Tag Archives: The Netherlands

Pre-Christmas party with EOTO

Christmas time means pre-Christmas parties and for our eight meeting we went to the EOTO Christmas party which was at Solu. There were many other students from around the world who were also participating the EOTO course. Many students had brought some traditional food and snacks from their home countries to share with everyone. At the party me and Jocelyn talked about Christmas traditions in Finland and the Netherlands.

 

In Finland we celebrate Christmas on 24th December, Christmas Eve. In the morning of the 24th there is a children’s TV show where Santa Claus takes calls from children and they also show traditional Christmas animations and movies. Christmas is spent with family. Many families go to church on Christmas Eve and for most of them Christmas is the only day of the year they go to church. Some of my family members go to church in some of the Christmases but not always. Personally, I don’t go to church because I have resigned from the church.  In the evening, after the church or some other activities, there is the Christmas dinner which consists of oven-baked ham, root vegetable casseroles, mixed beetroot salad, smoked salmon and many other different salads, meat and fish dishes. At some point, usually after dinner, Santa Claus comes for a visit. Santa Claus’ visit is usually a tradition only if there are young children in the family but some families hire one even when the children are older and don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Children sing songs to Santa Claus and then Santa Claus brings presents to everyone. The presents can be placed for example under the Christmas tree by family members if Santa doesn’t visit. After Santa Claus leaves the presents are opened and the rest of the evening is spent with family. Rest of the Christmas (25th and 26th) is usually spent with family and I personally visit my grandparents and my boyfriend’s family on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

 

In the Netherlands the Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day 25th and the second Christmas Day 26th. I already posted a blog about Dutch traditions and I told about Sinterklaas. On Sinterklaas’ Day children get presents so it is not a common tradition in the Netherlands to give presents on Christmas Day. Christmas is more spiritual and it involves church. In the Netherlands Christmas is also spent with family and it includes a Christmas dinner. A Dutch Christmas dinner usually includes roast pork, vegetables, homemade bread and pepernoten.

 

Although very similar, there were surprisingly many differences between Finnish and Dutch Christmas. It was nice to get to know more about Dutch traditions and the pepernoten cookies that Jocelyn had brought were so good I’m going to buy them too!

About school at school

Our fourth meeting took place at TAMK since our subject for the meeting was school and education. We taught each other how the school systems in our countries work. We also talked about different student benefits and expenses as a student.

In the Netherlands the primary school starts at age 4 and if you’re born at the end of the year you might have to retake the first year since you’d be missing too much. That differs from the Finnish system where everyone starts school at the same time in mid-August in the year they turn 7. Before primary school the kids might go to a kindergarten but it’s not mandatory like it’s not in Finland either.

Primary school lasts for 8 years so when going to secondary education they are usually age 12. In secondary education there are three different choices for high schools that are VMBO, HAVO and VWO. The choice is made based on test results from primary school.

VMBO (”preparatory middle-level applied education” or pre-vocational education) lasts for four years and it has four different levels (TL, GL, KBL and BBL). The levels go from most theoretical path (TL) to the path that emphasizes vocational training the most (BBL). After VMBO the student might go to work or continue studying at MBO. MBO (”middle-level applied education” or secondary vocational education) lasts for 2 to 4 years depending on the level. Students in MBO can choose a more school-based path where training within a company takes 20-60 % of the time or an apprenticeship education where training is more than 60 % of the study time. After MBO the student can enter the job market or continue studying in HBO.

HAVO (”higher general continued education” or general secondary education) lasts for five years. The first three years all students study the same subjects and after that they enter the second phase where they have to choose a profile. The different profiles are Culture&Society, Economy&Society, Nature&Health and Nature&Technology. A HAVO diploma provides access to HBO. HBO (”higher professional education” or polytechnic / university of applied sciences) usually takes 4 years (bachelor) and after that you may apply for a master’s program or enter the job market.

VWO (”preparatory scientific education” or pre-university education) lasts for six years and it is the highest variant in the secondary education level. The studies in VWO go on similar way as in HAVO but the difficulty level is higher. In VWO students also have to choose between the four profiles. With a VWO diploma a student can continue in WO (”scientific education”) that is only taught in research universities. WO also has a bachelor’s (normally 3 years) and a master’s (1-3 years) programme. After a master’s degree it’s possible to apply for a PhD candidate position at a university.

Although the school systems have similarities there are also a lot of differences. In Dutch school system are three options for secondary education where there are only two options in Finland. Also, the compulsory education in Finland ends after comprehensive school (or when it has passed 10 years since the beginning of comprehensive school, at age 17) and in the Netherlands it ends when you’re 18 so for example after VMBO a student must go at least two years to MBO.

In the Dutch system there is a possibility to “level up” after for example finishing at HAVO you can take final year of VWO and apply for WO. And it is also possible to go from HAVO to MBO. Usually students just follow the path as it is planned. It seems a bit weird because secondary education starts as early as age 12 and I know that many Finnish people who finish high school at around age 18 still don’t know what to do in the future. In Finland both high school and vocational school are equal when applying to a university or polytechnic (depending on the degree of course).

