A 2020 Thanksgiving in the Netherlands | DutchReview (2024)

Many Americans residing in the Netherlands will be spending this Thanksgiving away from home and family, and that can be tough. But in the spirit of giving thanks, let’s focus on the positives.

Dutch people do celebrate Thanksgiving, in their own way. It’s actually not so different than in the US an excuse to get together with family and friends for a big meal. But if you’re an American, you can still celebrate like a true Yankee (a derivative of the Dutch Jan Kees, of course). Here are a few ideas for spending this Thanksgiving in the Netherlands:

Go on a scavenger hunt for all the American staples

Turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie preparing these classic Thanksgiving dishes is absolutely possible, although it will require some extra shopping around.

A few supplies surprisingly easily found in most grocery stores are stuffing mix, green bean casserole ingredients, and cranberries (although the sauce you’ll have to make yourself).

On the other hand, some basic items like corn syrup (pecan pie) and cocoa powder (countless desserts) can be challenging, though some international stores do stock them. You may find that with certain ingredients like these it’s easiest (and less costly) to turn to an online search or simply change your recipe.

But don’t give up on the elusive canned pumpkin it may not be commonly stocked on the shelves of many supermarkets, but international stores do tend to carry it around this time of year.

If it’s a turkey you’re after, many butchers are hip with the holiday and stock up on birds. A few great options around Amsterdam are:

There are many more so check with the butcher nearest you. Turkeys can cost a pretty penny, but if you’re one of the many committed to this tradition, you’ll want to get in quickly as they do tend to sell out. People often preorder way in advance.

For tofurky lovers, get ready for a fun DIY project because the odds of finding that in any freezer around here are slim to none. (But if you do, please let us know).

Have a sleepover at Kimpton de Wit in Amsterdam

If you’re not all about home-cooking, 2020 isn’t really your year. However, there is one excellent option that still allows you to eat outdoors and have a little holiday at the same time.

At Kimpton de Witt and Celia Amsterdam (the restaurant of the hotel), you can celebrate Thanksgiving in the form of a staycation great for anyone who wants to get out and still be able to usher in the festive season (in Amsterdam, but hey, trying our best here this year).

At this lovely hotel, you’ll experience what they call a “Californian escape” and spend a night in a beautiful room with your sweetheart, or perhaps your best friend. There’s a wine station that opens at 5:00 PM (till 8) and the evening offers a delicious feast from the new restaurant, Celia, located in the hotel.

A 2020 Thanksgiving in the Netherlands | DutchReview (1)

Dinner will be an assortment of both small and large plates for sharing. Your culinary adventure begins with roasted ushi pumpkin and red pepper soup and smoked duck breast with black truffle. As the main course, you’ll be served the classic roasted turkey with thyme and mustard. And to answer your question, yes, there will be pumpkin pie!

Availability: from 26 to 28 November 2020 (so more than 1 night available, but make haste);

Price: € 219 for an overnight stay + Thanksgiving dinner for two people, including parking (so you can travel covid-safe) and breakfast.

Reservations can be made via this page or by calling 020 620 0500.

Participate in Giving Tuesday

Keep up the spirit of generosity by participating in Giving Tuesday. It’s described as as a global generosity movement, and it’s all about inspiring others to do good.

What is #GivingTuesday, you ask?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement which inspires people to do good! This movement unleashes the power of people and organisations to transform their communities and their world. 🌎🌍🌏 pic.twitter.com/RJztvOp5IE

— educate. (@educate_ngo) November 17, 2020

On December 1, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can turn the focus on others by making a contribution to an organisation that’s working for a good cause. The are many Dutch organisations participating in the movement, so you can make contributions that have a direct impact on your own community.

You can also donate to many organisations working on international development and aid projects. The givingtuesday.nl website makes it easy to look through all the incredible campaigns and find individuals and organisations doing work that matches your own altruistic objectives.

Monetary donations are always welcome, but for those strapped for cash, there are other ways to participate. Donations of things like coats, blankets, your time, and skills can also make a big difference. So can sharing your story on social media with a #unselfie or #givingtuesday.

Learn about the Dutch-American Thanksgiving connection

The Netherlands does have an actual historical link to the American holiday, believe it or not. A not-so-widely known fact is that the English pilgrims who travelled to the United States on the Mayflower had a nice long stopover in Leiden before making their journey to America.

The pilgrims had fled religious persecution in England and settled in Leiden, which was the second-biggest city in the Netherlands at the time. They took up jobs in the booming textile industry and spent about 12 years attempting to assimilate while still maintaining their religious beliefs. That proved increasingly difficult so eventually the youngest and fittest set sail for the New World. These pilgrims were, of course, responsible for the first Thanksgiving.

For your holiday reading pleasure, take a look at either of these delightful historical articles on the topic:

The pilgrims in Leiden: Where were the pilgrims before they sailed to America?

