Local Heart, Global Soul

November 28, 2014

Babies In Blankets, Lined Up In Rows…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve written about a few Dutch baby traditions before, and here are a few archive photographs of yet another one.

Once your new arrival has made their entrance into the world it’s customary in The Netherlands to offer your family and friends something like these sweet treats when they come and visit your new arrival for the first time.

Of course these are not the only type of  baby treats available… almost every local bakery has their own style of baby snacks, usually heavily featuring chocolate and/or  fondant and/or blue / pink “muisjes”.

“Muisjes” , although the word literally translates as “little mice” are sugar coloured aniseeds outlined in the link below, pink and white for girls and blue and white for boys.

They get their name because the seeds have nano sized stalks on them and when they are coated in the sugar, a little “tail” of sugar can form at one end of the seed.

More information on Muisjes, and better photographs can be seen in the link to the other post at the end of this post. I particularly like the fondant “babies in blankets”, I hadn’t seen this sort before. Also, at thirty Euro cents each, they are not expensive.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A Dutch baby Tradition: “Beschuit met Muisjes”

January 3, 2010

A Dutch baby Tradition: “Beschuit met Muisjes”

Filed under: Dutch Traditions: Baby,PHOTOGRAPHY,Traditionally Dutch — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are several very typically Dutch traditions that celebrate the arrival of a  Baby, and here’s one of them: “Beschuit met muisjes”

First, what is Beschuit? It’s kind of toasted bread, but crunchy and dry like a cracker, always round in shape… but no sorry, but there is no exact literal translation for this word into English… it’s something that is (I think) unique to the Netherlands and doesn’t have an exact counterpart elsewhere in the world.

“Muisjes”   in Dutch literally means ” little mice” but no they are not mice ! They are little sugar coated aniseeds, and these days  they come in three colours… white, blue and pink.  Some say that the ” mouse” association came about because when the aniseeds are dipped into the sugar mixture a little  mouse-like “tail” sometimes forms around the stalk.  Aniseed is known to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers and was believed in the 17th Century to give protection from spirits from the mother and baby so maybe that’s why Aniseed is the traditional flavour.

Dutch tradition is that when a baby arrives, visitors who come to see the new infant are treated to “ Beschuit met muisjes”,  and this is where a Beschuit is smeared with butter or margaine and then either pink and white ( for a girl) or blue and white ( for a boy) muisjes are spread on top . For convenience today’s packets of muisjes come with the pink and white or blue and white colours already mixed together.

To celebrate  birth of the daughters of the Crown Prince of the Netherlands (Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange), a special edition of the muisjes was released for a short time  in the colour Orange. (Orange is also the Dutch national colour)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Even during the Middle Ages it was already an established tradition that new mothers would entertain visitors who came to see their infants with something special to eat and drink. The birth of a child was well celebrated and therefore the whole neighbourhood would be included.

Very soon after the birth the visitors would start to stream in. The local children were treated to something especially delicious that the new arrival had “ brought with them” It is not known precisely when the tradition of Beschuit met muisjes began but various sources point to the Middle Ages and around the 17th Century in particular.

Earlier Beschuit was used alone in white as a festive treat, and was a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. A thick sugared beschuit was a real treat that celebrated the birth of a child. For commoners  there was sugared white bread as a more affordable alternative.

These treats were on offer for us when we visited a new baby boy in the neighbourhood…
so what you are being served here today however, is the real Beschuit met muisjes !

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