A typical Dutch Christmas

December is the time of the year when suddenly traditions become very important to many of us. Each country, each region, and even each family has their own special way of celebrating Christmas. In this series, MH authors tell us all about their favourite holiday traditions.

By Marthe Menses / 13.12.2017

‘What does a typically Dutch Christmas look like?’ It is a question I got asked when I walked the streets of Prague, my hometown for a few months. The girl asking me was looking for inspiration for her Christmas movie. Thinking about an answer, a smile formed on my face. Not because I was thinking about a ‘typical Dutch Christmas’, but because I was thinking about ‘our Dutch Christmas’. Our kind of Christmas that I usually spend with my family at home. Our kind of Christmas that is not really revolving about the presents and the dresses. Our kind of Christmas where we just enjoy each other’s company, food and stories. Our kind of Christmas where we do dress up to have dinner with grandpa, grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins, but only if we feel like dressing up. And even our kind of Christmas (usually the second day of Christmas, since we have two days of Christmas in Holland) where my mom, dad, sister and me sit around the house and watch Christmas movies all day, in our ugliest sweatpants.

I think nearly any other Dutch person who would have been asked the same question, would have had a smile on his or her face, thinking about ‘their Dutch Christmas’. Maybe their kind of Christmas where they make their own little meals in little pan’s on a heated plate in the middle of the table (a lot of Dutch people love that for some reason). Maybe their kind of Christmas where they open all the presents from the pile under the tree. Maybe their kind of Christmas where they just go for a walk in the fields with their loved ones. Maybe something totally different.

And whatever ‘our Dutch Christmas’ or ‘their Dutch Christmas’ may be, is exactly what makes it a ‘typical Dutch Christmas’, because no Dutch Christmas is exactly the same. Everyone can have their own Dutch Christmas. And everyone does. And I like that. A lot.


Marthe Menses (The Netherlands)

Studies: Public Administration

Languages: Dutch, Englisch, little bit of French

Europe is… a part of the world I feel privileged to be living in.


Ashika Bhatt (England)

Work: Translator

Speaks: English, French, German

Europe is… culture

Author: Anja

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