Beschuitjes met muisjes

New frontier experiences on my gastronomic journey through the Netherlands

When a baby is born, this happy event is of course duly celebrated, and in Germany there are numerous possibilities for this. In my homeland, the Ruhr area, where things tend traditionally to be rather robust, fathers often buy a round in the pub and let “the baby pee”. I’ve also heard of the grandmothers’ huge cake creations, but I don’t know of any nationwide tradition of celebrating the arrival of a baby across state borders.

In the Netherlands it’s different: in the whole country when the baby is born, there is almost the same culinary variant to which people are invited -beschuitjes with muisjes. “What’s that?” – you will ask yourself.

Beschuitjes are a kind of round rusk, but less sweet than the German rusk. Butter or margarine is spread on the beschuitje and the muisjes are sprinkled on it. And since the muisjes tradition is older than the trend towards gender neutrality, it is of course pink muisjes for a girl and light blue for a boy. (And when a baby is born into the royal family, you eat muisjes in the Dutch national colour orange all over the country!)

The muisjes consist of aniseed and are covered with icing sugar. This also makes sense, as anise used to be a tonic for women after giving birth. It was supposed to support breast milk production. However, consumption usually makes a subsequent use of a vacuum cleaner necessary, because the combination of rusk crumbs and spilt muisjes otherwise invade the whole house. Here dog owners may have a home advantage.

Independent of birth celebrations you can also buy crushed muisjes to enhance your breakfast. They then have the consistency of a white powder. When I first stayed with my husband in a Dutch “Bed and Breakfast” and we sat down at the breakfast table in the morning, I was quite shocked. I said that although I knew that the Dutch drug policy was more liberal than in Germany, I thought that serving cocaine for breakfast was quite exaggerated. This misunderstanding made the hosts giggle. And it confirms once again that a lot in life is not what it seems at first glance to be.

Text: BBR
Englische Übersetzung: BCO


  • sprinkles-437672_1920 by mijoko: Pixabay
  • rusks-2564030_1920 by Printeboek: Pixabay

Author: bbr

Hello, I am Beate Brinkman, the bbr.harlekin. I am editor and author for Harlekin.Blog e.V. and my “main job” is support coordinator in an international IT company. So far I have worked in German, Dutch, American and Indian companies and have acquired a great deal of experience of multicultural cooperation. I have been living in the Netherlands as a German for many years and have discovered that the cultural differences between Germans and Dutch alone could fill entire books. For professional and private reasons, I am particularly interested in multicultural (mis)understanding. Whether it’s about food, language, official conference calls or the organisation of funerals – when the cultures of several countries collide, things get lively. And that leads to sometimes unpleasant, often very funny, but always instructive situations.

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