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Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tradition ~ The Netherlands

Continuing with our Series of Christmas Traditions, this is about The Netherlands.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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In the Netherlands, Christmas is a two-day affair, celebrated mainly on the 25th and 26th of December. It is one of the most awaited festivals of the year and is observed with much fanfare and enthusiasm. The Dutch celebrate this occasion by decorating their homes and gardens. The streets and stores are wonderfully adorned, each displaying a colorful façade. The celebration starts as early as December 5. The day is commemorated to celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas Avond or St. Nicholas Eve. Unlike many other countries, the concept of Santa Claus giving gifts is not present. Instead, in Netherland, St. Nicholas hands over the presents to all the good children.

Christmas Celebrations in Netherlands:

St Nicolas Day is a very special occasion for the Dutch, who celebrate the festival with much glory and grandeur. On St Nicholas Eve, children put out hay for Sinterklaas's white horse and set out their shoes, in anticipation of the candy and presents that they would receive. On December 6 i.e. St Nicholas Day, people celebrate the festival with family and close relatives, after which starts the preparation for the D-Day or Christmas. The Dutch families start with cleaning and purification of the house. Once the cleaning is done, decorations start.

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Around Christmas, houses, streets and stores in Netherlands look majestic and royal in their new found style. In case of Christmas tree, known as Paradise tree, people either go for the artificial tree available in the stores or buy the real pine trees. Some people even build wooden Christmas pyramids and decorate them with evergreens and candles. Glass baubles, bells and stars, small electric lights and other items of adornments are also seen on the Christmas tree. The custom of Midwinter Horn Blowing is still practiced in some parts of the Netherlands, which basically starts on Advent Sunday and continues until Christmas Eve.

Christmas Tree
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At dusk, farmers take long horns made from elder trees and blow them while standing over wells. The well, in return, lends an eerie sound to the call, which states the announcement of the coming Christ. Unlike the western countries, Christmas is celebrated on two days, in Netherland. On the First day of Christmas, the Christmas tree is lit with real candles. People attend prayers in the church, after which families gather together to eat dinner, at a candle-lit table that is decorated with green, white and red trimmings.

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Venison, hare, goose or turkey, along with Kerstbrood (Christmas loaf), Kerstkrans (Christmas Ring) and different kinds of puddings, are served in dinner. Once it is over, the family sits together and sings Christmas carols and narrates the birth of Jesus. The Second Day of Christmas is basically a leisure holiday. On this day, the Dutch people relax and unwind themselves. Attending plays or going to the restaurant are some of the favorite activities they indulge in. All in all, Christmas in the Netherlands is the time for indulging in sanctimonious practices and merry making.

Source via ~ Google Images

Kerstkrans (Christmas Ring)
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The Netherlands
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Wooden Shoes Filled With Candy and Flowers
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I hope you enjoyed this series of Christmas traditions. Stay tuned for a new one on Thursday. :)


  1. This is beautiful...I love all the traditions...for me it makes the season even more special. These traditions are let go too much in the world today...I bet all those treats above smell amazing!! And I love the idea of wooden shoes instead of stockings, so sweet :) Thanks for another beautiful Christmas from another place :)) I look forward to the next!! Have a wonderful day doll xo

    am here today: Love all of those, the chair in number 3 is amazing, love that!! I agree, black and gold interiors are so nice and rich looking!! Wonderful pictures :) Have a great day!!

    am here today: La Femme Nouvelle

  2. This is a wonderful series you're doing Kris, and so informative! I love the candy in the little wooden clogs, so cute:)

    There's a guy on PBS who has a European Christmas special they show every year, it's so much fun to watch. I think his name is Rick Steve's but I could be wrong.

    Looking forward to next weeks edition:)

  3. We went to Amsterdam a couple of days after Christmas a few years ago. It was a wonderful experience. Everything was beautifully festive and we loved it as dusk arrived and we could peek into people's homes before they closed their shutters! M x

  4. I love to see how other countries celebrate. Would love to visit Amsterdam.

  5. Oh I love it - spoke to my fiend today who is married to a dutch guy and they eat rabbit(hare) and Sinterklaas give the kids gifts in an old shoe. Brilliant Kris, I am learning loads about our fellow europeans,

  6. Dear friend,

    I love this post about my country...this pictures are so nice.
    I am so proud you make this post about loving country..

    I live about 30 minutes from Amsterdam...and this city is amazing.
    And Christmas is such a beautiful time in Holland.

    Yes Sint.Nicolas is a great party with a lot of presents...

    Thank you so much for this BEAUTIFUL post....and when you are coming
    to Holland you are welcome in my house...

    Love from your friend..

  7. great post about our Northern neighbors with whom we share lots of traditions, Sinterklaas is one of them

  8. Kris,
    Your stories about traditions all around the world is so interesting to me. The girls are even enjoying them. My mom cooked venison when I was little, and our dad always made us try a bite of everything, even if it wasn't appealing to us. That Christmas ring looks so delightful, and the Dutch shoes are a wonderful idea. I love the white horse. We celebrate Christmas in different ways around the world, but the meaning remains the same.... we all adore the Christ child. I look forward to Thursday's traditions.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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