December, the enchanting month when it is time for Christmas! The world is embraced by twinkling lights, majesticChristmas trees, and the joyous gathering of families. Just like in every country, in the Netherlands unique traditionscome to light to celebrate this magical day. Join us on this delightful Dutch journey as the secrets of celebratingChristmas the Dutch way are revealed!
Christmas Eve, and TWO days of Christmas?
Yes, you read it correctly! Brace yourself for not just one, but three special occasions to celebrate Kerst (Christmas)! Itall begins with the familiar Kerstavond (Christmas Eve) on 24 December, where some Dutch families go to churchtogether. But that’s just the beginning!
The real magic happens on 25 and 26 December, when Dutch people indulge in two days of Christmas festivities. Thesedays are typically filled with exploring markets, partaking in various events, and of course, traditional dinners withfamily.
Traditional ways of dining
In the Netherlands, the feeling of warmth with friends and family during Christmas is cherished and celebrated. Dutchpeople would call it ‘gezellig’! Families do their best to make delicious dinners, and there are traditional Dutch mealsthat are often eaten. One of the meals families eat is turkey, like Americans do with Thanksgiving. Another
beloved tradition is ‘gourmetten’, where a tabletop grill allows everyone to grilltheir own pieces of meat and veggies, together by scrumptious side dishes. Andlet’s not forget the delightful ‘kaas’ (cheese) fondue that a lot of families enjoy.Additionally, many people opt for family-friendly restaurants, where meals aresavoured and enjoyed. So, whether it is a homemade meal or a culinary treat,the Dutch know how to make Christmas delicious and memorable.
Dutch winter food
Another essential part of Christmas in the Netherlands are the typical Dutch winter food and snacks! Of course, we allknow the ‘stroopwafel’. Yet, during winter, the star of the show is the ‘oliebol’, a fried ball of batter. Additionally, there are‘Kerstkransjes’, chocolate rings that can be hung in the Christmas tree, ‘speculaas’, spiced cinnamon ginger cookies,and ‘kerststol’, a fruited Christmas loaf. Last but not least, in the Netherlands you can eat ‘appelbeignets’, applefritters, and ‘banketstaaf’, a Dutch pastry with a sweet almond paste center.
Christmas markets and festivities
In many big cities in the Netherlands, you will find a Christmas market: unique masterpieces with lovely decorations,creating a cozy and warm atmosphere. There is also a lot do! Go ice skating, follow a route with Christmas lights, drink hot chocolate, buy Christmas presents or souvenirs, and of course, eat a ‘stroopwafel’ or ‘oliebol’. Get ready to experience a world of wonder and excitement in the Netherlands!