Dear DutchReview readers,
This time, I decided to treat you to an eyewitness report of my visit (especially and only for you guys) to the Huishoudbeurs (household fair). Thé paragon of Dutch pettiness.
Being founded in 1955, the Huishoudbeurs was meant as a yearly event for retailers in household products, beauty products etc. to present their newest products to the public, being housewives. Traditionally, a visit to the Huishoudbeurs is regarded as a real ‘women’s day out’. A day away from the daily activities of the traditional housewife, a day away with friends in order to have fun and at the same time educate yourself with the newest developments in the field of everything household-like.
In short: sounds like the perfect day out for me 🙂 Being such a good housewife, I decided to go and do research at the fair to find out what it is to be a housewife in the 10s of this century.
And as a bonus take my husband with me to balance me a bit should I drift of to pettiness.
Here’s my photo report, enjoy!
1. In order to endure this adventurous endeavor of being a good housewife, one must make sure to hydrate themselves properly and to consume a sufficient amount of caffeine:
2. Yes! We’ve arrived safely at the station. Luckily, the RAI is only a few minute’s walk away. Apparently, I’m not as well-behaved as all the other housewives that arrived at the RAI at 11am, when the fair opened.
3. I decided to start with the serious housewives business: pans. Which pan should I buy? Difficult decision. I ended up buying none, since I already have pans at home and I don’t even like to cook.
4. This is one of the reasons why I was eager to go to the Huishoudbeurs: spotting housewives with the typical ‘kort pittig’ (short & spicy) haircut (tradionally dyed red) and trolleys to gather as much free stuff as possible. It immediately became clear to me that, in order to have the full experience, I should have such a trolley as well (and actually also such a haircut, but my husband disagreed).
5. There it is: the Huishoudbeurs trolley! Isn’t that charming…. (In the end, I decided to skip this part of the experience, sorry guys)
6. On to what turned out to inevitably be our favorite part of the fair: the food hall. This was supposed to be the place where you could get your face stuffed with free samples of all kinds of food, but it turned out to be a deception. My husband, the most well-prepared man I know, already spotted the ‘come and taste our new peanut sauce’ in the brochure. He had eaten almost no breakfast, anticipating the peanut sauce feast he was expecting. Unfortunately, this tiny little bite was what was handed out at the peanut sauce booth (the look on my face is just because I personally hate peanut sauce):
7. Lucky for me, there turned out to be a German wine booth as well. We decided to go there to taste all the available wines and thus hopefully become more able to endure the rest of the fair.
8. After tasting all these lovely German wines, I even had the courage to pose behind a classic pram that was part of an exhibition on baby stuff, which in its turn was part of the 9 maanden beurs (9 months fair). The 9 maanden beurs is a separate fair, but conveniently takes place on the same date as the Huishoudbeurs. It contains an itchingly irritating amount of baby stuff and, as far as I’m concerned, underlines that Dutch society still has a rather traditional view on the household as ‘the cornerstone of society’. Being a good (house)wife apparently entails a few key elements: cooking, cleaning, having baby’s and keep on looking (relatively) good while doing this. I guess I’m still a long way from becoming a good housewife, but hey, at least I’m fun 😉
9. Speaking of being a traditional housewife: there was a small museum containing old-fashioned household goods. This was the only part I could genuinely enjoy and found interesting. Also: it gave me a sense of relief to know that I can just push a button to turn on the washing machine….
10. The perfect way for the modern, spicy housewife to prove that she’s not dried up yet: stand in front of a whole rack of ‘Fifty Shades’ merchandise and take a picture of it for her husband. We stood there for a while to see if anyone would actually buy something, but that wasn’t the case.
11. This is a sign at the cloakroom, indicating that this is the place where they keep your trolley / bags (multiple) safe in order for you to be able to go out to the fair to gather even more free samples and buy more shitty stuff. Perfect!
12. Tired of carrying all these bags and trolleys? A good housewife comes prepared and takes her husband!
Speaking of collecting all this free stuff: we haven’t been able to gather anything. Nothing was distributed for free, and the ‘special fair offers’ seemed like scams to us. Maybe I haven’t developed my ‘housewife bargain antenna’ yet, or maybe I’m just naturally reluctant to buy anything household-like, either way it left us with nothing but a bag of mediocre sushi’s (Although I must admit, they were a bargain) to go home with.
Did I enjoy my very first visit to the Huishoudbeurs? Yes, from a research point of view (again, the things I do for you guys…). I also liked watching all these people dragging their trolleys from booth to booth 🙂
Did I learn something from my visit? Yes, I learned that I never want to become a traditional housewife. I learned that I must be grateful for not having to become one now that I’m married (thank you emancipation). However, I also learned that, however ‘hip’ the Huishoudbeurs may want to present itself, Dutch society still has a rather traditional view on family life: a good housewife typically is engaged in cleaning, cooking, washing, decorating the house, bearing kids and – ok – thanks to 50 Shades of Grey a bit of kinky sex may be thrown into the mix.
Would I recommend visiting the Huishoudbeurs? If you want to get a good taste of typical Dutch pettiness, then you definitely should visit the Huishoudbeurs. And, I must admit: if you aren’t as allergic to pettiness as I am, it can be kind of fun if you are open to it.
Last picture: see how happy I am? :0)