Living the Dutch life - December

Light up the dark Winter days

Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival offers the opportunity to view exclusive creations made by international top artists up until 21 January 2018. When dusk falls brightly coloured projections and dynamic light installations light up the canals, historical buildings and city parks. The exhibition can be seen on foot and by boat across the entire city centre. The festival also hosts several artist talks and performances and offers the chance to warm up with food or mulled wine at the Marineterrein. Every year a selection is made of the best concepts submitted by many talented artists, architects and designers to create innovative and unique works of art.

Sinterklaas Celebration

On 5 December the long awaited present evening is celebrated in most Dutch homes. Children will sing songs to Sinterklaas until they hear a knock on their door and find a bag filled with gifts. Adults throughout the Netherlands dress up as Sinterklaas or Piet, often to the confusion of the children. Sinterklaas carries with him a big book with the name of every person in it telling him who deserves a present.

Older children and adults also celebrate 5 December by making poems and so called surprises for family or friends. Before the holiday, lots with the participants names are drawn on them and gifts are bought secretly. The gifts are usually accompanied by funny poems containing puns and personal things about the receiver. The poem is often used to mock somebody in front of the whole family and the gifts are traditionally hidden in a handcrafted package telling something about the receiver. Some people get creative and competitive making this package using strange materials and clues to make it difficult for the receiver to find the hidden gift. 

Candle Night Gouda

Experience this magical Christmas event in the city of Gouda marked by countless lit candles on 15 December. Gouda by Candle Light is a festive day full of musical, theatre and culture. From noon there will be all kinds of activities outside and in several museums and churches. At sunset the electrical lights will be turned off and the windows will be illuminated by candles for the ceremony at the Market square, the highlight of the day. A huge Christmas tree in the middle of the square will be enlightened by the Mayor when he gives his speech and thousands of people will sing Christmas carols.

Besides the cheese and stroopwafels the city is famous for, Gouda is also known for its candles. The candles are made from a natural wax that burns steadily for hours and they can be purchased as souvenir in and around the city.

National Fireworks Rotterdam

During New Year’s Eve the biggest and most spectacular fireworks show of the Netherlands takes place in Rotterdam. The evening starts with a musical countdown on the quay playing the greatest hits of 2017 while free oliebollen are offered. At midnight beautiful fireworks will burst from the Erasmus Bridge, the icon of Rotterdam. It is 800 metres long and has a 139 metre high pylon in the shape of a swan. For children there is a special children’s fireworks show at 7 pm. The countdown and fireworks are broadcast live on national television in case you can not be there.

New Year’s Dive Scheveningen

Celebrate the 1st of January the traditional Dutch way by plunging into the ice cold North Sea water along the coast of Scheveningen. Although only for the brave hearted, each year the number of participants increases. There are more than 80 locations throughout the country organising a New Year’s Dive, but the largest dive is held at the beach of Scheveningen. After a festive New Year’s Eve with oliebollen, apple flapjacks and champagne it is definitely a way to start the new year off fresh! To stay warm all participants are offered an original Unox cap and split pea soup. To get an impression of the New Year’s Dive in Scheveningen one of the after movies can be watched here.

Winter Activities

The month of December is the most magical time of the year as the cities are decorated with twinkling lights for the holidays and fun and cosy winter activities are organised. In most big cities all kinds of outdoor or indoor Christmas markets are organised. Some with unique settings in Dickens Style and choirs singing Christmas carols or underground markets in gorgeous caves. And often you can also find great temporary ice-skating rinks in many Dutch cities. Please find below some of our recommendations:

* includes ice-skating rink!

Categories: Team Talk


Living the Dutch life - November

Keep cosy and cultured this November

Crossing Border Festival The Hague

From 2 until 4 November one of Europe’s main international literature and music festivals will take place in The Hague’s cultural centre. Crossing Border presents a unique combination of spoken word, music, film and visual arts. Besides the biggest names from the literature and music industry,  undiscovered artists will also  be included in the programme. The focus of the festival is new developments in literature and music and their interconnection with other arts. 

Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam

The Affordable Art Fair is a unique concept that makes art accessible to everyone and takes place in Amsterdam from 2 until 5 November. The event allows anybody to buy works of art by upcoming and established artists at affordable prices and also offers free workshops to attend. A broad range of art will be presented, from figurative to abstract and from traditional to avant-garde. Because of the low threshold and even the availability of childcare service the fair is perfect for a family day out!



Museum Night Amsterdam

On 4 November you can see Amsterdam’s museums, literally, in a completely different light with one single ticket during the Museum Night. Over 50 museums will participate in this art and culture themed night, which includes well-known names such as Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, but also some of the city’s smaller institutions. Once it gets dark you can enjoy many exceptional performances and workshops across the entire city. A ticket also allows one free visit to a museum after the Museum Night. 

National School Breakfast

To break the unhealthy habit of skipping breakfast The Netherlands organises the National School Breakfast every year. More than 2,900 primary schools will participate in this event from 6 until 10 November in which all school children enjoy breakfast together in an educational way. They will be served a healthy breakfast, according to the latest insights into what a varied breakfast should consist of, and learn how important and simple it is to have a nutritious breakfast. It is a big occasion with all kinds of special events during the week such as breakfast in the Rijksmuseum under the Nachtwacht on the first day of breakfast week and a breakfast with the mayor and members of the House of Representatives.

Sint Maarten

On 11 November many children celebrate Sint Maarten’s day, which is similar to the more well known Halloween. As soon as it gets dark children up to the age of 12, usually accompanied by an adult, knock on neighbourhood doors with lanterns and sing songs to receive a piece of candy or fruit in return. The songs often contain nonsense words or vague puzzling references to the origins of the feast day. Sint Maarten’s day is only largely celebrated in parts of the North and South of the Netherlands and to a lesser extent in the provinces of Flevoland, Overijssel, Gelderland, South-Holland and Zeeland. If you are living in one of these areas it is recommended to buy some treats and lantern sticks (in case your children will participate) in advance as these sell out fast. Most primary schools will however make a handcrafted lantern with the children.

The origins of feast day tend to differ. It is supposed to have originated as a Germanic Winter feast, but some also consider it to be a religious celebration. In the early 20th century it was also seen as a feast for the poor.

GLOW Eindhoven

During GLOW which takes place from 11 until 18 November the city of Eindhoven is transformed by artists from all around the world. The city becomes one giant exhibition with gorgeous light constructions based around a different theme each year. As the match factory and Philips light bulb factory were founded in Eindhoven in the 19th century, the city has been a source of light for the whole world ever since. The theme for this year will be ‘The Source’.

Arrival of Saint Nicholas

The Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) feast is the most beloved of all Dutch holidays and traditions. Although the actual celebration of the feast is on the evening of 5 December, all children are excitedly awaiting his arrival each year in mid-November. Officially Sinterklaas will arrive by boat on 18 November in the city of Dokkum together with his Pieten (helpers). He then makes his way through the country on his white horse Amerigo. In most other towns and cities unofficial arrivals will also be organised. 

In the days leading up to 5 December Sinterklaas rides across rooftops at night listening through chimneys for good children and leaving them little treats in their shoes, which they leave by the fireplace or door. Traditional Sinterklaas sweets are chocolate letters, pepernoten (small spices biscuits), gingerbread men and marzipan.

Categories: Team Talk


FEM EMEA Summit 9-10 November 2017 (UK)

Join us at Stand F9!

Join us for the FEM EMEA Summit in London.

Where?  InterContinental London - The O2

What is it?

An opportunity to debate the biggest shifts taking place in global mobility.
Discuss with us how global mobility can become more strategic, increase its value and influence across HR and the wider business. 

For more information & how to register, click here.

Contact Team Relocations at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See you at stand F9!

Categories: Team Talk


Living the Dutch life - October

Autumn is here!

National Restaurant Week

For the second time this year The National Restaurant Week offers the opportunity to sample some of the finest dining establishments around. From 26 September until 15 October all kinds of popular eateries and Michelin-starred restaurants in many big cities have discounted menu offers. Reservations can still be made, but be quick as the event sells out fast!


