I know, I know, forgive me for spamming you with my posts about our recent trip to the Netherlands but I can’t help it, Keukenhof is just too gorgeous! One photo wouldn’t do any justice and a single post is an understatement of my amazing experience there. The flower arrangement , the garden shows and the different exhibits showcases the epitome of beauty of the flower-mania in Holland. For flora and fauna enthusiasts, it’s definitely a must-see during Springtime in Europe!
After seeing all these beautiful spring flowers in the most beautiful spring garden in the world, my standard for nature has been elevated. My impression about Tulips in general has become so great that I have now high regard for this wonderful piece of nature. I didn’t know that flowers could have such an effect to humans in general, and not only to gardeners, landscape designers, and flower enthusiasts.I have great respect for the artistic mind and tremendous hard work and labor of the people who make Keukenhof a place to show this grand beauty.
To give credit to this amazing place, this time I’d like to share with you some photos from Keukenhof gardens once again, in pretty Pink floral colors and it’s symbolism to tell about your love to someone. Pink Tulips symbolizes the ” Awakening of Love “!
I have seen thousands of tulips coming in different shades of pink, from dark ones, almost purple, and with some bright tints of whites and red. Pink Tulips are a symbol of caring, attachment (not as strong as love, like the red ones) and good wishes. They would be appropriate for a friend or family member.
Here are some snaps of my personal favorites so far!
Close up with ‘The Negrita” -Though it’s not as darkly colored as its name suggests (“nigra” means black in Latin), the purplish-pinkish color looks great in the garden with almost everything.
Pink tulips express happiness and confidence. This makes them a very good choice when congratulating a friend on a new job or promotion. It’s an ideal gift to have them sent to someone’s office as a warm first-day-on-the-job surprise. I was obsessing photographing them in layers because I just love how they are aligned with each other and how they create a striking sight!
Beautiful, isn’t it?
I must say that If you really have the chance to visit Holland in Spring, make time to get into Lisse, in the Netherlands to visit this garden. A day filled with colorful flowers can brighten anyone’s burden and who knows, It might change the way you see life.
Do you like Tulips? What is your favorite color so far?
If you’re interested to know more of different types of tulips, you can read it from here.
Yesterday was National Tulip Day in the Netherlands. Everyone is free to pick tulips in the ‘picking garden ‘in the Dam square in Amsterdam. Bursting with around 200,000 tulips on display, an event that should not be missed if you’re in town. More than 10,000 people come and pick their own free tulip, and you know what makes this event really rocks?
You pick FREE tulips of your choice, with its bulbs,so you can bring Spring to your homes,All for FREE! The special theme for 2017 is ‘Mondrian to Dutch Design’, as the Netherlands celebrates 100 years of De Stijl.
I don’t know about you , but one of the things that I love in this world are Tulips! Although tulips originally came from Turkey, the Netherlands and Tulips are two things inseparable! Just like Curry wurst and Germany. Yesterday, my husband surprised me with a handful of fresh bulbs of flaming yellow-red tulips, as he always does. He knows that I loved them. The aftermath, of course, me taking some photos and getting some inspiration from it.
There’s something about its slim perfect skinny stem, the fresh long green leaves, and it’s cup petals bursting with unique charm and beautiful vibrant colors. The “flames” and mosaic in the petals is a total stunner, a nature’s wonder. Tulips is the ultimate symbolic flower for grace. No wonder tulips (Tulpen) is 3rd world’s most popular flower! Such a surprise that I married a Dutchman and that tulips is just right in the doorsteps!
Did you know that the first Dutch’s financial bubble is because of tulips? Can’t believe that a single bulb of tulips could cost more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled person! So precious…
The Dutch love affair with tulips during the Dutch Golden Age of the mid-1600s paved way to tulip bulb bubble or also known as “Tulip Mania”. Generally considered to be the first recorded financial bubble, the Tulip Mania of 1636-1637 was the time in which tulip bulb prices were propelled by speculators to incredible heights before collapsing and plunging the Dutch economy into a severe crisis that lasted for many years. Incredible, right?
While it’s not the fanciest flower in the garden, the beauty and grace of a simple Tulips means it has become a symbol for many things. Here are some interesting facts about this flower that I have found out;
A dark or light-colored center contrasts against the petals and can symbolize a broken or light heart respectively.
