Friday, July 01, 2011

It's a K Day

Birthdays in Holland are famous, but not always for the right reasons. Mostly they are the subject of derision among non Dutch imports (like myself), who cannot quite grasp why this ritual needs to be endured every year. I'll admit that's what I used to think too, but yesterday, K Day as I have dubbed it, changed my opinion, and now, I think I could actually get to like these excuses for getting together in a family sort of way.

It was, as most of you already know from that most frenetic of social networks, Koos's birthday.

Why have I changed my mind, then? It helped that the weather was kind. In fact, it was lovely. It also helped that Koos's two sisters are real darlings, and they were the first to arrive with their respective husbands. We did the coffee, tea and apple gebak sitting on the foredeck of the Vereeniging in the sunshine. Koos held court for his family like one born to it - which of course he was.

Then Mo and Craig stepped across from the Marion Aagje which is now moored up next to us (more about that next time), followed by Koos's son, Sanne, and his wife, and not much later by Jodie and Barry. All three dogs, Sindy, Charlie and Beowulf joined the party too, and the conversation took on a noticeably more youthful tone. The tea was exchanged for beer and the apple cake for quiche and salad.

A little later still, Kasper, Koos's other son arrived and then the party was complete. The sun kept shining, the beer kept flowing and all was well with the world. By the time they all left, I realised I'd rather enjoyed the day after all. To see the whole family is always great, and birthdays are really the only occasions everyone manages to make the time to get together. Maybe these cloggies don't have such a bad thing going after all. Dutch birthdays? Just an excuse to get your nearest and dearest in the same place at the same time - something that is becoming increasingly difficult in this hectic world of ours. But well worth it when it happens, mostly anyway :)

Jodie and Beowulf

Kasper and Koos

Craig and Charlie

All and sundry

Mo and Charlie


  1. It was indeed a fabulous K-day in the Caribbean tradition. :)

  2. Why is this that you felt this way about birthdays? I've always actually really enjoyed a good excuse to get together with people I like, and wondered if it is a cultural thing not to do when you were growing up.

    Charlie is a good sport to let whoever dressed him up in that rain gear get away with it. Lovely photos!


  3. Happy K-Day. What joyous photos.

    Love all the pooches and smiles too.


  4. Thanks Jo, I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

    Ann Marie, I am far from being alone. Ask any non-Dutch person here about Dutch birthdays and they will give you the same groan and eye-rolling shake of head, regardless of where they come from. It has to do with the specific Dutch ritual of sitting in a circle and drinking coffee, eating cake and making rather mundane conversation - it has to be done, and for the most part, it has to be endured. Of course, we all celebrate birthdays, but the Dutch way has become internationally famous for its somewhat tedious and conservative nature! And yes, Charlie is a darling. He was showing off the raincoat Mo has bought him to protect him when they are on the slipway next week :)

    Grace, I thought of you when I posted these pictures of the pooches :)

  5. Happy Birthday Koos. I'm glad you had a lovely day, you know what they say about the sun shining on the righteous! I think it is lovely to get together with all the family (surely the beer helps liven things up it always does with my lot!) xxx

  6. Oh Gosh, I love the cake is eaten first and yikes give me salad, quiche, beer, dogs, and some people, any day! I think in the UK (correct me please) in summer picnics are arranged in place of Sunday dinner, and in place of strictly family the net is opened wider to have friends join.

    Wonderful day it appears Koos was a reason to celebrate.

    Thanks for sharing K Day with us and I am especially glad you figured out what was wonderful about the whole affair. xo

  7. Val am so glad that you explained (in comments) about the Dutch style of birthdays. For some how I was unable to see you as a birthday pooper :)

    I truly enjoy birthday parties with all the trimmings and especially a candle decorated cake followed by wine or even whisky.

    Ginab: English picnics used to be generally about 3 to 4 in the afternoon and nothing ever got in the way of a roast beef lunch, when I was a lad :)

  8. Okay, I see there's some confusion about why I said what I did bout Dutch birthday parties. Years ago, I did a post about them, but think I must have deleted it now. For anyone who's puzzled as to why Dutch birthday parties have such an unfortunate reputation, the link below is to a description of birthday party protocol by a Dutch person, so you could say this is straight from the horse's mouth!

    Fran, Gina and Mel, many many thanks for your comments. As I said, we did in fact have a very nice time, but as you will read if you follow the link, it can be very tedious.

  9. I do remember your comments in the past regarding Dutch birthdays. What stuck with me, was sitting around in a circle looking at each other...
    It sounds like a great celebration and I often wish I had extended family living closer to me. However, my own tightly-knit immediate family will have to do - and I love them all dearly! On birthdays and everydays!
    Will you please pass along a big hug to Koos for me!


  10. And please do tell how Craig balances Charlie on his beer can like that!
    A rather interesting trick. ;)

  11. you know me Val, I can't resist those doggies :)

  12. Hi Dale, hug delivered! And yes, I have mentioned Dutch birthdays before, mostly because all expats who live year find the whole ritual rather tiresome.

    Craig is a man of many talents. If I told you how he did that, his party piece would be destroyed :)

    Grace, hugs!!

  13. It sounds like it was a great K-Day. Not the normal to be dreaded Dutch circle party at all :p


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