June 13th marks the official start of the Dutch Haring season! The launch takes place each year in Scheveningen and the first barrel of Hollandse Nieuwe (young haring caught between mid May and the end of June) is sold for the season. How do you eat Dutch haring (or like me… you don’t! 😉 )? The Dutchies consume 185 tons of it each year! The Amsterdammers serve it sliced on a plate and the rest of The Netherlands eat it whole while dangling it into their mouth! As you can see… my Dutch husband doesn’t come from Amsterdam! 🙂
Stefan and I are doing our part in keeping Dutch/American relations strong!
I learned a little background about this day… The Netherlands was the first country to recognize (even if unofficially) the independence of the United States (yeah Dutchies!)! When John Adams bought a house in the Hague, it became the first US Embassy in the World (who knew?!). In 1982 President Reagan proclaimed April 19 as Dutch-American Friendship Day!
And most importantly… on July 12, 2014 the Dutch and American flags were flying together outside the Kasteel de Schaffelaar in Barnevelds, NL!
Love (and American size hugs!) and XXX (3 Dutch kisses) to all my family and friends in the Netherlands!
Memories from a year ago today…
This photo popped up on my Facebook timeline today, so I feel compelled to re tell the story about this big day in Amsterdam! It was going to be an extra special day, Stefan and I were in Amsterdam for his green card physical…a day we had waited months to arrive (here’s Stefan in front of the only Dutch doctor’s house/office who can do a green card physical… payable only in cash!)! Walking to the doctor we ran into (almost literally!) Dries Roelvink (who?! apparently a famous Dutch singer). Dressed to kill in a 70’s style track suit, I might add. After Stefan’s much awaited physical, we had lunch in the Old South District at Van Dam Brasserie (think Hollywood of Amsterdam). We noticed the entire restaurant kept staring at the table right next to us (this is the ONLY place in the Netherlands I’ve seen botoxed women!). Stefan realized it was THE famous Dutch soccer player – Ruud Gullit (who?! the Michael Jordan of the soccer?!) sitting with Edwin Smulders (again, who?!)! Edwin (photojournalist…uh, really… the paparazzi) also happens to be married to one of Stefan’s fellow Barnevelders (top model!) who Stefan grew up near.
My apologies to the Van Dam Brasserie as I really can’t recall what we had for lunch that day! I do remember it was very busy, so it must have good food or just celebrity wannabes. But, it was the best people watching day I’ve had in a long time! I do admit… I felt a little guilty this was all wasted on me since I had absolutely no idea who any of these people were! As we were leaving the restaurant the famous peeps happened to come out after us. I’m by no means a shy person… but my best friend can attest (we had a celebrity spotting day in NYC years ago) I don’t usually feel the need for autographs or stalking famous people. But how would all of this even be believable without some type of proof?! So I told Stefan to grab his phone as I walked up to Ruud. I introduced myself as an American who had no idea who he was, but could I have a photo with him for my Dutch nephew (for the record, Stefan really does have a young Dutch nephew who loves soccer). Not much chitchat (to be fair, not sure how much English he speaks), but he nicely obliged before he zoomed off on his scooter (definitely couldn’t make that up!)!
Apparently Stefan passing the physical for his green card wasn’t enough excitement for that day! If we ever move to the Netherlands, I’ll be offering celebrity spotting tours. 😉
I’m sorry to say I won’t be spending New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands this year, but I will be with my Dutch husband and that makes up for it! After several visits to the Netherlands, last year was my first time there during New Years. I’d heard about the Dutch traditions for starting a new year… diving into frigid water, eating oliebollen and their passion for fireworks! I learned it goes way beyond a love for them… it’s a passion, need, right – to buy and shoot them off!
Don’t get the wrong impression from the photos; the releasing of lanterns for new wishes, a local bagpiper stopping by the party…as it all looks so gezellig. But make no mistake, the main event of New Year’s Eve for Dutch is the fireworks!
