The Surprises of a Dutch Birthday

1. The Surprises of a Dutch Birthday

If you are used to the standard list of birthday party expectations – a birthday cake with candles, the “Happy Birthday” song, presents, games, and fun – then you might be in for some surprises if you attend a Dutch birthday party. Here are some of the things that you might see at a Dutch birthday party that could be quite different from what you are used to.

2. A birthday cake with candles

The birthday cake is often replaced by a plate of rolls or other pastries. The birthday boy or girl will usually blow out the candles on their pastry, not on a cake.

3. The “Happy Birthday” song

While the “Happy Birthday” song is sung in many languages around the world, in the Netherlands it is not as common to sing this song at a birthday party. Instead, it is more common for guests to simply say “congratulations” or “many happy returns”.

4. Presents

Presents are often not given atDutch birthday parties, or if they are, they are usually small and inexpensive gifts such as coffee or tea saucers, toothpaste, or rolls of toilet paper!

5. Games

Games are not generally a part of Dutch birthday parties, although children’s parties may sometimes include simple games such as pin the tail on the donkey.

6. Fun

The focus of a Dutch birthday party is usually not on games or other activities, but simply on spending time with friends and family, eating and drinking, and having conversations. So if you are looking for a wild and crazy birthday party, a Dutch party might not be the right place for you!


One of the surprises that Dutch people experience on their birthdays is that their friends and family sing a special birthday song called "Happy Birthday to You" in Dutch. This song is sung while everyone stands in a circle around the birthday person and claps along.

These surprises compare favorably to those experienced by people in other cultures because they are more personal and intimate. In addition, the Dutch tradition of singing the "Happy Birthday to You" song is unique and not something that is typically done in other cultures.

The Dutch celebrate birthdays the way they do because it is a special occasion that deserves to be celebrated with loved ones. Birthdays are also seen as an opportunity to show appreciation for friends and family members.

Some of the most popular birthday traditions in the Netherlands include giving gifts, eating cake, and singing the "Happy Birthday to You" song. Other popular activities include going out for dinner or drinks with friends, attending a concert or movie, or taking a trip somewhere special.

The celebration of birthdays has changed in recent years in the Netherlands due to an increase in cultural diversity. As such, there are now many different ways to celebrate one's birthday depending on one's own personal preferences