Uitwaaien in The Netherlands

The first week of January the Washington Post dedicated an article to the Dutch custom of ‘uitwaaien’ (Check Forvo for the pronunciation). Although the article focuses a bit too much on surfing to explain the concept, I thought it was quite interesting. Does it really explain an aspect of Dutch culture or does it actually show an aspect of American culture? As a Dutch native, I assume the latter. But yes, that’s my point of view from Amsterdam. I wonder how other world citizens think about it.
Continue reading Uitwaaien in The Netherlands

Organising a Sinterklaas party for non-believers

Mid November every year Sinterklaas arrives in Belgium and the Netherlands, together with his servants that are throwing ‘pepernoten’ and ‘tumtummetjes’ into the crowds. Hundreds of children are welcoming him, singing and expecting presents in their shoe. But that’s the Sinterklaasfeest for children. The Sinterklaasfeest for the older non-believers is very different.
Continue reading Organising a Sinterklaas party for non-believers

Full Moon Poem

Many decades ago I stumbled upon this poem about the full moon. I don’t know the writer, and I even don’t know if it’s originally Dutch or a translation. Memorise this poem and recite it to impress your Dutch friends and give them just a little bit the creeps.

Zelfs een man die godvruchtig bidt,
‘s avonds voor hij slapen gaat,
kan een weerwolf zijn als het wolfskruid bloeit
en de maan vol aan de hemel staat.

Even a man that says his prayers at night,
can be a werewolf if the wolfsbane blooms
and the moon is full and bright.

Sleep well!

Sinterklaas – the most famous member of the Inquisition?

The Dutch Sinterklaasfeest is celebrated on December 5th. But who is Sinterklaas? He is definitely not Santa Claus, because his origins are different. Sinterklaas is a mixture of our pagan god Wodan, a saint from Turkey and something much more evil: an inquisitor!
Continue reading Sinterklaas – the most famous member of the Inquisition?

the New Sint

The Dutch Sinterklaasfeest is controversial. Adults argue about (not) changing the tradition. This has brought us problems, fights, court cases and disharmony. Luckily we also see creative, fresh initiatives arise around this old folklore. Do you want to experience some of those inspiring festivities? Then come to the coolest, hippest Sinterklaasfeest of the Netherlands. The New Sint will lead the party for the third year in succession.

Continue reading the New Sint