Bright red is the color of passion and perfect love. Don’t send a bouquet of these flowers to a family member or you’ll be sending the wrong message!
Tulips are edible but not medicinal. They become emergency food during WW II.
Perfect, enduring love between partners or family members
Undying passionate love, whether the passion is spurned or returned
Royalty and a regal nature
Forgotten or neglected love
the 11th wedding anniversary
Abundance, prosperity, and indulgence
Charity and supporting the less fortunate
I fell in love with tulips even before I have seen a real one. Seeing it from the magazines and in TV made me dream to see it for real. I am just so engrossed in its form, and how delicate it looks and yet so proud. Same as an obsessed gardener, I have this urge to plant dozens of bulbs into our garden. Spring is still far away from our doorsteps and yet, the sight of tulips in flower shops makes me dream of bright sunny days ! There’s nothing compares to the sight of fresh bunch of Tulip in your hands, in a vase full of these inside your living room, even a single stem can really make a change in the ambiance of your place.
I can’t wait for Spring for our Easter trip to finally see and visitKeukenhof gardens to indulge in the sight of these babies up close!
But for now, this sight is enough for me to look forward for more beautiful days!
“A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different from a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.” – Marianne Williamson
How did your weekend go? Have you seen something that inspired you?
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I’ve been reading a lot about the acclaimed ‘Why Dutch kids are the happiest Kids in the World’as it was sensationally supported by Experts who study about this subject and made some interesting statistics. I was even more thrilled when Rina Mae Acosta, a Filipino-American freelance writer and the Blogger behind ‘Findingdutchland‘ , who also happens to be married to a Dutch guy, recently published her book–” The Happiest Kid in the World“, Bringing up children the Dutch way. There’s something about this subject that resonates my interest on Dutch culture and oh well, their crazy ways.
This triggered my curiosity , and made me wonder if it was really the case in a normal, average, Dutch childhood. Are Dutch kids really happy? What’s the measure of their happiness since I find the subject of Happiness being subjective. I am also raising one Dutch kid, but the thing is, we don’t live in the Netherlands, we live in Germany and she is growing up in a German environment.
Does it mean that my daughter grow up less-happy? or what?
As the old adage say ; ask a local and you’ll get real answers, or better, get to know one!
So one fine morning while we sit in the table for breakfast, I say it’s a fine one since I was able to sip my coffee before the toddler wakes up. I chatted with one former Dutch kid. I’m talking about one particular Dutchie who lives under one roof with me : my Husband , a.k.a BlueDutch.
Husband’s reply really made sense :
“It’s simple. We don’t like complicated things. Everything is simple.So we are happy, I was a contented kid and I had a happy childhood and even now as an Adult, I am living a simple life, but a happy one.”
Does doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg or just act normal, that’s already crazy enough, rings a bell?
Less is really more for the Dutch
My husband is the third child of a family of 3 children. He is the only boy and this alone makes him the apple of the eye of the whole family. He was born in a cold December night 2 weeks overdue for his birth. As a true Dutch protegé, he was born in their home, a typical way of giving birth in the Netherlands. His mother, my amazing Mother-in-law is strong, and one proud Mama who is very hands on to her children. He learned to stand in his Baby Playpen box in their living room which is another typically Dutchin raising children. Dutch parents normally put their babies in this box in the early days up to the time he can’t walk yet. In it were toys,and other things for the baby to play on, spacious enough to wiggle and convenient for mothers while doing other chores.
He grew up riding ponies, playing in the sand pit, and getting dirty as most kids do. He began taking swimming lessons at the age of 6, basking in the beach,and watching Top cat after school. A typical dutch kid is baptized into “Dutchness“with two important things : Riding a bike & playing football (or Soccer in America).
