For some people the Netherlands is difficult to find on the globe. The country is so small that the name has to be written in the sea. Do you want to learn the language of Rembrandt and Vermeer? Check out this site, where you can learn Dutch in 2 different courses. A crashcourse and time to learn Dutch. Further more, there is some additional info about the Dutch language.
The city of The Hague hosts the International Sand Sculpture Festival which takes place on the beach of Scheveningen. This seems to happen from mid April to end of June and we were late for it. As of August 2009, while cycling though the Netherlands we were lucky to see stunning sand sculptures in Buitenhof square, right in the center of The Hague. These were inspired by the unmistakable works of Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland which we could tell from a distance. What we couldn't imagine was to face sand stuff and good thing the dry weather was preserving the intricate, delicate patterns of human bodies broadcasting infinite serenity.
When special events are happening (soccer, Queensday, marriage of the Royal Family, etc) people are wearing orange stuff. Stuff like hats, t-shirts, boa, etc. Everybody is having a good time and is happy.
The colour orange is formed by the Royal Family. Their 'last name' is Van Oranje (translation would be 'from orange'). Because of this orange is the colour of the Netherlands.
The present Queen (Beatrix) set up this day to thank her mother (former Queen/princess Juliana who died a few years ago) for all the things she did for our Queen. The Queens mother had her birthday on 30 April. The Queen will go to 2 cities each year. She celebrate the above fact with the people of the Netherlands. Most of the relatives of the Queen are coming this day (most sister and their children).
The Dutch are getting crazy this day: dressed up orange, drinking...
In 2009 the Queen & her family visited my hometown Apeldoorn.
One thing at Easter is watching the pope on TV. For about half an hour the Pope is saying his Urbi et Orbi. In this Urbi et Orbi he giving a speech about a subject that is a present topic. After this speech, he is saying Happy Easter in so many languages.
At the St Peter's Square there are standing flowers. Once in a few years the flowers are coming from the Netherlands. When the Pope is saying Happy Easter in Dutch, he is thanking the Netherlands for these flowers. This was the case in 2009.
Soccer is the number one sport in the Netherlands. When there is a big tournament coming up (Europen Championship or World Championship), people go crazy. The houses are decorated with orange flags, banners, etc.
When the national Dutch team is playing their games, a lot of people are dressed up in orange to support the team.
The pictures shown at this tip were made during the European Champhionship in Switzerland and Austria ()2008). I am living in this street.
Fireworks (vuurwerk) is all over the Netherlands in the last days of the year.
Vuurwerk sales are often converted shops, that have special storage to handle a certain amount of fireworks. Dutch fireworks are very regulated, but a lot of "illegal" goods are being sold in Belgium and Germany.
Officially fireworks may be lit by adults at NYE from 10AM to 2AM at New Year's Day.
Be prepared of one day of bangs, rockets, Christmas trees bonfires and a BIG finale at midnight.
Dutch Supermarkets have their own rules:
Shopping carts: In most shopping markets it is forbidden to shop without a cart or a basket (mandje). Most carts are parked outside the shop, ofter near the car parking and need a deposit coin (50 Euro cents or a 1 Euro one) to be freed for used.
Empty bottles: There is a refund on soda bottles and beer bottles. Often you get a ticket from a machine that takes your returned bottles. The machine may be located outside the shop. The ticket will be handeld at the register. Some supermarkets have a return policy for non-refundable plastic bottles. Non-refundable glass bottles normally are collected on a central point (glasbak).
Fruit & vegatables: Most of that is prepacked, but for some items you can select what you need in an available plastic bag. Most of the times you have to weght your bags at the spot and select the proper contect to get a "BON" (a sticker with the total amount you stick onto the bag.
Bread and Meat: Most is pre-packed, but in some supermarkets there are counters.
Beer and alcoholics: There sold in every Supermarket; there is an age restriction of 16 years.
Free stuff: In the bigger supermarkets often there's free samples of meat, cheese, cake or even a free cup of coffee.
