‘Tis the season to be jolly in Holland! In this post, our colleagues from the Putten office, Marjan Smit and Jacco van Gelder, share their favourite holiday customs and traditions in the Netherlands.
What kinds of special things go on in Holland during the holiday season?
December is a special month in the Netherlands.
Most people around the world know Santa Claus, but here in Holland, we call him Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas). Every year, he chooses a different harbor to arrive in on his steamboat. On December 5th, we celebrate his birthday and he treats all the children with presents and candy, while the grownups have their own fun parties, complete with gimmicks and poems.
On the days following Sinterklaas’ birthday, we need to make sure that his white horse, Americo, is happy. So we treat him nicely by setting shoes near the chimney with drawings, carrots and hay inside them. Apparently he loves that, because every morning, everything is all gone and little gifts are left in exchange. Throughout all of this, we fill our tummies with speculaas, pepernoten, and chocolate letters – yummy Dutch Sinterklaas treats!
When Christmas finally comes, the Sinterklaas is long gone and the night is lit up with little lights. Houses and gardens are decorated beautifully. It is a special time of year, where fireplaces fill our living rooms with warmth and we celebrate togetherness and family, having a jolly time together.
What’s it like in the office around the holidays?
And at OpenText, it is no different! The offices are filled with colourful Christmas decorations and a lot of employees in Holland gather for a celebration at a famous castle, located near the Putten office. It is called Castle De Vanenburg.
On behalf of the entire Dutch team, we wish you happy holidays and a fantastic new year!
If you liked reading about The Netherlands, check out this blog post on spreading OpenText cheer in the Philippines.