Spice up your love life in holiday season - Sinterklaas nuts

November. The time to spice up your love life in holiday season. The time to find out the difference between Sinterklaas pepper and spiced nuts, get off that dating app and find your date offline!

Read more


city game Leiden ontzet cultuur & tradities

Strange events in the Netherlands

Where can you find some strange events in the Netherlands? These are my top 3 traditional Dutch festivals involving orange hats, herring for breakfast and single men holding hands.

Read more


Workshop cheese making & stroopwafel baking Holland

Today we’re meeting for a workshop cheese making & stroopwafel baking. We’ll be visiting two cities, famous for cheese, syrup waffles and other regional, artisanal products. Outside it’s bitterly cold. Fortunately we can warm ourselves. It's the people we meet and the food we eat that makes us feel warm inside.

Read more


How to recognise Gouda Farmers Cheese

How do you recognise a good Gouda farmers cheese?  There is Gouda factory cheese and farmer's cheese. This is how you know the difference.

Gouda Farmer's Cheese vs Factory Cheese

Some call it Guda, others call it Howda. The Gouda cheese is world-famous. There is a factory version and a handmade version. What are the differences? Factory cheese. It gives me the chills. Dutch farmer's cheese definitely has my preference. Like with many crafts, the authentic cheese-making is an art. The main difference between a Dutch factory cheese and a farmer's cheese is the milk used in the cheese making.  Due to food safety requirements cheese factories use pasteurised milk. The cheese farmer makes the farmhouse cheese from very, very fresh milk. Early morning the dairy farmer collects the milk from the cow and  immediately uses it for cheese making. A real - Gouda- farmer's cheese is made from raw, non- pasteurised milk. Some cheese farmers choose to heat the milk slightly to make sure their cheeses maintain the unique characteristics of the farm, but also have a more uniform taste.

Pure Taste of Gouda Farmers Cheese

Every Gouda farmers cheese has an unique taste. Multiple aspects influence the taste of the typical Dutch hard cheese.  The milk obtains its taste from the grass the cows eat, the area they live in. Gouda cheese is not made in Gouda city, but in the surroundings. Besides the grass of the pastures, the cows eat different herbs. The slightest climate difference in the Dutch countryside effects  the taste of the cheese.  Other than the milk, every cheese maker has a different recipe.  After the cheese making the cheese farmer let's the cheese ripen. Where the cheese ripening takes place and for how long also makes a difference to the taste of the delicious Dutch cheese.

Farmers Cheese stamp
This stamp indicates farmer's cheese is made from raw milk (rauwe melk in Dutch)

Gouda cheese labels and stamps

Cheese makers all around the world can produce and sell Gouda cheese. Only in 2010 the term cheese made in Holland received a protected EU status. Only Gouda cheese made from 100% Dutch milk produced by Dutch cows, following a Dutch recipe & ripened according to Dutch standard can be called 'Gouda Holland Cheese'. You can recognise this cheese from the stamp.

Did you know you can also see the difference between a Gouda farmers cheese and a factory cheese from the stamp? The stamp on a Gouda factory cheese is round, whereas the stamp on a Gouda farmer's cheese has the shape of a barrel. The stamp of a farmer's cheese tells you if the cheese is made from raw milk or warmed ( thermerised) milk.

 

 

Cycling to a Gouda cheese farm on a Saturday

Visit to Gouda Cheese Farms

Bike tour Leiden cheese & local food

 


Maastricht Winter Carnival 2022 - the Netherlands

Experience the Netherlands like you never experienced it before. Head to the southern regions of the Netherlands in February and celebrate the Maastricht Winter Carnival 2022 with the locals. Go below the rivers and indulge yourself in the Burgundian lifestyle.
Read more


Story Dutch Kissing Boy and Girl

Just like Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring the Dutch kissing boy and girl traveled the world, mainly in the shape of Delft blue souvenirs. Those who know them as the porcelain figurines link them to Delft. But were they originally from Delft?  A story of the kissing couple from Holland for Valentine's Day. Or any other day.

Share a Kiss and Become Famous

The Dutch are down-to-earth people and from what I've seen not overly romantic. We love a good Dutch tradition. On Valentine's Day we gift our loved ones a box of chocolate, red roses and complete it with a kiss. Simple as that. And simple is best. Look at the kissing couple, let's call them Val & Tine. Two figurines who have become the most romantic icon of the Netherlands. It's one of the most bought Holland souvenirs. And sharing a tender kiss in traditional Dutch folk costumes was all it took to become famous.

 

Boy Kisses Girl Goes Diverse

The tradition shows a Dutch kissing boy and girl, farmers, both in authentic folklore costume. Sometimes with tulips in hand and a windmill in the back. Typical Dutch representation. Some years ago, other versions appeared that demonstrated the diversity in the Netherlands. Small Delft blue statues of Dutch boy kissing Dutch girl and Dutch girl kissing Dutch girl. Then came the project To Kiss or Not To Kiss . The kissing couple became a multicultural souvenir, with figurines from Chinese, Surinamese and Arabic origin.

