3 min29 April 2022

Every country has its customs

It is said that each country has its own customs, which is no doubt true. They are often a surprise to people of other nationalities. Sometimes we don’t know how to read them and we think about the question “What is that all about?” The Netherlands surprises on many levels, so if you want to travel here, it’s good to look at the customs first. Thanks to this, you will not be confused when – for example: you see a stork figure in the garden of your friends who you haven’t seen for a long time, and balloons or other decorations on the door of the house (no, this is not a greeting to spring!).

Home birth

For women from other parts of Europe it will be surprising that a home birth in the Netherlands is not an extraordinary choice. Many Dutch women choose to give birth in the comfort of their own apartment, where they feel confident and safe, and Dutch doctors do not insist on doing that at the hospital. The country is known for its excellent maternity care, thanks to which home births are as safe as those received in a medical facility.

Birth notifications

When the baby arrives in the world, parents and siblings inform about this fact by sending cards (rich in details about the baby, such as: name, birth weight, length) to the closest family and friends. It is a custom in this country, although now – probably – superseded by the achievements of the 21st century, such as smartphones and video calls…

The stork has arrived!

Other friends (and strangers) are informed about the birth of a baby by placing a plastic or wooden figure of a stork in front of the house, in a window or in the garden. It is to inform that it has just visited a given family, leaving them in the care of… a baby. Sometimes in the window, parents even hang a plaque with the name of the newborn child.

Beschuit met muisjes (“Rusks with mice”)

It is a traditional snack served in the Netherlands on the occasion of the birth of a child. Beschuit is something similar to biscuits. Muisjes (“mice”) in their name refer to anise seeds in a sweet coating. They are called mice because some of them still have a petiole. Rusks are buttered and sprinkled with “mice”, which can be bought in two colors: white-pink and white-blue. Who will guess what color for which gender of the child? In the royal family, special beschuit met muisjes are served on the occasion of the birth of a descendant in the royal family: they have an orange color in honor of the color of the Dutch monarchy.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated in the Netherlands on the second Sunday in May. Usually, mums get a gift while still in bed, and are provided with breakfast and help with household chores. The gifts are made by children at school, for sure with great joy and enthusiasm. Many women also receive bouquets of flowers, especially tulips… because how to live in the Netherlands and not have tulips at home, right? Throughout their holiday, mothers enjoy the time spent with their family.



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