Intree guide to the Dutch life

Birthday rituals

Birthdays! We all have them, and as we celebrate every year, traditions are formed. The dutch have some traditions of their own which can be seen a little strange, depending on where you’re from yourself. If you visit a Dutch family member for their birthday you congratulate them on your arrival. Makes sense so far. Instead of two kisses, we do three: so left cheek, right cheek, left again. But then, you repeat this process with everyone else there, congratulating everyone with the birthday of their son, daughter, mom, dad, cousin, aunt, uncle, friend or whatever is applicable. Drinks are served, usually with cake. Most time is spent sitting in a big circle, talking about whatever comes up, probably the weather.

We understand, this might not sound very exciting. Luckily, you don’t have to follow these traditions, just have fun when your birthday rolls around! But if you are invited to attend a birthday party here, and it’s not just students attending, don’t be too surprised when you find yourself in that circle, cake in hand, congratulating everyone that joins you.