Registers: Don't expect an honest queue mentality. Sometimes one cart is handled by a couple and while one already is standing in line, nr. 2 does the last minute shopping. Also, don't be surprised some people drop goods in the racks around the register, as soon as they realise they shopped beyond their credit.
Speed lanes: AH Supermarkets often have a speed lane for max. 10 items.
Brown bags: There are NO brown bags at the register and there will be nobody to pack your goods. Bring your own shopping bags on forhand or try to get some carbon boxes; most markets have them available at the entry.
Stamps and Actions: Many supermarkets have stamps to give you some savings. Other have cards (AH Bonus and Air Miles etc etc). These are no credit cards, but entitle you to this week selected discounts. At other supermarkets you can save action stamps for towels. free box of goods, etc.
Dutch Peasoup (complete meal)
- beef and pig's leg (a good butcher will sell those), smoked saucage, green peas, rooted selery, wintercarrot, leek, a beegcube, salt and pepper.
- Put a big pan with water , the beefcube the beef and pig's leg, some salt and pepper on the stove for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile wash the greenpeas with cold water and put those in the soup (after 2 hours) for about 45 minutes.
Chop the other vegetables in small cubes and put those when the meat and peas are cooked for about 15-20 min. at the last 5 minutes add the sliced smoked saucage.
You can combine this soup with pancakes and/or with special dark rye-bread and bacon:)
soepvlees, varkenshiel, spliterwten, winterwortel, knolselderie, prei, vleesbouillonblokje en zout en peper en rookworst.
- zet een flinke pan met water , wat zout en peper op met 1 bouillonblokje, mager soepvlees en varkenshiel, breng dit aan de kook en laat ca. 2uur trekken op een laag pitje.
- was ondertussen de spliterwten goed af en doe deze bij de soep, laat ca. 45 min. meekoken
- snijd prei en wortel en knolseldrie in kleine stukjes en kook dit ca, 20 min. mee, voeg de plakjes rookworst pas in de laatste 5 min. toe.
de soep is klaar, eet smakelijk:-)
Je kan deze soup combineren met pannenkoeken of met roggebrood en spek
A hearty breakfast dish, or maybe for dessert after a light meal.
For 4 persons:
4 slices of stale white bread
3 eggs, broken into a shallow dish. Add a bit of milk, sugar and cinnamon, whisk well.
Put the slices in the egg mixture and let them soak up all the liquid (5-10 mins).
Heat some butter in the pan, fry the slices carefully until golden.
Serve with a dash of icing sugar and HOT !
A very cheap but festive and fresh tasting dessert that is made in a matter of minutes.
For four persons: whisk 3 egg whites with 75 gr. sugar and 300 ml red berry juice (not cordial!) until fluffy and stiff.
Haagse Bluf (Bluff from The Hague) refers to a supposed characteristic of people from The Hague who like to show off by making a little seem a lot.
I treated myself to a baking tin with lid to steam puddings. And finally made a traditional Dutch 'broeder' (brother), a steamed pudding with currants and raisins with a syrup sauce (butter, syrup and the cinnamon liqueur that I soaked the raisins in).
It is similar to the English pudding 'Spotted Dick'.
Come to think of it, with this new baking tin, I can now make SD too!
I never made a ' broeder' before, nor have I ever heard any of my friends make it. I think it's too oldfashioned. I only remember it from when I grew up. So it's been well over 20 years since I'd eaten it.
Thought it would make a nice breakfast for a Sunday morning. And it was...delicious!
- 500 gr. flour
- a packet of powdered yeast (enough for the amount of flour)
- 1 egg
- raisins and current, soaked in liqueur if desired
Use the food processor, it's easiest.
Wash currants and raisins, soak in liqueur if desired for about 15-30 mins.
Mix flour and yeast and salt (or do the usual with lukewarm milk and real yeast if you prefer).
Add milk until a thick and just pourable consistency.
Add the fruit.
Butter the baking tin and its lid thoroughly and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.
Put batter in tin, cover, put in a pan with boiling water and boil for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, top up water if necessary.
Melt the butter gently, add syrup and the left over liqueur, mix into a smooth mixture.
