November 27, 2016

Saint Pancake, a very real tradition that started in a comic

Filed under: Comics,Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 5:04 pm


On 29 November the country celebrates Sint Pannekoek (Saint Pancake), notably the people of Rotterdam.

These people will take photos of each other wearing pancakes on their heads, and of course they will eat pancakes. In 2014 ( reported back then) hundreds of people took to social media to share the photographic evidence of their pancake wearing ways, and the Koninskerk in Rotterdam organised a pancake feast, the proceeds of which went to charity.

Interestingly, there is no actual Saint Pancake. He and his tradition were made up whole cloth by Jan Kruis for his comic Jan, Jans en de Kinderen (John, Joanie and the Kids) and in turn by his character, grandfather Gerrit, who wanted to get out of having to eat boring beans.

In the strip, grandfather tells the children a strong tale about a cherished childhood tradition: “Mother bakes a huge stack of pancakes and then when the man of the house comes home, everybody puts a pancake on their head and shouts: ‘Dear father, we wish you a happy and blessed Saint Pancake.'” Joanie replies: “I love old traditions!” and changes the dinner she had planned.

Author Jan Kruis, whose comic has been published for decades in leading women’s magazine Libelle, hopes that one day he can get the royal family to wear pancakes on 29 November. “That is my ultimate hope for this tradition”, Kruis told RTV Drenthe two weeks ago.

(Illustration: crop of the comic that started it all by / Jan Kruis)

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November 18, 2013

Photo report of the Saint Nicholas parade in Amsterdam

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 8:02 pm

Yesterday I went to the Saint Nicholas parade in Amsterdam.

The bishop of Myra visits the Netherlands, Belgium and other parts of Europe each year to give gifts and candy on his birthday (6 December) to children that have been good and to take children that have been bad back to his palace in Spain.

Recently the appearance of Saint Nicholas’ helpers, the Black Petes, has drawn criticism for its uncanny resemblance to a black caricature.

As a response to the criticism, the city of Amsterdam promised to tone Black Pete down a bit. I did not see much evidence of that, the lips were caricaturally red as ever, although golden earrings seemed to have disappeared.


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March 7, 2011

Carnival parade in Sittard, the Prince throws oranges

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 2:36 pm

I had heard rumors that in Sittard, Limburg, the carnival Prince throws oranges and I had to go and find out if that was true. Once his float arrived on the Market Square I snapped a picture of him (Tom 1) and I also caught an orange. I’m grateful he didn’t try to hit people with them.

A lot of the people parading also gave their social commentary about Sittard, a city falling apart and watching the number of inhabitants dwindle like many other places in Limburg. In local dialect, these signs read ‘Greetings from the torn down city’, referring to the many broken down and empty buildings in Sittard.

In sharp contrast to the ugly parts of town, the lovely Sjtadscafe de Gats dating back from 1535 on the Market Square makes for a lovely background. I saw a few more similar buildings from that era, as the town didn’t really suffer serious architectural damage from WWII.

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March 6, 2011

Children’s carnival parade in Heerlen

Filed under: Food & Drink,General,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 11:26 am

It’s carnival time again in the South provinces of the Netherlands and yesterday in Heerlen, Limburg they had their children’s parade with parents, prams and princes. The red-green-yellow scarf that doesn’t match the rest adorns the carnival colours, a must have for many.

Besides a good story I wanted to know if the kids on the floats threw sweets like they did in when attended carnival in Cologne, Germany a few years back. Just as I reached into my purse to get my camera, I got beaned by a waffle! And I collected enough for breakfast before writing this.

Eventually the children’s carnival Prince, ‘Martijn 1’, showed up in full dress, waving to the crowd. From what I’ve learned, picking the carnival Prince is done by a serious carnival association and is chosen from different schools alternately. They also have princesses, it is done months in advance and is kept secret until the very last minute, a very dear tradition in these parts.

Has the tradition changed over the years? Well, I’m sure some things have, but a few things have definitely remained the same according to a former junior carnival Prince, vintage 1981.

Notice the ship-like float the junior carnival Prince and Princess were standing on here back in 1981? Well, they still use it today, the Blauw Sjuut in local dialect.

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March 1, 2011

Peewit egg hunting season is officially open

Filed under: Animals,Nature by Orangemaster @ 10:50 pm

The Province of Friesland is the only place in Europe where peewit (aka lapwing) eggs can be collected on cultural-historical grounds. As of today, 1 March 2011 and until 9 April 2011, people in Friesland can go egg hunting, but have to ask permission from the provincial council by phone text message before taking each egg they find. Despite objections from bird protection groups, a total of 5,939 eggs can be collected. Twittering them would be a lot cooler, but hey.

In the province of Friesland, it is a tradition to be the first one to find the year’s first peewit egg (‘kievitsei’, in Dutch). Unlike other birds who lay their eggs in nests, the peewit (aka Northern Lapwing) lays its eggs in the ground. Friesland has tons of open fields where people go ‘egg hunting’. The finding of the first egg is a symbol of spring and is always news.

(Link:, Photo of eggs by wiccked, some rights reserved)

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