Children’s Book Week

Each year The Dutch Children’s Book Week is made into a huge event that promotes reading for children up to 12 years of age. From 4 until 15 October many fun activities are organized by town libraries and primary schools offer special lessons within the theme of the event. This year’s theme is ‘Scary’, to help children discover the limits between fiction and reality.

As a nice addition you will receive the book ‘Kattensoep’ (Cat Soup) as a gift when spending more than 10 euros on children’s books at participating book stores. There you can also find a special free guide, the ‘Voorleesgids’ (0-6 years) and ‘Kinderboekenkrant’ (8-12 years), with an overview of the best books matching the Children’s Book Week theme.

Flower Bulb Market Keukenhof

Outside of spring Keukenhof is generally closed, but at the start of the bulb-growing season the park opens up once again. On 6 and 7 October a Flower Bulb Market will be held for home gardeners to stock up and gain expert tips for growing the most successful flower crop. At this market a large selection of rare  bulbs can be bought straight from the cultivator. Also, a large flower bulb mosaic will be presented for Keukenhof’s new theme of 2018: Romance. Kindly note that you will only be able to pay cash.

Museum Night The Hague

During the Museum Night The Hague many museums and cultural institutions in the city centre, Scheveningen and Voorburg will open their doors to art loving night owls. With the theme ‘Freak Like Me’ there will be all kinds of special activities, such as a roller skating disco in the Atrium, a freaky photoshoot at Museum Swaensteyn or a surprise tattoo designed by Dennis Tyfus at 1646. A ticket will give you access to all participating museums and institutions (with a one-time free entry until 31 December). Transportation is arranged in the form of a historical shuttle bus with on-board entertainment.

Dutch Design Week Eindhoven

Discover the work of the young talented designers of the future during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the city that is home to the world famous Dutch Design. The event takes place from 21 until 29 October and it is the biggest design event in Northern Europe, visited by more than 295,000 people from home and abroad. Exhibits, workshops and lectures exploring design are organized at many beautiful locations in the city with the emphasis on experiment, innovation and cross-overs. During the Dutch Design Awards, one of the most exciting parts of the event, the best designers will receive an award.

Time Change

 In the early hours of Sunday 29 October the clocks go backwards for Winter Time, the end of Daylight Savings Time. This means that sunrise and sunset will be one hour earlier than the day before and you will have one hour of extra sleep! So don’t forget to put your clocks backwards one hour before going to bed on the night of the 28th.



 Although it is not a traditional Dutch celebration, Halloween has been gaining more and more devotees in the recent years. As the event nears you will start seeing decorations like grinning pumpkins and most cities will organize an event within this theme. Think of local Halloween markets, forest walks, haunted castles or themed parties. The most popular event is probably the Amsterdam Halloween Festival with several costume parties and kids activities taking place from 25 until 31 October. Theme parks will also turn into spooky territories for real dare devils. The Fright Nights in the amusement park Walibi for example, is a well known Halloween event for those who are not faint of heart.

Categories: Team Talk


Beryl's Shine Night Walk

Beryl Poole from our very own W1 London office will soon be participating in Shine Night Walk, a 13.1 mile night walk around London in aid of Cancer Research.

Along with her friend Georgina, the pair have been training in earnest for the six hour walk, regularly visiting the gym and walking in their spare time (with the occasional visit to the watering-hole!).

Beryl and Georgina's Shine Night Walk will take place on Saturday 23 September - there's not long left to sponsor the pair!

If you would like to donate to Beryl and Georgina's cause, please visit their Just Giving page. All money raised will go straight to Cancer Research UK.

Best of luck Beryl, we all know you'll do great!

Categories: Team Talk


Living the Dutch life - September

Enjoy September's outdoor events

World Port Days Rotterdam

Find out how fascinating Europe’s largest seaport is during the World Port Days from 1 until 3 September. Taking place in Rotterdam, the event gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of the port and industrial area and also celebrates the international character of Rotterdam, something the city is really proud of. The activities range from ship tours on impressive vessels, adventurous port excursions and spectacular demonstrations near the waterfront – perfect for a family outing! The entertainment can be watched from the Erasmus Bridge and a grandstand at the Wilhelminakade.

