The Netherlands has dozens of old traditions. I’m at the point in my studies where I’m learning about everyday Dutch culture. One chapter discussed parties and events. Now I know we have our American traditions that seem over the top and interesting to read about. I find that the Dutch are particular interested in why I celebrate Thanksgiving. But one Dutch celebration that caught my eye (and taste buds) was the one surrounding the birth of a new baby.
It’s normal for extended family and close friends to visit after a baby is born. What is also normal, is to eat rusk biscuits (hard and dried bread with an airy texture) with butter and little sprinkles on top. These little sprinkles are “muisjes” (literally little mice) and come in blue, white, and pink. There’s also a special muisje color. On the birth of a new royal heir, stores stock orange sprinkles in honor of the national color of the country.
Muisjes are made of aniseeds and coated with a layer of colored sugar. What I didn’t know, was that the anise inside of the muisjes symbolize fertility. It’s completely normal for Dutch to bring their muisjes to work with them to share with others. Sander’s had two different coworkers provide them already!
I wanted to try these, since it sounded like a delicious and fun way to celebrate. Sander and I got the complete package. We got a small packet of pink muisjes and beschuit (the most used biscuit). Let me tell you, they are delicious! And oddly enough, the taste was familiar to me. If you’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant that has mukhwas for the customers then you’ve tried muisjes before! Turns out the little sugarcoated pieces are muisjes!
I love learning new and interesting little tidbits of what makes Dutch culture unique. I can say I’ve never seen anything like this back home. It’s a fun way to help celebrate a huge life changing moment. It’s an old tradition that dates back to 1860 and I love seeing it still practiced today. While it’s fun to see cultures merging and combining traditions, it’s fun to still find something that’s “truly Dutch”.