reasons you should go to Zaanse Schans

This totally sounds like a sponsored post, but NOPE. Just a cool place to go for a few hours, especially if you’re feeling a bit sad and want to smile from ear to ear.

1. Are you a tourist? 

Are you entertaining a tourist? Are you new to the Netherlands? Do you like clogs, windmills, tulips and everything quintessentially Dutch? You NEED to go to Zaanse Schans.

IMG_9364

2. Are you Dutch? 

You will still love it. Yes, it is a tourists paradise… but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. Be a tourist in your own country for the day. (The Dutchie actually bought these, with absolutely no prompting from me!)

IMG_3364a

3. Close proximity to Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans is located in Zaandijk, Zaandam. It’s less than 20 minutes on the train from Amsterdam Centraal. (The closest station is Koog-Zaandijk and from there it’s about a 15 min walk… or you can just take the bus which takes about 40 mins.) The perfect location for a day trip from Amsterdam. You can easily fill half a day, or more if you visit the Zaans Museum.

IMG_9362

4. It’s real, sort of…

It looks and feels like an open-air museum, but people actually live here! It’s a working community that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. All kinds of buildings, windmills, barns and houses were relocated here from across the Zaan region, piece by piece, since 1961.

It is also home to the first ever Albert Heijn (the Netherlands most famous Dutch grocery store chain) which started business in Zaandam in 1887.

IMG_9384

5. D’ Vijf Broers

So technically this isn’t in  Zaanse Schans… but it’s within spitting distance, so it counts in my book! A fantastic bar, restaurant and hotel set alongside the Zaan river. Better than the food outlet offerings within Zaanse Schans itself (a pancake house and a crazy ass expensive place)… so worth crossing the bridge for! It has panoramic views of the Zaanse Schans windmills with a large terrace to enjoy the view on sunny days! See here for my full review.

IMG_3367

6. Windmills

There are no less than SIX windmills at Zaanse Schans! Five of which are functioning and open to the public. The other is just for show 😉 There are also two mini-windmills and model windmills within the grounds, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Read more about the windmills.

IMG_9377

If I’ve already persuaded you to go, here’s the Zaanse Schans website for all the practical stuff.

If not, here are a ton more photos.

Hayley x

IMG_9344

IMG_9346

IMG_9354

IMG_9365

IMG_9362

IMG_9382

IMG_9371

IMG_9358

IMG_9368

IMG_9376

IMG_9380

IMG_9378

IMG_9383

IMG_9387

IMG_9392

IMG_9394

IMG_9388

IMG_9405

IMG_9409

IMG_3371

IMG_9397

 

Strange Dutch Celebrations: Seeing Abraham & Sarah

Irene Van Dam made a comment on a recent post that she’d love to hear my stories about ‘special events’ which Dutch people celebrate – like birthdays, anniversaries and newborns. Great idea – thanks, Irene. Your wish is my command!

I’ve already written about Dutch circle parties, which are weird in themselves! But imagine if it’s a special birthday, say you turn 50… believe me, it’s about to get a whole lot freakier!

50th Birthdays –  Or “Seeing” Abraham / Sarah

Abrahamoffice2

So, you’re turning 50. Maybe you want to keep it quiet, have a small meal with the family, something like that. Live in the Netherlands? NO SUCH LUCK!

Your home, garden or place of work (or all three!) will be decorated by your ‘loving’ friends and family with posters, banners, balloons and a life-sized doll of YOU.

Turning 50 in the Netherlands is a BIG BLOODY DEAL!

Apparently it means you are old enough and wise enough to have ‘seen Abraham’ or if you’re a woman – old enough to have ‘seen Sarah’ and your whole street will know about it! The names come from the biblical figures, Abraham and his wife Sarah. According to the bible, Abraham lived until he was 175 and Sarah until she was 127… so if you make it to 50 you’re deemed old enough to have ‘wisdom through experience’.

Traditionally there’s a big party with, you guessed it – cake!

Or, if your friends are jokers, you might get something like this…

Exhibit A:

Abraham

This was given to my brother-in-law on his 50th birthday party, rather than a traditional cake. Basically it’s just another excuse (much like the Sinterklaas poems) to take the piss out of your friends and loved ones.

His office was decorated like so… (smiley used to cover his handsome face – sorry, bro!)

Abrahamoffice

(The thing on the right is a dummy, looks pretty realistic huh?)

In addition to the hullabaloo at work… he also had a party at home to celebrate. At his birthday BBQ he was given a zimmer frame while we – his friends and family – sang a song to him about how past it and ‘over the hill’ he is. Nice, huh!?

But don’t get mad… get even! Just save up your cruel ideas for when your friends and colleagues turn 50. Or if that’s passed already: 60, 70, 80… they’re all celebrated. Along with 1/2 Abraham or Sarah for when you’re 25!! Then you get half a cake. Crazy Dutchies!

Other ‘kroonjaren’ (translates to crown years) are celebrated as follows:

25 Half Abraham (or Sara / Sarah)
50 Abraham (or Sara / Sarah)
60 Isaac / Isaak (or Elisabeth / Elizabeth / Rebekka / Rebecca)
70 Jacob  (or Anna / Rachel / Lea)
80 Joseph (or Deborah / Asnath)
90 Anthony / Antonius / Efraïm (or Ruth)
100 Methusalem (or Judith)

Names seem to vary (possibly according to region? Help me out here please…) but it’s every 10 years anyway.

Here’s how it’s done the traditional way… the cake my schoonmoeder  was given for her 70th birthday, or ‘Lea’. Accompanied by a big circle party, natuurlijk! 

Lea cake - 70

Looking forward to your birthday now??

Hayley x

Ps – coming up next in this ‘Strange Dutch Celebrations’ mini-series: Having a baby & Celebrating 12.5 years of marriage. If there are any other weird celebrations you can think of that you’d like me to explore… please let me know!