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.

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