Typical Dutch 10 – How to celebrate a birthday in the Netherlands?



Transcript of the video lesson (scroll for more text):

Hi there.

The video lesson for today is about

celebrating a birthday in the Netherlands.

I will teach you all the related vocabulary

and tell you everything about how the Dutch celebrate it.

And guess what…

today is my birthday!

“Ik ben jarig”

And if you are watching this video you are lucky!

Because in the Netherlands it is common,

that the one having the birthday,

is the one who “trakteert!”.

And “trakteren” is to treat.

In this video I explain

how you can get what I give away on my birthday.

Now imagine you are invited “uitgenodigd”

to celebrate a Dutch friend’s birthday party “verjaardagsfeestje”

most likely that will be at his or her home.

It’s much more common than going to a bar or restaurant.

Now you arrive at his front door; what do you need to say?

“Gefeliciteerd”. That means congratulations.

You shake hands and you give three kisses;

The first one on the right cheek.

The second one on the left and the last one on the right.

Please note to kiss the right cheek of the other person,

you move with your head to the left!

Important: although the Dutch are quite liberal on gay marriage;

usually men do not kiss each other (like it is common in some other countries).

Now here is the fun thing.

It is common that you also congratulate people

that are close to the one who has birthday.

And since only close friends and relatives are usually invited to the party;

the result is that everyone is congratulating everyone!

Most foreigners really don’t understand

when they arrive for the first time at a Dutch birthday party

and they are being congratulated themselves!

As you understand in English,

the word “congratulations” is only used with major achievements;

and a birthday is not really that big of an achievement;

but the Dutch use it all the time!

Sometimes people add a wish to “gefeliciteerd”.

Most common is “en nog vele jaren”,

which literally means: and much more years.

Sometimes adding “in een goede gezondheid”

so then you wish someone a long life in good health.

These extra wishes you only give to the one who is having the birthday

– so that’s something you don’t need to do for all the friends –

Always go to the party with a present “een cadeau”.

It should not be something very expensive.

In other countries it may be common

that the friends organise the party and pay for drinks and food.

In the Netherlands it is the one who is having the birthday who serves.

He or she pays for all the food and drinks.

So, there is no need to take your own drinks.

The house of the “jarige job” or “jarige jet”

(that’s what we call the person having the birthday)

is usually decorated with garlands and balloons

“slingers en balonnen”

To decorate is “versieren”.

Of course you get a piece of the birthday cake,

which is called “verjaardagstaart”.

But before cutting the cake into pieces;

we sing a song!

You’ll see the text of the song here.

Now you probably want me to sing that song now.

But hey, it’s my birthday, I should not sing it myself!

The most important part of the song is the end.

So they will forgive you if you don’t sing the first part.

But here are my instructions for the end.

Someone, or a few people will shout “Hieperdepiep”.

Remember that!

That’s the moment you should be prepared for.

Next, everyone shouts “HOERA” and puts one hand in the air.

And this is repeated 2 more times.

Make sure you participate at the “HOERA!”.

Now if you are at a children’s party,

that is the moment that one will blow out the candles;

which in Dutch is: “de kaarsjes uitblazen”.

Then you will get your piece of the cake.

If on your invitation nothing was mentioned about a dinner,

then this is most likely the only food you get.

If you’re hungry, try to get a second piece as fast as possible,

because usually there is not enough for everyone to have an extra piece.

Only at a children’s birthday party

it is quite common that a meal is served,

most likely: “friet met appelmoes en knakworst”

Now that we’ve talked about children, a few other things to mention:

At the end of the party

usually the children get a “snoepzak” (a bag with sweets).

And at school, children also go around in the classroom

to give everyone something (“trakteren”).

Most common is: “prikkertjes”.

Now I have to say: “prikkertjes” and a “snoepzak”

was typical when I was a kid, 30 years ago.

I’ve heard there is a tendency now towards more healthy food (like fruits).

Oh, and if you’re older: at your job – don’t forget to bring a cake.

Now, let’s say you don’t see them in person on his/her birthday.

What should you do?

In Holland it is quite common to send a birthday card:

“een verjaardagskaart sturen”

Don’t forget it, even if you’re not invited to the party.

But of course, nowadays you can also write something on their Facebook

or leave a comment below a video if someone is a Youtuber!

And as promised,

if you are watching this video on my birthday,

and that is the 22nd of October,

then you are lucky!

“Ik trakteer!”

In the description below the video on youtube,

I explain what you can get,

and how you can get it.

But don’t wait… because it is only on my birthday…

If you watch this video on any other day… then there is nothing…

and I only can recommend you to return to this page on the 22nd of october

or to register for the free e-mail notification service

on the website learndutch.org.

Then you will get an email each time a new lesson is published

as well as the “traktatie” on my birthday.

For weekly video lessons to learn Dutch,

subscribe to my youtube channel!

See you there…

“tot ziens”