There are so many foody traditions when celebrating a child’s birth. Some countries have rice pudding or cake, but the Dutch have a special way of doing things! And by special, I mean pink and blue sprinkles.
The Dutch have pretty weird ways to celebrate birthdays. When a baby is born, they eat sprinkles on a rusk, a type of dry biscuit.
Then, the kid has to live with the traditional Dutch circle of death on their birthday for the rest of their life. 🧑🏻🍼
What is it?
These sprinkles — or muisjes — are typically served on rusk biscuits with a spread of butter or margarine between them. Lekker toch?
Muisjes (literally meaning little mice) are little pieces of candied anise seeds, and they get their name from their round and slightly pointed shape.
The gendered sprinkles come in blue and pink colours for those cute baby boys and girls. They should probably start making them in purple by now for parents who reject those labels!
Why do they do it?
It all started with another age-old Dutch tradition. People would gift bread to new parents and sugar to the babies, Dutch birth celebrations are really all about being sweet!
Muisjes existed for about a century before they infiltrated every Dutch baby’s party. They only became popular after 1938, when the future Queen Beatrix was born.
The company that makes these sprinkles ‘De Ruijter’ created an orange version (the national colour of the Netherlands) of the muisjes in honour of her birth.
Why is it quirky?
Let’s be real. Have you really ever seen anyone other than the Dutch celebrate their kid’s birth with some sprinkles?
In other cultures, people tend to celebrate in less colourful ways when their baby is born. For example, in my home country of Lebanon, people eat Meghli, which is basically a brown rice pudding with anise, caraway, and cinnamon spices.
In the Netherlands, it’s customary for the family to see the baby at home while the parents serve the beschuiten met muisjes (rusks with sprinkles) to everyone.
Should you join in?
Absolutely, you should! That is if you like sprinkles on rusk… and babies.
If your friend has just given birth, organised a celebration, and prepared some traditional snacks, then you might as well have a little piece of that dry biscuit sprinkle concoction!
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2022, and was fully updated in June 2023 for your reading pleasure.