Multicultural kissing couples in Holland. Copyright: TKONTK

Origin of Kissing Dutch Boy and Girl

There is little information about the origin of the traditional kissing couple. Some say this picture of Jan & Grietje was the inspiration for the figurines. The kissing kids picture was taken in Volendam, North Holland around 1920.  I immediately checked the clothing with that of the Delft blue statues. What a disappointment! Even the clothes of the Dutch kissing boy and girl differ per souvenir.

 

Delft Blue Farmer's Couple

In an article by Dutch News Delft city archaeologist Steven Jongma says figurines of  the Dutch farmer's couple dating from mid 18th century have been found. Unlike Grietje & Jan they're not kissing though. The kissing part was added much later.  Delft ceramics was invented in the 16th century as a cheaper version of the Chinese porcelain, Delft painters thought people only liked Chinese flowers, birds and scenes. At one point in time though, there was a painter who dared to create a typical Dutch scene. Mid 17th century the tiles with tulips, crockery with Dutch landscapes and little statues of farmer's couples with their authentic Holland dresses became more popular. Till present time people from all over the world  love and cherish the Delft blue figurines of the Dutch kissing boy and girl.

Delft blue tour Verita's Visit Delft blauw activiteit
Delft blue figurines: Farmer's couple, Photo taken at Royal Delft

 

What do you think is the story of the Dutch kissing boy and girl? Let us know! Extra points for when you add a  creative kissing couple picture ;) 

 

 


You might also like:

What do you need to paint Delft blue?

Cycle Tour Delft Countryside

Impression of Delft Vermeer Challenge

Meet Vermeer in Holland 

Dutch traditions & costumes on Flag Day Scheveningen

 

 


Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Netherlands 2019

Thanksgiving is an American celebration. So why would you celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands? Today we travel back and forth in time in search of the roots of the harvest festival and discover thé place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

John and the Leiden Pilgrims

This is the 11th time John and his family assist the 3 October service in the Peter's Church in Leiden. As religious refugees from England they came to the city of Leiden in 1609.  Leiden is not the safe harbor it was when they arrived here. Two Protestant parties clashed and are the cause of riots and caos. Soon John & family will undertake the journey to America with 35 pilgrims in total. From Delfshaven, Rotterdam they'll sail to Plymouth on the Speedwell. The Mayflower is right by their side. On their way to New England, they'll find out the Speedwell is unfit for a long voyage. All Leiden Pilgrims will have to transfer unto the already packed Mayflower to sail on to new colonies of Massachusetts.

3 October - Relief of Leiden- celebration in Pieterskerk Leiden

Dutch Touch to Thanksgiving

During their stay in the Netherlands John and the Leiden Pilgrims had enjoyed the celebration of the Relief of Leiden on the 3rd of October in the Peter's Church - Pieterskerk-. The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots in the English culture. It combines aspects of a harvest festival with the special thanksgiving religious services. John and the Leiden Pilgrims added a Dutch touch to the Thanksgiving celebration. They had especially appreciated the thanksgiving service in the Pieterskerk and the meal afterwards.  Together with the Dutch they sang 'Wilt heden nu treden' and translated this to 'We Gather Together'.

Thé Place to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

The Pieterskerk still is thé place where many come together to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. In this church the Pilgrims recorded birth, marriage & death. John Robinson, one of the main Pilgrim Fathers, is buried.  George Bush was the first sitting president of the USA who visited the Pieterskerk. His ancestor was Francis Cooke. Every year, on the 4th Thursday of November there is a Thanksgiving Day service. In 2019, the thankgiving service will take place on the 28th November and starts at 11 AM.

 

You might like:

Leidens Ontzet 3 October challenge

Team event Leiden

Leiden area activity tips

Sources used for this article:

https://nl.usembassy.gov/thanksgiving-in-the-home-of-the-pilgrims

Wikipedia Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Nederlandse erfenis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


From 16th century Gouda cartoons to modern Zwolle stained glass superheroes

Today's journey from 16th century Gouda cartoons to modern Zwolle stained glass superheroes starts in Leiden. For a team activity during the Leidens Ontzet I was looking for unique places and objects. Research brought me in the St John of Gouda. There was a huge stained glass window depicting the Relief of Leiden. Why it was there and not in Leiden I will tell you later. For now picture yourself in the St John and think of a comic book.

Read more


Magical castles in South Holland

Tall, direct and often - extremely- extravert. The Dutch are not known for being refined, courteous or even humble. Dutch style is sober. In every day life you'll hardly ever find the ground covered with a red carpet in front of you . Fortunately we have a great Dutch tradition on Pentecost. On this bank holiday you can live your fairytale. See what it's like to live like a king. Several estates and a few magical castles in South Holland and in other Dutch regions open their doors to the public. A day to dive in a world of glamour and exciting history.

Read more


Easter tulip celebration in the Keukenhof area

The blooming spring flowers make the Keukenhof area fantastic to explore between March and May. There are many special events in that period and the Easter tulip celebration is fabulous. The region of tulips, daffodils & hyacinths transforms into one big spring flower festival. Pack your easter eggs, fill your bottles with eggnog, get out of Amsterdam for a daytrip and discover the Keukenhof area with these tips.

Read more