Leiden was key to the origins of Thanksgiving

So while you won’t find a lineup of events or parades, or be able to turkey-hop among large family gatherings, a 2020 Thanksgiving can still be a celebration a very small, sterile, socially-distanced celebration. And since it looks like other upcoming holidays will have a similar vibe this year, check out our tips for finding some cheer through the end of the year.

Do you have plans to celebrate Thanksgiving? Any other suggestions you can offer for a socially-distanced holiday? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Brin Andrewshttp://brinandrews.com

Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.

A 2020 Thanksgiving in the Netherlands | DutchReview (2024)


What is Thanksgiving in the Netherlands? ›

Thanksgiving is observed by orthodox Protestant churches in the Netherlands on the first Wednesday in November (Dankdag). It is not a public holiday. Those who observe the day either go to church in the evening or take the day off and go to church in the morning (and occasionally afternoon) too.

What food does Netherlands eat for Thanksgiving? ›

While the bird is more expensive in Europe, it remains a staple dish for the celebration along with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. One plate that hasn't caught on however is pumpkin pie, so if you find yourself amongst the Dutch for the season, save your sweet tooth for some Dutch apple pie.

What is the Dutch equivalent of Thanksgiving? ›

• thanksgivingdankdankzegging↔ remerciement

Do people in Amsterdam celebrate Thanksgiving? ›

While it's not common for Dutch people to celebrate Thanksgiving and the day isn't an official public holiday, it may come as a surprise to hear that every year on the fourth Thursday of November, the Pieterskerk in Leiden holds a Thanksgiving Day service for Americans in the Netherlands.

What is the main holiday in Netherlands? ›

One of the most celebrated days in the Netherlands is King's day. During King's day, the whole population takes on to celebrate the birthday of the King; Willem Alexander. On the day of the celebration, the whole Netherlands is “painted” orange.

What is the most celebrated holiday in the Netherlands? ›

The Dutch love a good party, which is why King's Day may very well be the best party in the Netherlands. It's a national holiday and celebrates King Willem-Alexander's birthday with lots of music, dancing, flea markets and fun fairs. We traditionally celebrate this holiday while dressed in orange.

What is Netherlands Favourite food? ›

Traditional Dutch food is meat and potato or fish based for dinner and bread and cheese based for everything else. Beef stew and stamppot are two of the more common, hearty Dutch meals. Raw herring and other North Sea fishes are commonly consumed as well.

What is Netherlands main dish? ›

Welcome to Grand Prix Gastronomy! This week, I'm cooking the national dish of the Netherlands, stamppot, which features kale, sausages, and mashed potatoes.

What is Dutch called now? ›

Dutch is used as the adjective for the Netherlands, as well as the demonym.

Do Dutch celebrate Christmas? ›

Christmas is a special holiday in many European countries and Netherlands is not an exception. Christmas celebration in the Netherlands consists of two days, 25th and 26th of December, so people can enjoy two festive dinners and celebrate this holiday with every family member.

What is Dutch Christmas called? ›

This is the celebration where children are transformed into Kings and Queens and honored as the bringers of the light at the darkest time of year. The tradition of Sinterklaas comes all the way from the Netherlands, brought by Dutch settlers who arrived in Rhinebeck over 300 years ago.

Where can I celebrate Thanksgiving in Amsterdam? ›

Sit-Down Dinners
  • The Hard Rock Cafe. ...
  • Seasons Cafe. ...
  • The American Book Center. ...
  • Slagerij De Leeuw. ...
  • Albert Cuypmarkt. ...
  • Tjin's Toko. ...
  • Kingsalmarkt.

What is Amsterdam like in November? ›

November is the wettest time of the year, so you can expect around 90mm of rainfall spread over the month. Temperatures are lower towards the end of the month, so if you want to enjoy the warmer weather, arrive at the start of the month. The average temperature is around 9°C with chilly lows of just 4°C at night.

What is the national holiday in Amsterdam? ›

There are two national holidays in the Netherlands: King's Day (Koningsdag) and Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag). While Liberation Day is a national holiday, not everyone may be free that day. This will depend on your employer or school.

What is Thanksgiving called in Europe? ›

Europe. Besides American and Canadian expats getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving, the old continent has its own traditional harvest festival. In the rural areas of Austria, Germany and Switzerland communities celebrate Erntedankfest.

What is the festival of November 11 in the Netherlands? ›

The nights before and on the night of 11 November, children walk in processions carrying lanterns, which they made in school, and sing Martin songs. Martinloben is celebrated as a collective festival.

How is Thanksgiving celebrated in Europe? ›

Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Held in late September or early October, the holiday of Erntedankfest—a similar gratitude-filled concept to American Thanksgiving—is held in rural towns all over these three countries. Residents give thanks for plentiful harvests with church services, parades, and music.

How many holidays does the Netherlands have? ›

There are 7 public holidays recognised in The Netherlands, these include national holidays like Good Friday and Easter Monday plus two public holidays celebrated solely in The Netherlands. There are also additional regional public holidays observed in specific states in the Netherlands.

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