Introduction to the Dutch

The Dutch

A very interesting bunch of people...

Still a little confused about what the Dutch are all about? Unsure of any notices or letters you have received? Or the instructions on the back of your food items? You can drop by the office at any time, the Dutch board members will help you complete any papers or translate anything.

The Dutch have other habits than the country you are from. For example, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween, and inDutch families Sinterklaas is more important than Santa Claus. Welisted the typical Dutch celebrations below, so you can prepareyourself for what’s coming!

Have you been a good boy or girl? Sinterklaas sure knows! Sinterklaas is like the Dutch version of Santa Claus. He is a saint from Spain (saids the story, but he is officially from Turkey) who travels here once a year to watch over the Dutch children. He grants them with the wishes from their wishing list. He arrives at the 13th of November. From that moment on, he will visit the houses of children. Dutch kids put their shoe in front of the hearth with a carrot for Sinterklaas’s horse and a nice drawing or their wishing list. Sinterklaas will visit at night and fill the shoes with “pepernoten”, other candy or little presents. On the 5th of December, Sinterklaas celebrates his birthday. During the night he visits all houses in the Netherlands and gives the kids presents.

The Dutch celebrate Christmas as well. Although more and more families are copying the abroad way of celebrating, most families stick to Sinterklaas as the gift-giving December holiday and celebrate Christmas in their own way.In the Netherlands, Christmas is more of a religious celebration. Many people who visit Church only once a year do so on Christmas. Dutch Christmas is all about being with your family and eating a lot. Most television channels broadcast Christmas movies and most homes are decorated with a Christmas tree. Many Dutch kids don’t know of the existence of Santa Claus or think he doesn’t exist. In any case, they know he doesn’t visit the Netherlands.

This year, Carnaval will be take place from the 20th to the 25th of February. Carnaval is a crazy party: people dress up and spend five days doing nothing else but having fun and drinking. During these days, people don’t think seeing bananas, sailors, devils, farmers, mouses, nurses, or chickens pass by is strange, whereas people dressed in every day clothing stand out. Carnaval is all about going crazy and having fun!

King’s Day
On King’s day, the 27th of April, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their King. Basically this celebration is all about dressing up in orange, or red, white andblue, and partying. King’s night, which is on the 26th, guarantees an amazing evening of partying. Many cities go all out and create party areas. Every year, the party in Amsterdam is the biggest and busiest. A lot of people go there on King’s night and don’t stop partying until late on King’s day.

Easter has many faces in the Netherlands. The one all children like and love is the one of the chocolate eggs the Easter Bunny hides in their houses or gardens. Children get up early to search for them. Painting boiled eggs is something many families do during Easter as well. Another interpretation of Easter is the religious one. Although churches aren’t as crowded as during Christmas, many Dutch honour the religious background of this celebration. Finally, Easter marks the beginning of the spring. People like to decorate their homes with chicks, green branches and bright colours.

Kermis, mostly translated as fairground, is something all Dutch are familiar with. The Kermis consists of a group of travelling people, mostly families, that all own a ride (such as bumpercars, a ferris wheel, rollercoaster or ghost house). They travel from town to town, set up their rides, form a Kermis for a couple of days, and leave for the next town again. Tilburg Kermis is the biggest Kermis in the Netherlands. From the 19th to the 28th of July 2024, the Kermis will rule Tilburg. It goes along with great parties and a lot of fun, so be sure to be in Tilburg during those days!