Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Dutch Traditions

While the rest of the expat blogs are going on about whether or not Zwarte Piet is racist, I'd like to take a moment to explain another, far less controversial Dutch tradition:  the geboortekaart, which Karel is so industriously addressing in this picture.

These are birth announcements, and tradition dictates that they be sent immediately after the baby is born--the time elapsed between the birth anouncement arriving in the mail and the date-stamp of the infant (most of them also include the time of birth, as well) has led me to conclude that the prospective fathers (because no woman is going to be fiddling with geboortekaarten right after she's given birth) must be fiddling with websites such as Poobies and seeing entirely too much pink or light blue (and, for the lucky few, both) in the first few hours after their baby is born.  Which is just as well--it gives the man something to do while Mom and Child are both recovering from the process of being born.

There are several websites available; we used Poobies because it was the only one I could remember of a number of websites advertised in one of those maternity magazines you pick up while you're waiting for the next midwife's appointment.  But Hallmark also has a Dutch site (.nl rather than .com), and there must be a few others as well.  You can customize the text, to a certain extent--names are important, as is the date and time (so that he can be added to the appropriate birthday calenders, of course)--and there is usually a bit of text somewhere floating around about when visitors are welcome.

But because Karel sucks at being Dutch, we've only gotten around to sending them out today, a full week after the Little It became Rijntje.  And, as you might be able to tell, he also failed to conform to the pink/blue scheme--well, actually, that was more my doing, as I loved the idea of the broken egg.  We also did not give him a last name, owing to an international snafu with the gemeente Nijmegen that involves Belgium and the US Consulate (again!).  Suffice it to say that we'll be expecting more than a few telephone calls concerning this horrible breach of tradition and etiquette.  


  1. It took us about a week too. I think it's fair to say having a baby can be distracting :)

  2. Babies are definitely distracting, especially when they're your own :-)