As what Holland is famous for, He eats Hagelslag since he is allowed to eat solids. Oh yes, did you know that Hagelslag is chocolate sprinkles in solid form? He still eat Hagelslag up until now, we have boxes of this precious sprinkles courtesy of my generous parents in law. It’s a big panic if we ran out of this ‘staple‘. He had to share this now with my daughter who also devour toast covered in sprinkles.Everyday. He grew up developing a serious fondness with ‘Patat‘ and the magic meat balls (Gehaktballen) his mother makes. This is normally eaten with boiled potatoes (again!) and some beans and gravy or pepper sauce. I successfully stole this recipe to continue the meat balls saga in our family. He is Dutch but he denies the existence loathes of cheese and eggs. Sometimes I think he is just pretending to be Dutch! He can eat Pannekoek for dinner,enjoys Drop with delight, and drink chocolate milk more than he drinks water.
Just like any typical Dutch kids, he played enormously with his Duplos, wooden blocks, & his beloved Lego. He had a wooden bike which he got when he was 1-year-old and this has been passed on to our daughter along with his wooden plate with his name engraved on it. I find Dutch’s simplicity navigates to their source of worry-free happiness, take for example Dick Bruna’s Ninjtje (or Miffy ). A symbol of a cartoon character so simple and yet so good, without the complicated animation. Celebrating birthdays as a kid is more of a family celebration. It’s enjoyed with simple ‘Taart‘ and sitting in circles with friends and family. There is no pressure of throwing off a grand party either.
Dutch kids indeed have an enchanting childhood. Now who wouldn’t be thrilled when Sinterklaas comes on 5th of December. The sight of Kruidnoten, Spekulaas, Marzipan, and the yummy chocolate letters are everywhere. Typical dutch kids are showered with gifts and threats on this day. Sinterklaas is celebrated favorable in the Netherlands than Christmas. The sight of the Zwarte Piets (Black Peter’s ) seemed perfectly normal for all Dutch kids where it could be a daunting sight for others.
Growing up, he was also brought up visiting his Oma frequently, (Dutch for Grandmother). Grandparents are a big part of Dutch culture. It’s very typical for dutch kids to spend time & have a healthy connection with their Omas & Opas. The feeling of security and being well-taken-cared off comes naturally among Dutch kids since it all starts from their family.
Once a year they go on a holiday as a whole family and here you can see that travelling is part of a humble Dutch culture. My husband has 8 thick photo albums filled with vacation photos and stories of his childhood. He climb mountains and earn medals for Wandern , going on a sled in winter, visiting castles,exploring the gorges, or just roasting having barbecue in their backyard during summer.
What I have also learned about my husband’s childhood is the unique approach on education in the Netherlands. Homework is unusual in Dutch primary schools and students have one afternoon a week off school ( usually on Wednesday) which means kids have lots of time and space to be … Kids. Spending their childhood without worries.They only have homework in their Topography subject where they learn about cities, rivers & countries.
Dutch children are given lots of autonomy and the freedom to explore, while parents aren’t burdened with the expectation that their child has to be the best in order to succeed. This made me gasp since my childhood is totally different from him. Remembering that in Philippines, kids have huge backpacks filled with books and we always have homework. Even preschoolers! Imagine the early strain on kids having the high expectation to excel and achieve more than what the average kids does.
Based on these, I could sum up that growing up in a Dutch household is pretty awesome. His own story of childhood and growing up ‘doe maar normaal‘ makes him the relaxed, easy-going person He is right now. I presumed that the big factor why Dutch kids are simply happy apart from the significant aspects that the studies have proven, is because their parents are also happy. Statistics have shown that Dutch women and Kids tops it all but I can only write about Dutch people who I knew. Maybe the daily doses of drop, stroopwafels and Bitterballen adds to their vigor and their adrenaline boost is the result of their bodies intertwined with their bicycles. Believe me, they don’t have the time to worry, because their time is already spent discussing about the weather, making their agendas and shopping for orange clothes!
With Dutch, less is simply becoming more.
How can you describe your childhood in one word? Feel free to share!
Well, some of you already knows that I’m married to a Dutch guy , Oh Yes, the Almighty Dutch syndrome is in my system and I can’t deny it. My daughter is even growing up more and more like Dutch , and no one’s to blame, she’s Dutch for a fact. It’s in her genes. I have tried feeding her more rice and Adobo but she prefers bread (Brood ) of course with chocolate Sprinkles –Hagelslag! What a way to raise a chocoholic, don’t you think?
