Dutch Quirk #43: Hang a birthday calendar in their toilet

HomeCultureDutch Quirk #43: Hang a birthday calendar in their toilet

You read that right. It’s the mighty verjaardagskalendar: a calendar that holds birthday reminders and party possibilities, and Dutchies casually keep it in the bathroom.

There are two important things to remember before we embark on this exploratory journey together. The Dutch don’t mess, miss, or disappoint when it comes to planning and birthdays.

What is it?

If you walk into a Dutch person’s bathroom, chances are you’re going to notice some sort of a calendar on the back of their bathroom door or hanging from the cold shivering tiles.

This Dutch quirk can be found in the form of either an old 2007 calendar being reused in modern times or in a monthly formatting which allows for them penny-saving people to (theoretically 👀) hold on to their dear calendars and use them forever. Very Dutch.

An invention that was brought to you before e-calendars and phone reminders, this mechanism is basically how many Dutch people keep track of who’s birthday is coming up while doing toilet-related activities.

One important rule about the calendar: it can only be altered by its owner. As a guest, you get viewing privileges — but never add your own birthday to the calendar. It’s a social faux pas, you must earn your place on there.

Why do they like it?

It’s certainly a useful reminder of birthdays, that’s for starters. The location, i.e within an arm’s reach of a comfortable and very popular seat is convenient as well — entertainment and reading material is often needed to kill time.

It’s also a good way to elevate, rank, and take relationships to the next level, after all, you know you’re truly accepted by the Dutch once your b-day is noted (in pen, not pencil) within that shabby, questionable thing.

Why is it quirky?

It’s a toilet birthday calendar. The quirky part is obviously in the setting, not the sentiment. Would it be quirky if it was a kitchen birthday calendar? No — and that’s my whole point.

Back to the sentiment, however, it really reflects a soft side of the Dutch that I didn’t think existed. I mean think about it: they care about you well enough to ask for your birthday, carry it in their mind, go to the bathroom, and notate it by hand on a tiny piece of paper that will exist forever!

Should you join in?

It’s a truly high item on the integration list, but we can help you decide. Ask yourself this: are you willing to make a commitment to maintain and uphold a toilet calendar as efficiently and responsibly as the Dutch do?

Follow-up question: Is your phone broken and you’re tired of reading the back of shampoo bottles? If your answer was yes to the last two questions, then we highly recommend getting a verjaardagskalendar.

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Gpointstudio/Depositphotos & michaklootwijk/Depositphotos

Farah Al Mazouni
Farah believes she's been on many adventures during her millennial life, each for a different (sometimes invisible) purpose. The latest adventure whisked her away to Amsterdam for love, and what a magical surprise she found in this city. Armed with imaginary confetti in her pocket, and ready to celebrate all wins, big and small, Farah says "ahla w sahla" or “welcome” to her latest adventure in this wonderland.

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