Netherlands St. Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas.
His feast day is on December 6th.The
children are given gifts such as toys, nuts and traditional
Dutch like "pepernoten", "taai-taai" or "schuimpjies".
Sinterklaas has helpers called "zwarte pieten." On December 5th
families stay up and sing songs until they hear a knock at the
door. When they open the door there is a bag full of lollies and
gifts. Christmas is also celebrated on the 25th and
26th of December. Families have dinner and go to
church afterwards. Christmas day is spent both at home and at
church and the day after Christmas is spent with family members.
Sinterklaas wears a red bishop’s hat, a red bishop’s cloak and
has white hair and a white beard.
folk carols include the "Cherry Tree Carol" and "I Saw Three
Ships." Composed carols gained variety in form in the 17th
century, while their texts began to centre on Christmas. After a
decline, the composed carol was revived about 1880 by religious
reformers promoting devotional hymn singing. Their efforts gave
rise to newly written carols such as "Hark, the Herald Angels
Sing," by the Methodist clergyman Charles Wesley, and to
translations of foreign carols such as "Silent Night" (from
German) and "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (from Latin). One of the
most popular carols is "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree".
In the Netherlands at Christmas the people eat a good deal of
marzipan in every shape and form, as well as spiced ginger
biscuits, spiced cakes in the form of animals and figures, tall
chocolate letters in the shape of an initial S and "bankletter"
- initials made of pastry filled with almond paste. "Kerstbrood"
is what they call Christmas loaf and "Kerstkrans" is a Christmas
ring which is eaten when they are around the Christmas tree
tree and decorations
Netherlands the Christmas tree is called the paradise tree. You
can buy artificial trees or real pine trees. In the sixteenth
century Christians brought trees and put them in their homes.
Some people built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them
with evergreens and candles. Early Christmas decorations include
dolls, musical instruments, fruit, candy and lights. So even
though the Dutch do have a tree at Christmas, the festival is a
quiet family affair with the children gathering around the tree
to listen to father reading the story of the first Christmas
from the New Testament.
Most Dutch people
are Christians. Those living in the north are mainly Protestant,
while those in the southern part of the country are mostly Roman
Catholic. There are a small number of Jews and also people from
the countries once governed by the Netherlands, who have their
own religions. They can worship in their special ways and
celebrate their own religious festivals.
Fewer Christians are going to
church now, so some of the churches are no longer used for
religious services. Instead they have been converted into
exhibition and concert halls and even into homes.
Unfortunately in the
Netherlands everything tends to split on religious and political
grounds, just as every school has to be built in triplicate -
Dutch Reformed Church, Roman Catholic and State School. Even
such activities as shopping are often affected. If you are a
Roman Catholic, you may tend to patronize a Roman Catholic
milkman, for instance; or if you are a Lutheran, to go to a
I want to comment on your 'Christmas in the Netherlands'
web-page. The last paragraph is not correct anymore. This was at
least 20 years ago, when this was correct.
People in The Netherlands are not so religious anymore, they
think that what you believe is your business. Also when they do
there shopping, they buy what they like and want to try
new things every day. So they shop everywhere, just as long its
I have never seen a Roman Catholic milkman, there is just a
milkman (or woman). You can't see if the milkman is Roman
Catholic or Protestant or beliefs in some other God loving way.
(I disagree. My plumber, farmer, grocer, etc. are Roman Catholic. And they are my plumber, farmer, grocer, etc. because they are Roman Catholic. There are many religious people in the Netherlands and what business owners / service providers believe IS our business, particularly when we am patronizing (paying for) their business or service. The comment above detracts from the message on this page.
By Ryan and
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