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Sinterklaas & Christmas in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, as in Germany, the festive season is marked by the shining eyes of children and the many delicious treats and temptations that are always saved for the cold season.

In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas is actually celebrated from November onwards, when he and his faithful helpers, the Pieten, come from Spain to the Dutch mainland and make their foray through the country. In many towns there are big Sinterklaas parades for the children, where the Dutch St. Nicholas rides through the raging crowds on his white horse. Always present are the Pieten, who diligently and joyfully distribute the typical Dutch Sinterklaas sweets to the children. In their sacks you will find strooigoed, which is a colourful mixture of kruidnoten (speculoos biscuits), Schuimpjes and fruit gums.

Kruidnoten are probably the most popular in the Netherlands at Sinterklaas time. On the evening of 5 December, there is the traditional Pakjesavond for the children, a kind of Bescherung where the children receive their presents.

Around this time, there is delicious Amandelstaaf from the oven or gevulde Speculaas, both with delicious roomboter and Amandelspijs, a marzipan-like almond paste. Incredibly creamy-sweet and in combination with the speculoos simply unbeatable.

The Dutch also love their chocoladeletters. These are bars of chocolate in the shape of a letter. Children and adults usually receive the first letter as a gift or souvenir. A nice tradition and also a great idea for us for St. Nicholas or the Advent calendar.

Taai Taai, pepernotes are other pre-Christmas specialities that you should not do without during the winter Season.