Expat Life: Are the Dutch Nuts?

by missfootloose on January 3, 2013 · 12 comments

in Netherlands, traditions

Happy New Year!


On New Year’s Eve in my native Holland (properly called The Netherlands) people go out into the streets — no matter what the weather — and set off fireworks at the stroke of midnight. Then for those who have the energy, the fireworks and party continue.

Fireworks in Holland

Sadly, since I lead a wandering expat life, I have not been able to join in the fun for years. I now hibernate in West Virginia, USA, but I have many fond childhood memories of being out so late at night and watching the fun. (And yes, there are some nuts who do stupid things and people get hurt.)

The above photo was taken on a rainy, Dutch January 1, 2013, but rain won’t keep the Dutch from much.

Neither does the cold because on January 1 many put on swim suits and take the New Year’s Plunge, the Nieuwjaarsduik. In the frigid ocean, or whatever body of water that is handy.

New Year's Day Plunge

This year a record 40 thousand nuts jumped into the freezing sea and lakes, which proves there are more crazy Dutchmen every year. Trust me, I’ve never taken that particular plunge, although I’ve taken others, possibly more risky.

Enough already.

May 2013 bring you all the health, happiness, love and adventure you’ll be able to deal with!


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

MsCaroline January 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Here in Korea, we participated in an event that would probably fall outside of the parameters of ‘normal’ for most North Americans: instead of staying up late on New Year’s Eve, we got up at 5am on New Year’s Day to watch the sun rise. This is a tradition in Korea, and many people travel to the easternmost point of the country to participate in ‘sunrise festivals’ on New Year’s day. It was quite a cultural experience, although we could have done without the sun-obscuring snowstorm. We kept telling ourselves it would be a good story in years to come…


Kate January 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Crazy people, running towards that water! Buy what I want to know is if David Sedaris’ “6-8 black men” is fact or fiction. :) Happy New Year,


missfootloose January 15, 2013 at 11:22 am

I went in search of David Sedaris’ “6-8 Black Men” and had a good laugh. Of course it is true and not true and almost true and also wrong and over the top and exaggerated. So there you have it!

Here’s a fun post I found about the TRUTH ;) http://gingerbreadsnowflakes.com/node/637


FrenchGirlinSeattle January 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I think the Dutch sound wonderful! Good for them for enjoying themselves – and life – in spite of the grey skies! My first boyfriend was a Dutch guy. He was smart, sweet and very funny. Like many Dutch people, he spoke fluent English. Fond memories. :-) Happy New Year to you! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)


Red Nomad OZ January 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Haha! Far more civilised downunder when plunging into the sea around New Year is almost de rigueur – given that the temperature is often in the 40′s (C)!!! Happy New Year!!


Mara January 4, 2013 at 10:05 am

I must admit I was never one of the jumping-into-freezing-water crowd either. Nor did I like the fireworks very much, but that might have more to do with being a pet owner than anything else!


Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living January 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Have you ever tried this? I might try just for the heck of it.


missfootloose January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I liked that post, Sonia, and I think a feather in your hair is a great idea, why not?


Pat January 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

This reminds me of New Year’s Eve in Marburg Germany when the entire country seemed to take to the streets to throw fire crackers. We have our own little polar bear club that takes the plunge in Lake Geneva every January; however, I do not belong. Happy New Year with more happy travels.


Emily McGee January 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I’m astonished at how many people are headed into that frigid water! It makes me hyperventilate to just think about it! Hope you had a great New Year’s.


missfootloose January 15, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Emily, the eating traditions you wrote about in your blog post are more fun than diving into cold water, if you ask me!


guyana gyal January 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Please tell me it ain’t true.

I can’t even imagine that people like cold weather. The slightest drop in temperature, I complain.

Happy new year!


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