Weblogs

What Dutch-Canadians say about their Dutch Heritage

We celebrate your Dutch roots in Canada on May 5th, Canadian Dutch Heritage Day, and throughout May, Dutch Heritage Month in Ontario. Many people across Canada, especially Dutch-Canadians, are reminded of many specific Dutch foods, drinks, traditions and holiday celebrations they will never want to ban from their lives.

The liberation of the Netherlands created a friendship between Canadians and the Dutch that has continued to the present day and is felt in many ways. Has this affected your life? How? We were interested to hear from you, and asked two people in their 80's and two people in their 30's four questions about their Dutch Heritage.

Read below what they told us. Can you see a difference in answers from both generations? (50 years difference)

Image: Library and Archives Canada/PA-147114
Families, and war brides with their children arriving in Canada at Pier21

Margaretha Vles (b. 1935)

  1. What is the first word that comes in your mind when you think of your Dutch Heritage?
    "Happy". Those were my favourite years.
     
  2. Can you tell us about your Dutch Heritage?
    I was born in Amsterdam in 1935, and came to Canada in 1955 with my whole family. Then, I moved back to the Netherlands to finish my studies in nursing, and came back to Canada again with my husband (Dutch) in 1961 to start a new life.
     
  3. What Dutch tradition did/do you try to keep even though you live in Canada?
    Dutch cooking and Sinterklaas.
     
  4. Do you still consume one or more typical Dutch foods or drinks present days?
    Dutch Apple Pie, BoerenKool, Dutch Gin 

Pat (b. 1939)

  1. What is the first word that comes in your mind when you think of your Dutch Heritage?
    Proud, and Beauty.
     
  2. Can you tell us about your Dutch Heritage?
    I was born in Rinsunageest in 1939, and came to Canada because my parents were moving here. Then, I moved back to the Netherland for my boyfriend, and when that broke off I moved back to Canada in 1959 because my family was here.
     
  3. What Dutch tradition did/do you try to keep even though you live in Canada?
    Language, Dutch cooking.
     
  4. Do you still consume one or more typical Dutch foods or drinks present days?
    Goudakaas (Dutch Gouda cheese), Snert (pea soup) and Hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles)
Celebrating King's Day

Arnaud van Dijk (1981)

  1. What is the first word that comes in your mind when you think of your Dutch Heritage?
    Celebrating "Koninginnedag" (now Koningsdag called "King's Day") with traditional Dutch activities like aubade, spijkerpoepen en koekhappen :-) 
     
  2. Can you tell us about your Dutch Heritage?
    I was born in Barendrecht in 1981, which is close to Rotterdam. In December 2014, my wife and I moved to Canada to start a new adventure and explore living in a different culture and environment. I got the opportunity to transfer from KPMG in the Netherlands to KPMG in Toronto, Canada to help build out our sustainability services practice. 
     
  3. What Dutch tradition did/do you try to keep even though you live in Canada?
    We still have a "verjaardagskalender" (paper birthday calendar) which is apparently a very Dutch thing. 
     
  4. Do you still consume one or more typical Dutch foods or drinks present days?
    Absolutely, there is always some Dutch cheese in our fridge as well as chocolate sprinkles! 
     

Bonny van Rest (1986)

  1. What is the first word that comes in your mind when you think of your Dutch Heritage?
    Family and Friends.
     
  2. Can you tell us about your Dutch Heritage?
    I was born in Rotterdam in 1986 and grew up in the Rotterdam area with my parents and older sister. I studies Business Administration on the Erasmus University/ Rotterdam School of Management. During this time I met my boyfriend Joris, with whom I like to travel and go on new adventures. We always had the idea of working and living abroad for a couple of years, so when the opportunity came from my employer Achmea to start a new insurance business in Canada we jumped right into it, in April 2017
     
  3. What Dutch tradition did/do you try to keep even though you live in Canada?
    Cycling. My bike was one of the first things I bought after I arrived in Canada and have been using it through summer and winter to commute and explore the city. I still get a lot of surprised reactions to riding in heels or flip flops, and no matter what the weather is.
     
  4. Do you still consume one or more typical Dutch foods or drinks present days?
    Cheese (LOTS), De Ruyter hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and Calve Pindakaas (peanut butter).
Image: Bonny van Rest
Bonny biking in Toronto Downtown, wearing heels

What can you say about your Dutch Heritage in Canada?

Do you recognize yourself in one or more things Margaretha, Pat, Arnaud or Bonny told us?

Did you also come here with your entire family, were you a "war bride", or did you come here as an expat? Do you also eat tons of Dutch cheese, Dutch apple pie and bread topped with chocolade sprinkles?

The one thing all Dutch-Canadians have in common, is that ADVENTURE was and is a big part of their lives by moving to and settling in Canada.

We hope you all keep having Dutch traditions and treats in your lives, wherever you live. We'd love to hear from you! Show us your Dutch Heritage by tagging us in your social media posts and by using the tag #DutchHeritage.