By Leonoor Van Kersbergen
As I am born and raised in the Netherlands, I have grown a strong sense of chauvinism for my country, the country with endless canals through cities, loads of rain and a completely useless monarchy. The country where everyone cycles –even the president goes to work by bike-, a language extremely harsh and eccentric traditions. The country with people tall as basketball players, people blunt and lastly, people with major wanderlust.
The last is probably the reason for such a patriot like me to end up moving to Switzerland. Even though I moved from the country with the highest ‘mountain’ being 322 metres high to the country of the Alps, I still live by my countries standards and traditions.
An example of this is the celebration of Sinterklaas, one of the previously mentioned eccentric traditions. For most Dutch people it is a bigger celebration than Christmas, and it’s celebrated the days approaching the 5th of December. We sing songs, write poems, and eat a specific kind of treat called “pepernoten” (comparable to gingerbread). The story of the tradition is that Sinterklaas, the Dutch name for Saint Nicholas, comes to the Netherlands by boat from Spain, together with his helpers, Zwarte pieten (Black Pete’s). They give presents to the children who have been good, and take the children who have behaved badly back with them to Spain. A free trip to Spain for us travel-lovers doesn’t sound so bad now, but as a five-year-old you really preferred staying home.
Tot gauw in Nederland. (see you soon in the Netherlands)
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