Signs that Winter is Coming to Groningen

07 December 2015 by Natasha
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Brace yourselves, winter is coming. For students coming from a tropical country, winter is something that they wish to experience. The idea of having snowball fight, the warm Christmas spirit, and a nice cup of hot chocolate thrills us so much.

You can have winter, everywhere. Well here in the Netherlands some things are special. You can see that winter is coming from some “índicators”:

1. Sinterklaas

You start to see sinterklaas related stuff in the market. Peppernoten, kruidnoten (try the truffle kruidnoten, it’s the best!), chocolate letter, you name it. These goodies are only available in the market when it is approaching the Sinterklaas Dag which is on the 5th of December. A little bit different from you usually know, Dutch have a separate day for Saint Nicholas whilst we usually also expect presents on Christmas day from Santa Claus. On the 5th December it was said that Sinterklaas (in Dutch) will come from Spain and give you chocolate and sweets if you hang your shoes (not socks!) by your window or door. Also, you can put some carrots in your shoes to give a treat for Sinterklaas’ horse who accompanies him all night long. This joyful event is the one that indicates winter is starting here in the Netherlands!

2. Oliebollen

This one is my favorite. Words can’t describe how happy am I to see oliebollen trucks. The trucks that sell oliebollen are only appearing when it’s beginning to get cold. To put it roughly, oliebollen is a fried doughnut (but without the hole), sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are the best when they are still warm.

3. The ‘Special’ Weather

Well, this is one is indeed obvious. When it gets colder you can expect that winter is coming soon. But what makes it different in the Netherlands is its merciless wind and horizontal rain. You will be encountering them even more than before.

So, those are some things in the Netherlands that makes waiting for winter here more unique. Also, when winter actually comes, don’t forget to skate at the ice rink on Grote Markt once it’s there! Actually experiencing winter here  makes me realize it’s more than seeing snow for the first time.  It’s also getting to know other people’s culture and enjoying it at the same time.