Last year I studied in Brighton for four months and now I am doing an internship in England to become fully immersed in the language. I decided that after two years of studying literature, culture and the language itself, it was time for me to go to England and experience it. I am really glad that I did! When I moved to England I did not know anybody and I was forced to talk in English. Not many people there speak Dutch! This really helps you improve and I really recommend that everybody, as much as possible, learns the language in the country where it is spoken. It really is the quickest and best way to learn! This is why Apple Languages offers Dutch language courses in Amsterdam!
Christmas in the Netherlands is a lot like in many other countries, with the traditional Christmas tree, presents, many lights everywhere and nativity scenes. It’s a religious holiday for many, so people often go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for a late evening mass. Something that’s a bit different from many other countries in the world is that the 26th of December is ‘Second Christmas Day’.
The good thing about having two whole Christmas days is that you can spend one day with one side of the family and one day with the other side of the family, which is what we like to do every year. We usually have a big lunch and/or a big evening meal on both days, with Christmas presents in the time in between.
The 5th of December has always been a special day in the Netherlands. Unlikely to what some people might think, this tradition has nothing to do with Christmas, but because there is an old and white bearded man involved (Sinterklaas) who is dressed in red, some tourists that have been in the country around December might describe it as a second Christmas. But in fact, it is something completely different! This tradition might sound a bit peculiar to people who didn’t grew up with this typical Dutch celebration, but I will try to explain it below.