Dutch Birthday Parties, Every country has its birthday rules and traditions. The Dutch have their own way and its really funny to write about this style. Here is the story about a classic Dutch Birthday party. When you’re invited to a classic Dutch Birthday party, don’t expect a crowd dancing and acting all wild. We have a saying in Holland…..Just act normal, that’s crazy enough.

When you enter the house, you congratulate the Birthday boy/girl first. We give each other three kisses on the cheek and hand over the present. After that, you will congratulate everybody in the room. Funny thing is that if for instance your mother enters the room to congratulate you with your husband she will say, congratulations with “Robert”, then you will say, “congratulations with your son in law back to her”. We always congratulate each other and during the congratulations we will mention the relation you have with the one who is celebrating his or her Birthday. Really strange but true. When you congratulated everyone you must find a seat. The Dutch put all the chairs they can find in a big circle. It doesn’t matter what kind of chairs, that’s why you also often see big plastic garden chairs with big pillows on them. The circle is really important and the circle must stay!!. Don’t ever think about making your own small circle to talk with a smaller group. Once you have found a free spot, you are almost “doomed” to sit next to a person the whole party, and have small talk with him or her. It’s a real bummer when its someone you absolutely have no connection with, so your social skills are really put up to the test.

The party starts with cake and coffee, and later on the salty snacks will be put on the table. The most common salty snack is called the Borrelnoot! A Borrelnoot is a peanut with outside a fried salty layer that can have all sorts of flavours. Borrel in Dutch means “a drink (alcohol)”. So these peanuts go very well with a beer a wine. Besides the borrelnoot small cubes of cheese will be cut and will be also divided in the group on a plate. The cheese will be offered in 2 flavours, old cheese (very salty) and young cheese. We dip the cube of cheese in a bowl of Dutch mustard. Everybody sits for hours, and there will be no dancing, that’s weird for Dutch. And the weirdest thing is that when you celebrate your own Birthday, you have to take care of everything. You have to be the host, serve drinks and food to your guest and you have no time for talking. Nobody will take care of you! It’s your Birthday but you have to work like a horse we say in Dutch. The only thing is that you get presents and people expect that you will serve them the rest of the day.

At your work it’s also really weird. Your colleagues expect you to bring cake, and the only thing you get is a handshake or a kiss. At your work you don’t get presents, you only have to give but you don’t get. At your work there is a calendar hanging in the lunchroom and everybody knows it’s your B-day. So if you don’t bring something people start asking you what’s going on. Of course the Dutch are now influenced by other cultures so things are changing, but still these customs are pretty common still. So folks, just pick a seat in the circle and enjoy your borrelnoten!