World Heritage Days & Open Monument Days

Take the opportunity to visit one of the unique Dutch World Heritage sites or enter one of the Netherlands’ most extraordinary historical monuments during the weekend of 9 and 10 September. Both events are free of charge and a great way to learn more about Dutch heritage!

During the World Heritage Days eight out of the ten UNESCO World Heritage sites will share their exceptional story of the Netherlands in the spheres of water management, civil society and land design. Each site will offer activities, such as special boat tours, excursions and expositions.

During the Open Monument Days you can visit many historical buildings throughout the Netherlands, such as canal houses in Amsterdam, the political heart of The Hague or the medieval churches in Maastricht. Annually the Heritage Days attract around 900,000 visitors making it a prime cultural event in the Netherlands.

National Apple Picking Day

Harvest your own fruit at orchards around the Netherlands on 16 September during this classic autumn activity for families and those young at heart. A range of apples and pears can be picked at a small charge, with most fruit companies also showcasing regional stores that offer other delicacies. For children there are lots of activities, such as face painting, farming demonstrations and ‘train’ rides. At most locations you will have the possibility to enjoy coffee, tea or apple juice with Dutch apple pie.


Prince’s Day The Hague

On 19 September the opening of the Dutch Parliamentary season is marked with Prince’s Day in The Hague; the political centre of the Netherlands. The highlight of this day is a royal procession with the famous Golden Carriage moving from Noordeinde Palace to the Ridderzaal of the Binnenhof. However, a Glass Carriage is currently being used due to a large restoration of the Golden Carriage. Thousands of people will be lining the route to get a glimpse of His Majesty the King, so be there early if you want to be sure of a good spot! In the Ridderzaal the King will read his speech from the throne which outlines the government policy for the year ahead. After the speech, The Royal Family is met with cheers from spectators on their balcony back at Noordeinde Palace.

It is unknown why the event is called Prince’s Day, but in the 18th century it was the name of Prince Willem V’s birthday. When he was older, King Willem II would bring him along on horseback to read the King’s speech. This may explain where the name for Prince’s Day, as we know it now, comes from.

Netherlands Film Festival Utrecht

From 20 until 29 September the city of Utrecht becomes the Dutch Film capital during the Netherlands Film Festival. It is a lively, inspiring and creative festival that gives Dutch cinema the recognition it deserves. Different venues will show a large variety of Dutch movies, such as short films, features, documentaries and TV productions. Besides movies the festival also organises talk shows, premieres, work shops, debates, parties and film screenings, but the highlight is the presentation of the ‘Golden Calves’, the grand prizes of the Dutch Film, on the Award Night. The festival attracts many Dutch cinema professionals - you might even bump into a famous actor or actress while walking around the town!

Kite Festival Scheveningen 

Come and see the world’s biggest kites during the Kite Festival in Scheveningen on 23 and 24 September. This event proves just how much fun kites can be for adults as well as for children! The sky will be flooded with brightly coloured kites, in all kinds of sizes and designs, from over a hundred kite-flyers from around the world. The most impressive kite that will grace the skies is Megabyte, a huge kite of 66 metres long and 25 metres wide. Throughout the weekend there will be kite demonstrations, stunts and workshops. And of course you will be able to purchase your own kite at a nearby stall. On Saturday evening there will also be a spectacular night kiting show with thousands of lights in the air.

World Living Statues Festival Arnhem 

Watch the world’s best living statues from 29 September until 1 October during the World Living Statues Festival in Arnhem. This extraordinary event will surprise you with over two hundred professional living statue acts. The art is all about standing totally still, dressed to look like real statues. However small movements here and there are allowed as part of the act. The event starts with the Statues by Night Show on Friday evening and this year a new dimension is added with The World Championship on Sunday.

Categories: Team Talk

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