As an American, we love our firework displays on the 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, the occasional neighborhood show, and even driving to the next state over to purchase ones that are illegal in our own state. But experiencing fireworks on a typical Dutch street in the village my husband grew up in is beyond comparison (and Barneveld is in the Bible Belt of the Netherlands!). One is barely able to see across the smoke filled streets, the entire neighborhood is on the street shooting off fireworks, debris is everywhere and I recommend ear plugs!
Utrecht is on my mind (probably along with the rest of Nederland and the cycling world). I know, I know… it’s a BIG deal to host the start of the Tour de France! I don’t want to take away from the Aussie’s historical victory… but Utrecht is so much more special to me than bike racing. This is the birthplace of my husband and where we picked out our wedding rings together!
It’s National Mill Day in the Netherlands this weekend so I’d like to honor it with sharing our attempts at selfies with windmills. Keep in mind it’s why they are called windmills… located in windy areas… so we have to embrace our wild hair in these selfies! During my first summer in Barneveld, we biked (ooh that makes me feel so Dutch!) past a beautiful one… and being my first extended stay there we definitely had to document this one! Nice blue skies, throw in some Dutch clouds…and one can almost see two of the blades.
During a spring visit I wanted to be a tourist, so we visited Zaanse Schans. Dreary day, but can see more blades in this one!
In Ameland one summer visit, we took many attempts at the windmill selfie…dodging rain drops and other tourists. Hmm… but didn’t succeed at capturing the Dutch flag that was flying off the back!
In Friesland, we thought we’d try another technique. Ok, maybe the horizon isn’t level (my hubby’s biggest pet peeve in photography!) but we captured the entire windmill! Success! 🙂
Liberation Day is celebrated by the Dutch on May 5. Also known as Freedom Day, this historic day commemorates the end of WWII in the Netherlands. Even though the war wasn’t over in the rest of Europe, the Germans surrendered here on May 5, 1945 in Wageningen at the Hotel de Wereld (the world). That name seems fitting… as soon after (as we all know!) they surrendered to the rest of the world as well.
A few years ago I was in Barneveld for their Freedom Day celebrations. While Stefan was taking photos, I enjoyed the parade and ceremony in their village square. The Dutch don’t display their flag everywhere on a daily basis like in the States, so it was special seeing it hanging prominently throughout Barneveld on this day.
May 4 in the Netherlands is Remembrance Day. It began right after World War II as a day to remember Dutch soldiers. It now is a day to remember those who have served in any war, conflict or peace making mission. National and local ceremonies are held throughout the country.
During my first visit to to Nederland, I happened to be there on this day. I attended a ceremony in Barneveld with Stefan, as he was photographing the event. Dutch flags, men and women in uniform, music, and wreaths placed in memory of those lost… very similar to us Americans gathering on Memorial or Veteran’s Day. It was also another reminder that I didn’t need to understand the language to feel a part of what was being honored.
I know, I know… it’s now King’s Day. No hard feelings King Willem, but my first visit to Nederland I was there on April 30 – Queen’s Day! It was a glorious spring day in Barneveld, after all a Queen wouldn’t dare let it rain on her parade! And there was a parade… games for the kids, a street market (you know the Dutch can’t have a party without including a street market!), drinks flowing, and I believe every Barnevelder outside that day. The village was a sea of orange (and it takes A LOT for me to say that – I’m from Bronco country!)! Come to think of it, like our 4th of July celebrations… but with super tall people!
Birthdays have been on my mind this week, as one of my nieces is turning the big 21 (ok – not so exciting in Nederland since she’s way past the legal drinking age there!). So, back to this important question of where do most people keep birthday reminders. Address books, contacts on your phone, reminder apps, calendars in our offices… all seem logical, normal – but nope! According to the Dutchies, a birthday calendar’s home is in the bathroom (oh wait-don’t call it the bathroom… but that’s another story)! The first time I saw a calendar in the bathroom in NL I thought ok, that’s different. I had no idea everyone there decorates their bathrooms with birthdays! It must be a Dutch law. 🙂 If anyone is in the know, please enlighten me as to how this started. Here’s your proof – the birthday calendar in my mother in law’s house!