Wednesday 31 March 2010

The kraamvisite

You can vaguely describe Holland as the same as everywhere else, just with minute yet significant differences.

Almost in the same way that good looking celebrities have easily recognisable, yet frankly ugly siblings.

A case in point being that yesterday we had our first official kraamvisite.

A 'kraamvisite' is where people simply come to visit you and see the new baby, just like people do the entire world over and have done so for centuries.

The Dutch kraamvisite is slightly different, it is formal. Very formal. This is no drop-in-while-passing arrangement. Arranged strictly well in advance, a precise date and time agreed, and may the ghost of the little boy with his finger in the dyke haunt for eternity you should you serve anything other than the appropriate food and drinks to your guests.

Appropriate in this case being coffee strong enough to power a Prius, and ‘beschuit met muijses’, which are an inexplicable combination of toasted discs of bread covered in butter and sugared anise seed, pink or blue according to the genitalia of the person being celebrated.

Kraamvisites apply to acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours, and bizzarely your boss. Yesterday we played host to my boss.

What could possibly go wrong when two sleep deprived foreigners attempt to host an event of cultural significance for someone who has the power to remove their livelihood?

Theoretically, quite a lot.

One could ignore the traditions laid out above and serve stale chocolate chip cookies, with the pathetic reasoning that if they are good enough for one’s own dinner, they are good enough for the man who effectively puts them on the table.

One could choke said boss on appallingly made coffee, leaving him to pick cheap granules from between his teeth for hours afterwards.

One could have a baby on show who insisted on farting her way through the entire visit.

One could get said boss lost after begging a lift to the garage where the car that the boss pays for lay in a woeful state of repair due to negligence and therefore making him late home to his own wife and children.

One could be looking for a new job soon. Or host country.



Proseaholics said...

Theoretically, one's boss should have fired the one a long time ago.

I'd imagine one would be safe if one's managed to keep from getting on the boss's wrong side for all this time.


Barbara said...

Oh well. Maybe you'll get a nice pay-off. Theoretically.

AnnD said...

He saw her, right? I think if he was looking at her throughout the stale cookies, bad coffee and farting, it won't matter. She's too cute and all of those things will have not registered.

Korie said...

You can redeem yourself with extra good doopsuiker maybe? Or don't they do that in Holland.

Edith said...


We had 10 rolls of beschuitjes, but we never got around to serve them!
Warren did take some beschuit mer muisjes to work though.

Russ said...

Eh, you guys are just a couple of crazy kids that, ain't from around here no how. I'm sure you get a pass.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Hey, your boss have kids? bet he does and he was probably sympathizing inside... I remember those days when people would come and we'd have to parade the baby around like she was a newly acquired car... lol... Bet he went home and told wifey "yep, just like us"...

Tara R. said...

Oh my... that's a lot of theoreticals. Hopefully said boss, being a father himself, is also understanding toward new, sleep deprived parents... theoretically.

Michelle said...

Funny people aren't we, the Dutch?:-)
This isn't how kraamvisite always was but has become over the years...

Ms. Moon said...

Ah- the customs of the world. And look- babies fart. That's all there is to it. They should be congratulated on their farting. It's an accomplishment!
I'm sure your job is safe.

Steve said...

A wise old midwife once told us that we should make any visitors do work for us, not the other way round. Admittedly I think it only was only meant to apply to the first week or two, but what the hell.

My wife has just cooked and delivered dinner to our neighbours who are proud new parents of a 2 day old girl. That's the sort of tradition that should be encouraged.

Mwa said...

Glad to see you didn't go with the disgusting toast. But really - you got him lost??? Poor guy. (You. Not him.)

Veronica Foale said...

Well, it could have been worse, right?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it really wasn't all that bad. He should feel honored just to be allowed in Mango's [gassy] presence. It's not every day you get to spend time with such a beauty, even if she is noisy and smelly.

areyoukiddingme said...

It's always awkward to have your boss over for a formal visit. Only you could twist every aspect of a fairly simple tradition into an unrecognizable morass. Congratulations! You've found your talent!

areyoukiddingme said...

But seriously, who would notice with Mango around? Well, except for the getting lost part!

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Intrigued to know what you've done with his car, and let's face it, it's only going to get worse with a baby inside it!

Jenni said...

Whatevs, I bet the wee one charmed his socks off.

River said...

I'm sure your job and lifestyle are safe. I'm sure your boss is understanding enough of the confusion and tiredness that a new baby brings. I'm sure you will be forgiven the stale chocolate chip cookies.
I'm not at all sure you'll be forgiven the awful coffee though.

Gail said...

Farting baby....hmmm reminds me of my eldest's Christening - had to have a 'community one' in our church - none of this posh private stuff! He grunted and boffed his way through all of it and left me with the most horrendous of nappies to change aferwards!

Keep her off the Guinness at parties I'd say!

Jo said...


This does seem like an unnecessary trial.

At the very least, maybe you put him off visiting next time :)

Putz said...

ioh i wish i could have been there>>>>really i do>>>waiting for this baby was so much fun, but now such a let down, since i can't travel to holland to visit on krammvisite

Iota said...

Any woes that aren't righted by chocolate chip cookies are serious woes indeed.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

one could move to Australia.

I hear there are awesome jobs going, but only if you can work fulltime...

{yes, this comment is ALL ABOUT ME and all about me being bitter}

Martin said...

@Monty - Theoretically you wanna watch yourself...

@Barbara - hehe

@AnnD - can only hope!

@Lilacspecs - covered in the stuff!

@Edith van - we cheated with chocolates covered in the muijses

@Russ - no side ribs here sir!

@Chrissy - hehe, you never know.

@Tara R. - haha, hope so!

@Michelle - net zo gek als een verjaardag feest ;-)

@Ms. Moon - they do that!

@Steve - that's cool, and appreciated I imagine!

@Mwa - hmmm, yep!

@Veronica - not quite sure how

@showmeyourcookies - hehe

@areyoukiddingme - we survived!

@angelsandurchinsblog - er, run of the mill wear and tear ;-)

@Jenni - as usual!

@River - lifestyle hahahaha

@Gail - Niiiice!

@Jo - all part of living as a cultural outcast!

@Putz - some day Putz, you never know!

@Iota - quite serious indeed ! ;-)

@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - no way, too many Irish...

Deb said...

That's a lot of pressure to put on new parents. Reading this made me relieved to live in the U.S. where people bring you food when they come to see the baby. Although we do have crappy healthcare. Hmm... trade-offs.

Blues said...

Good lord, it's not like that here in Spain. Here they just show up and never leave.