Typical Dutch: how to celebrate a birthday in the Netherlands?

Hi there. The video lesson for today is about celebrating a birthday in the Netherlands. I will teach you all the related vocabulary and tell you everything about how the Dutch
celebrate it. And guess what… today is my birthday! “Ik ben jarig” And if you are watching this video you are
lucky! Because in the Netherlands it is common, that the one having the birthday, is the one who “trakteert!”. And “trakteren” is to treat. In this video I explain how you can get what I give away on my birthday. Now imagine you are invited “uitgenodigd” to celebrate a Dutch friend’s birthday party
“verjaardagsfeestje” most likely that will be at his or her home. It’s much more common than going to a bar
or restaurant. Now you arrive at his front door; what do
you need to say? “Gefeliciteerd”. That means congratulations. You shake hands and you give three kisses; The first one on the right cheek. The second one on the left and the last one
on the right. Please note to kiss the right cheek of the
other person, you move with your head to the left! Important: although the Dutch are quite liberal
on gay marriage; usually men do not kiss each other (like it
is common in some other countries). Now here is the fun thing. It is common that you also congratulate people that are close to the one who has birthday. And since only close friends and relatives
are usually invited to the party; the result is that everyone is congratulating
everyone! Most foreigners really don’t understand when they arrive for the first time at a Dutch
birthday party and they are being congratulated themselves! As you understand in English, the word “congratulations” is only used
with major achievements; and a birthday is not really that big of an
achievement; but the Dutch use it all the time! Sometimes people add a wish to “gefeliciteerd”. Most common is “en nog vele jaren”, which literally means: and much more years. Sometimes adding “in een goede gezondheid” so then you wish someone a long life in good
health. These extra wishes you only give to the one
who is having the birthday – so that’s something you don’t need
to do for all the friends – Always go to the party with a present “een
cadeau”. It should not be something very expensive. In other countries it may be common that the friends organise the party and pay
for drinks and food. In the Netherlands it is the one who is having
the birthday who serves. He or she pays for all the food and drinks. So, there is no need to take your own drinks. The house of the “jarige job” or “jarige
jet” (that’s what we call the person having the
birthday) is usually decorated with garlands and balloons “slingers en balonnen” To decorate is “versieren”. Of course you get a piece of the birthday
cake, which is called “verjaardagstaart”. But before cutting the cake into pieces; we sing a song! You’ll see the text of the song here. Now you probably want me to sing that song
now. But hey, it’s my birthday, I should not
sing it myself! The most important part of the song is the
end. So they will forgive you if you don’t sing
the first part. But here are my instructions for the end. Someone, or a few people will shout “Hieperdepiep”. Remember that! That’s the moment you should be prepared
for. Next, everyone shouts “HOERA” and puts
one hand in the air. And this is repeated 2 more times. Make sure you participate at the “HOERA!”. Now if you are at a children’s party, that is the moment that one will blow out
the candles; which in Dutch is: “de kaarsjes uitblazen”. Then you will get your piece of the cake. If on your invitation nothing was mentioned
about a dinner, then this is most likely the only food you
get. If you’re hungry, try to get a second piece
as fast as possible, because usually there is not enough for everyone
to have an extra piece. Only at a children’s birthday party it is quite common that a meal is served, most likely: “friet met appelmoes en knakworst” Now that we’ve talked about children, a
few other things to mention: At the end of the party usually the children get a “snoepzak”
(a bag with sweets). And at school, children also go around in
the classroom to give everyone something (“trakteren”). Most common is: “prikkertjes”. Now I have to say: “prikkertjes” and a
“snoepzak” was typical when I was a kid, 30 years ago. I’ve heard there is a tendency now towards
more healthy food (like fruits). Oh, and if you’re older: at your job – don’t
forget to bring a cake. Now, let’s say you don’t see them in person
on his/her birthday. What should you do? In Holland it is quite common to send a birthday
card: “een verjaardagskaart sturen” Don’t forget it, even if you’re not invited
to the party. But of course, nowadays you can also write
something on their Facebook or leave a comment below a video if someone
is a Youtuber! And as promised, if you are watching this video on my birthday, and that is the 22nd of October, then you are lucky! “Ik trakteer!” In the description below the video on youtube, I explain what you can get, and how you can get it. But don’t wait… because it is only on
my birthday… If you watch this video on any other day…
then there is nothing… and I only can recommend you to return to
this page on the 22nd of october or to register for the free e-mail notification
service on the website learndutch.org. Then you will get an email each time a new
lesson is published as well as the “traktatie” on my birthday. For weekly video lessons to learn Dutch, subscribe to my youtube channel! See you there… “tot ziens”

About the author


  1. gefeliciteerd! I am subscribed to your email notification, but I didn't have a time to watch it 4 days ago. so said I missed an opportunity to get a Dutch lesson for free.

  2. A really, really useful video. Is there a Dutch equivalent to saying "Many Happy Returns" in English? That's what you say when you have missed someone's birthday and realise it a couple of days later…

    Many Happy Returns, Bart!

  3. Alsnog gefeliciteerd Bart! Er is wel DEGELIJK een verschil tussen hoe een verjaardag in Noord Nederland en Zuid Nederland wordt gevierd. Ik ben Brabantse wonende in Limburg (maar in Limburg zie je dit ZEKER ook!) 😉
    1. In Brabant en Limburg is er meestal genoeg vlaai en taart 😉
    2. ZELFS op verjaardagen van volwassenen komen er allerlei hapjes op tafel! Meestal 's middags beginnend met (Belgische) bonbons en 's avonds eindigend met kaasplankjes, salades, stokbrood, toastjes en vaak wordt er tussendoor rond etenstijd ook nog het een en het ander in de friteuse gegooid 😉
    Hier gaat niemand met een lege maag naar huis!

  4. Gefeliciteerd met uw verjaardag en nog vele jaren in goede gezondheid.
    Dank u wel mijn beste docent Bart.

  5. Is the app for Android as well. My daughter-in-law is from The Netherlands- Luyksgestel and I would love to learn more Dutch to surprise her. Thanks for the Birthday video- my granddaughter's birthday is coming up in the next week, now I can sing the song and know what I am saying. Thank you

  6. sigh… I'm dissapointed I heard you say: 'Holland'. That are two provinces, not the whole country…

    The Netherlands is the official name 😂

  7. "Hoera" comes from the Russian "Urrah" which means "Beat to death" (Sla dood)
    Remarkable, isn't it ?
    Een wonderlijke heilwens.

  8. I want to learn dutch to I want to learn in home I learn dutch with you in YouTube everyday. I want good exam for Visa MVV. Please tell me I give my numberphon for you. 0621177251.dankjewel.

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