Over the years, I found myself turning into somewhat like my husband. I couldn’t believe it’s happening before my eyes.I am Liking what He likes, and end up doing what he normally does. Does this sound weird?
But NO– I would never be converted into eating the raw Haring and Drop.
Anyway, here I’d to share with you 7 top signs that shows you’re becoming like Dutch, what has become of Me-like I am slowly being Dutchie-fied!
You eat potatoes. Everyday– Fried. Smashed. Boiled.Baked. Name it all. Friet. Frieten.Patat. Pommes. Goodness gracious, If we don’t have potatoes in a week, we are going to be doomed. Even for the chips snacks, we preferred potato chips, but only Paprika flavor simply because in The Netherlands, the only flavor of chips that Dutch most adored is Paprika! I’ve never eaten so much potatoes in my entire life since I’ve been married to a Dutch guy.
You cycle everywhere you go. No matter what.- It’s universal truth-the Netherlands is the cycling capital of the world. Nothing beats them when it comes to cycling. You are practically married to your bike or in Dutch they call it ‘Fiets’(pronounced as ‘feets’). Every Dutch has a bike, even more than one. The first functional gift you could ever give to a Dutch toddler is a wooden bike or a walking bike. Only the Dutch parents can prove to the whole world that it is both legal and alright to transport another human being along with their bags and groceries, plants, & pets at the same time. Talk about genius when you see their ‘Bakfiets’. Everything goes in two wheels. When you move to the Netherlands, you will definitely buy a bike. When my husband moved to Kuwait with me, his bike also fly to Kuwait to be with him. Best Buddies eh!
You give Three (3) Kisses Right cheek, left cheek, right cheek. This is the right way to give Three Dutch kisses. If a Dutch like you, they give you three kisses. Today I met a new German friend,she was so nice and we had a great time chatting and as we part ways and say Tsüss, I found myself giving her 3 kisses. She just looked at me smilingly and I thought, I just really like her.Period.
You can run in steep stairs even in pitch dark nights – Ja, I did it and I don’t mind. I could run and climb these stairs without vertigo. You need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, it’s in the 2nd floor-No problem! My daughter climb these very steep stairs from my parents-in-law when she was about to turn 1. Wonder how in the world Dutch people put those furniture up there in the upper level of the house? It runs in the family. Have you seen steep stairs of Dutch houses yourself?
You own one of these. A Dutch staple during showers.- A washcloth or Washandjes. Don’t panic, this is only a piece of a towel which Dutchies use in showers.While I grew up using Loofa, sponges and stone, my husband introduced to me the use of these wash cloths. They are very handy,hygienic, easy to use and don’t easily fall, easy to wash, and great if you have babies. You can use it as long as the threads doesn’t fall off, not like the sponges that you need to toss after 2-3 weeks of use, or else, it’s Yuck!
You memorized the Dutch’s Birthday congratulations and song – Ever been to a Dutch’s birthday party? One of the first things I’ve memorized so far and sing in Dutch. This is probably one of my culture shock since I got married and learn about Dutchiness. It’s totally different from the Birthday celebrations in Philippines or in Kuwait. I have never attended a birthday party before eating only cake & coffee.Yes- Only in the Netherlands!
On any given occasions, you put balls in your mouth– Why it’s round I don’t know, the Bitterballen, Ollieballen, Meatballs, ( Gehaktballen) Kroket etc. Dutch tends to loved deep-fried good old balls and sticks. It’s always a clean plate whenever we have these. My daughter’s personal favorite is the Krentenbollen.Yum! Anything I have missed? I must say that I mastered the art of making ‘meatballs’and ‘Gehakt spices’has become a mainstay in our kitchen.
What Dutch things you have loved yourself? I’m curious, what do you use during your showers? 🙂
Last Christmas , my husband & I with our daughter are watching a Walt Disney ‘s animated cartoon movie. I forgot the title but it was all about children from all over the world trying to help Santa Claus in his chores . The children are dressed in their traditional costumes.One of them is Dutch . We recognized him eventually because He is wearing Clogs! He makes so much noise while walking . The other children tried to put anything under his clogs to lessen the noise so Santa Claus will not be waken up. We were laughing out loud of how funny it is .