Check if the pudding is done (stick a knitting needle in, if it comes out clean, it's done).
Turn pudding onto a plate, slice and pour sauce over. Eat hot!
Be prepared to feel quite filled after two slices!
If the pudding is cold, just heat up a slice or two in the microwave.
Typical Dutch winter soup. Here's my own recipe.
500 gram split peas
500 gram dried green peas
OR: 1000 gram split peas
2 pigs trotters
500 gram salted bacon (zuurkoolspek)
3 rookworsten (the thickest frankfurter would be similar
800 gram celeriac
600 gram winter carrot
800 gram leek
400 gram onions
400 gram aardappelen (optional)
¾ stronk bleekselderij
1 bunch of celery leaves
4-6 beef stock cubes (to taste)
salt and pepper
bay leaf, cloves
Boil the trotters in 3 litres of water, bay leaf, and cloves for 2-3 hours.
Softly boil the peas in a very big pan with 2 litres water and the bacon.
Boil both softly for 2-3 hours.
After boiling, remove bacon and set aside. Meanwhile slice and cut all the vegetables.
Add the trotters stock to the peas (remove bay leaf and cloves). Bring to boil carefully. Keep the soup thick, you can add the stock in portions while adding the vegetabels.
From this point: don’t let the soup boil too fast or it will burn. Stir often.
Add in this order, each 10 minutes after the previous:
Celeriac and carrots, leek and celery stalks, onions, potatoes, celery.
Bring to taste with stock cubes but be careful not to make it too salty. If you like, you can put half the soup in a food processor (not too long) and then add it back to the rest of the soup.
Now it is half chunky, half smooth.
Slice the sausages and cut up all the other meat in small pieces. Add to soup and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add pepper and salt. Remember the bacon is salty, so you don’t need much.
You now have 12 litres of erwtensoep, which you make only in winter. Set it outside to cool, then freeze it in portions. Don’t eat it the same day, it’s best a day after. When the soup is cold, you should be able to stand a wooden spoon in it upright and it stays like that.
I do not add potatoes because I don’t like it. I also rather add salt after reheating per portion. And I add the sausage later when I serve it, not before.
STAMPPOT MET ANDIJVIE EN SPEKJES – Mashed potatoes with Escarole and Crispy Fried Bacon
This is what we ate when VT member djoatlarge came to stay for a cycling trip in our area.
Andijvie – escarole, with its fluted leaves is not unlike a lettuce to look at, but it is in fact a member of the chicory family; sometimes referred to as broad or curly leafed endive. It has a slightly bitter taste and is eaten as a salad green, braised, or as in this very typical Dutch recipe.
400 g (3/4 lb) escarole
250 g (1/2 lb) rindless bacon (one thick piece or ready diced)
1 kg (2 lbs) floury potato
25 g (1 oz; 2 tbsp.) butter
milk to mix
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and drain the escarole, shred finely and set aside.
Dice the bacon and fry until crisp, set aside and reserve the fat.
Peel and quarter the potatoes and put in a large pan with just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil.
Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
Mash the potatoes with any remaining cooking liquid and the butter. Add enough milk to make a soft purée.
Season with salt and pepper.
Fold in the escarole, bacon and bacon fat. Return to the heat and warm through.
You might call this the national cookie, the size of approx. an American pancake. They can be bought anywhere but they're best from a market stall, hot and freshly made.
A thin waffle with caramel syrup in between. I usually take one bite, then put it over my coffee mug (with hot coffee in of course) with the spoon sticking through the hole. Then the syrup melts a little and they are even more delicious.
Great souvenir to take him in a nice Delft blue tin.
If you want to know how stroopwafels are made, visit my Gouda page
Oct.2007: I just discovered I'm talking about coffee here, but what you see on the photo is tea! Oh well :-)
My son and grandmother shared a room at the Ambassade, where we were greeted by a very friendly and...more
This Hotel is the right place for romantic people who like its "old fashioned" style, the relaxed...more
It's great to see and witness that the hotel has a heated outdoor swimming pool, which you can use...more
see all Netherlands member meetings