Dictionary of Dutchness


December 5, ostensibly the birthday of St Nicholas, or Sinterklaas (Holland’s equivalent to Father Christmas) is the main occasion for giving presents in the Netherlands. Gifts are often wrapped up in extremely elaborate packages (pakjes) known as ‘surprises’ and accompanied by long poems which point out the foibles of the recipient. The origins of Sinterklaas and his helper, known as Zwarte Piet, is always the subject of hotly contested debate. Although not an official holiday, many businesses close early on December 5.

All typical untranslatable Dutch words and expressions translated in the Dictionairy of Dutchness
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