Clogs or locally known as Klompen are important part of Dutch cultural Heritage . This traditional footwear becomes a national identity of Dutch people . Clogs has been a popular protective footwear for people who work the land , mostly farmers. Because of its durability and ability to withstand sharp & heavy objects and harsh concentrated chemicals. It was even certified by the European Union as Safety shoes with CE mark. The oldest wooden clogs were found in The Netherlands in Nieuwendijk . It was believed to be dated since 1230 and is made of Alder wood . In the old days , it takes a skilled worker to carve & make an identical pair of clogs . Nowadays , clogs which become a popular tourist souvenir and are machine made.
While in Holland , we were lucky to visit a community workshop in Enter in Twente in Eastern Netherlands , about making wooden clogs . It has a charming Museum , named Klompenmuseum Sköpke and a shop gallery of the Artisan Workers who made these beautifully hand-made Clogs. Most of the clogs were made out of Willow and Poplar trees.
It is quite an experience to see a local Artisan demonstrates how to make clogs out of willow clumps. In so many shops in Amsterdam you can see hundreds of displayed Clogs but seeing the manual way of carving it makes you appreciate it even more. One pair of clogs is worth hours of hardwork & genuine skill. We ordered for a size of my daughter who was 1 year old that time . Its amazing how they carefully carved it with perfection to suit her tiny feet.
They can make personalized designs as you wanted just like the way they did to my daughter’s clogs. She loves to walk with it , play with it , even eat it.
Travel Tip !
If you visit The Netherlands ,make it as part of your trip to visit Traditional clog making villages and Tours such as the one in Zaanse Schans .You can bring home a souvenir clogs with design of your choice or even buy a custom-made for yourself. Knowledge about your travels are the best souvenir.
This is not a romantic love story post, Nope, On serious note , I found myself to be lucky to find & marry a wonderful Dutch guy, & here I share with you my impressions and things I found to be special and so typically Dutch .
When you are in an interracial marriage, habits and your partner’s interests are the top things you notice. Either it’s totally crazy, out of this world , weird, or annoying but then it shows a lot of their personality.
Tell you frankly, I haven’t got any clue about anything Dutch. We were completely from different cultures. I wouldn’t ever know that Hagelslag ( or Sprinkles) could taste so good on toast after I met my ex-boyfriend , now my husband who is Dutch. Hagelslag is chocolate sprinkles that Dutch spread on their toast.It’s quite a moment to watch how they do it. It’s like a magic routine every time we seat together during breakfast .They spread it on a plain bread with butter or margarine. Their love for Hagelslag can never be taken away from them wherever they are right now. We were living in Kuwait but we have Hagelslag during breakfast, And Yes, I gave my In-Laws a big Thank you for bringing it over here during their visits. It’s totally a Dutch thing. This is a staple on every household and kids form some sort of attachment to it because they love it until they become adults. So Yes, I became a convert on this one and I’m sure my daughter will love it too.
When we had our daughter , we had Beschuit met Muisjes. It’s a tradition in the Netherlands once a baby is born. It’s a crispy biscuit with sugar-coated Anise seeds shared with guests. They come in pink & white for girls & blue & white for boys .I love the uniqueness & everything about it. We never have something like this in Philippines or even in Kuwait.
Who loves potatoes the most?
Dutch people are top-notch on this one. They adore potatoes. It’s like rice for Filipinos. They mashed it, fry it, steam, boiled ,baked it but their favorite is the Patat Friet. Patat Friet is a well-known snack , they are usually served in a paper cone, topped with mayonnaise. Different types of toppings are usually available including knoflook (garlic) sauce, tomato ketchup , frietsaus (a less fattier version of mayo) or the peanut sauce. My husband enjoys this on all occasions.
Dutch people have a serious love affair with their bikes (Fietsen) before they were even engaged or got married. Sounds crazy right? but really, I was dumbfounded when i saw how many bicycles in The Netherlands , let alone Amsterdam itself. It’s HUMONGOUS!
The bicycle culture makes Dutch people stand out. I mean,they don’t just bike to kill time, their lives revolves through it. They have one of the best Public transport system and yet people opt to cycle as their #1 preference of transport.You see mothers with their 3 kids on it with their famous Bakfiets (or cargo bikes) plus bags of groceries, cycling to work, exploring the countryside riding their bikes , and many tourists discover Amsterdam and all through out Holland by bikes. The Netherlands is the most-Bicycle friendly country with about 17 million in population and 20 million bikes! Picture that !
An average Dutch rides his bike 2.5km per day. I have cycled with my husband for 25km in one day and it was great. Another thing that I find so interesting is that they have a very active lifestyle with it. I have seen even older people riding their bikes. A typical household owns 3 bikes and children learn to cycle at an early age. I find it really inspiring when I see my in-Laws (already in their 70’s) riding their bikes together for errands or so.
In Netherlands, multi-level parking areas for bicycles is normal sight. It is Huuuggeee. You can see tons of bikes parked in the train station and its amazing how people find their bikes with ease.
My husband loves to makes Lists , schedules and has the most organized Calendar. He really does it especially during grocery shopping. Dutch people are really living by the Diary. Birthdays and other important occasions are carefully noted in their calendars. They even have a Birthday calendar.
YES! you read that right, a calendar for Birthdays. They normally hung it in their guest bathroom. It’s totally Dutch thing. Imagine that you are a guest and while you do your business in the loo, you can be amused by the thoughts and sometimes it even comes with photos in it. Sure thing, they have no excuse to forget birthdays !
One important character of Dutch people is punctuality. This is as per my observation from them. They are also very straightforward and direct. They don’t beat around the bush.Some may even misinterpret this as rudeness,but actually, they are just so direct in speaking their opinions.
Have you heard about Papadag? Dutch men are very involved on parenting. I love the fact that my husband has high standards for family time. Dutch people have high priority on family and quality time spent with it is important more than any leisure activities. In Netherlands, fathers have a certain half-day off during the week to take care of the kids. Isn’t is amazing? In an interracial marriage, it’s very important to have compatible values, especially on family. I’m so happy that my daughter has the privilege of being raised with Dutch values to ensure overall well-being as a child. The Netherlands holds the spot of only country ranked among the top five countries in all dimensions of child well-being . You can see the full report Here. It is very heartwarming that Dutch kids stands as the happiest kids on the world. They have wonderful childhoods.
Prior to the negative implication of the term “Going Dutch “,which is economical,thrifty Dutch way of thinking, I don’t see my husband as cheap, being prudent is not bad, He spends money wisely. Dutch people are very helpful & charitable and this is regarded as great national value. The Netherlands ranked #14 in Top 23 Richest countries around the world based on GDP per capita and its amazing how Dutch people are so involved in helping others, either national and international, who lag behind economically. There is a general kind of sense that “everyone should have the same”; equality in the economic sense is almost a value. During the typhoon Haiyan tragedy in The Philippines, Netherlands donated EUR 36 million as aid to the victims.My parents-in laws are living example, they have been helping a poor Polish family .
Lastly , with Dutch , there is always a feeling of Gezelligheid . Don’t ask me to define this in literal meaning because I can’t. Just picture this : Lovely ,beautiful gardens on each houses, with curtain-less wide windows adorned with most simple ornaments that looks directly to sidewalks , people having picnics & strolls in the park, Saturday morning frenzy at the city centre ‘s wet market,gobbling on delicious Dutch treatssuch as Stroopwafels , those tiny houseboats along the canals in Amsterdam , people walking and talking about the weather , sitting in benches reading the news , and so on. There is total way of cozy conviviality around.
A fun, comfortable way of everything. For foreigners,it could be perceived as slacking off, but really, they just enjoy and take life in a normal way.
I was grabbed at first sight on the experience of all of these. There is this unfamiliar taste that surrounds everywhere. No wonder tourists come back after visits to the Netherlands. They are really more than the windmills,tulips & clogs. There is so much more to learn and to explore with their culture. I have come to embrace Dutch culture, not only because I married one, but because of Dutch’s unique approach in everything . But I excuse myself on liking the Drop & Haring!
At the end of my day, I still groaned and remind myself, “Oh God,my Husband is Dutch !”
Have you’ve had any encounter with Dutch people? or the Netherlands ?Do you have any fascinating impressions about them?
Please feel free to share your views . I would love to hear it.
Thank you for stopping by & reading this…and Doei!