In Finland the education is free at all levels. Of course there are some private schools too that have tuition fees but they are not very common. In the Netherlands the education costs after secondary education. In the Netherlands students don’t get a student benefit from the government but they can apply for a cheap loan. In Finland a student can get student benefit from the age 17 on (depending on parents income and other things). In higher education parents’ income can’t decrease the amount of the money anymore but there are many other factors that affect the amount of money that you can get. Finnish students can also apply for a loan.

I find different education systems interesting as you may have realised from the length of this post. It’s interesting that even though we’re all students in TAMK at the moment we come from different study backgrounds.

Finnish traditions and holidays

This time Elisa and I drank some coffee, tea & chocolate cake and we talked about something that really interest me: Finnish traditions. First, I taught Elisa about some Dutch traditions and after that she told me about Finnish traditions. It’s funny that the traditions are so different but also a little bit the same.

Loppiainen/Epiphany

The first Finnish tradition we talked about was Loppiainen or Epiphany. This takes place on the 6th of January. This is basically the day when they take their Christmas decorations away.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday takes place the Sunday before Easter. On this day kids dress up as witches and the pick out a tree branches. The kids decorate the tree branches with feathers. They will go from door to door to say a poem to wish the people good health. In exchange for saying that poem they will get some candy. This holiday kind of reminds me of the Dutch holiday Sint Maarten.

Vappu/Laborday

Vappu is on the 1st of May, but the celebration last for a week. This is a communistic celebration. In Tampere there is a market at central square. During this holiday there is also a lot of nonsense stuff like a lot of balloons and fart pillows. A lot of people will drink champagne and make their own sima. There is also a lot of food like Munkkis.

Last eve of April

On the last eve of April, a lot of young people will go out and drink all night. They always put a hat on the maid of Finland statue.

Juhannus/Midsummer

Juhannus is an ancient Finnish holiday. It always takes place on the Saturday between the 20th and 26th of June. The main festivals during this holiday take place on Thursdays. A lot of Finnish people will go to their cabins in the forest and celebrate it over there. In Tampere there is a festival called Underground Midsummer. There is always a bonfire and there are dances. For example, the midsummer dance. There is also a myth that if you put seven different flowers on your pillow, you will see your future husband in your dreams. This is something some of the younger girls do.

All Saints day

This day takes place on the 1st of November. A lot of people go to the cemetery this day to light a candle.

Independence Day – Suomi sata

Finnish Independence Day is on the 6th of December. This year it’s a really special year for Finland, because Finland exists 100 years this year. In 1917 was the independence of Finland from the Russian republic. Before being a part of Russia, Finland was a part of Sweden. During Independence Day there will be a reception where the president and famous people shake hands.

 

New Year’s Eve

On the 31th of December it’s New Year’s Eve in Finland. This means fireworks and getting drunk. Some people will melt a horseshoe and the shape will predict the next year.

It was really interesting to hear about the Finnish holidays and traditions. Like I said before, some of them I celebrate as well, but there are also a few holidays I have had never heard of before.

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about education

Our fourth meeting was about the education systems. We met this time, how appropriate, at the university.

My expectations were that the Finnish and Dutch education system are pretty similar, but that was not the case. It’s totally different from each other.

The Finnish school system starts at age 6. Kids will start preschool. At age 7, kids will go to basic education. The basic educations has 9, sometimes 10 years. The 10th year is for those who need a little bit more time and for those who can’t decide what to do next. Most pupils are around 15 or 16 when they finish basic education.

After basic education, pupils can choose between Upper secondary school and Vocational school.

Upper secondary school

This is kind of similar to high school. This will take 3 years, and this is particularly theoretical education. Pupils will get different kinds of subjects and after Upper secondary school, Pupils can to vocational school, university of applied sciences or university.

Vocational school

Vocational school is a school for pupils who already kind of know what they want to become. This is particularly practical education, you can study for cook for example. This will take 3 years and after vocational school, pupils can look for a job and gain work experience, do another vocational qualification, go to university of applied sciences or go to university.

University of applied sciences

Most pupils are around 18 or 19 years old when they finish upper secondary school or vocational school. One of their options is going to the university of applied sciences. This will take 4 years and after finishing the university of applied sciences, you will get a Bachelor’s degree.  With a Bachelor degree and work experience, it’s possible to go for a Master’s degree.

University

The other option is going to the university. This will take 5 years. After the 3rd year, students will have their Bachelor degree. After the 5th year the students will get their Master’s degree. After getting a Master’s degree it’s possible to get a licentiate and a doctor’s degree.

 

A fun fact about the school system in Finland are the graduation caps. After graduating Upper secondary school, Finnish students will get a graduation cap.

Differences

Like I already said before, the Finnish education system differs a lot from the Dutch system. In the Netherlands, children will start school when they are 4 years old. They will start high school when they are about 12 years old.

Another really big difference between the systems is the fact that in the Netherlands, after elementary school, pupils will get classified on level. The level decides to what school they will go after high school.

It was really interesting to see the 2 education systems next to each other and it was also interesting that the systems differ a lot from each other. After seeing them next to each other I can’t say which system I think it’s better, because they both got their pro’s and con’s.

 

Food night!

For our second meeting, the theme was food. We decided to cook some food together. I’m not a really good cook, so I was glad Elisa wrote down two reci

pes.

The first thing we made was makaronilaatikko, macaroni casserole or macaroni ovenschotel.

Things you need:

Finnish English Dutch
5 dl makaronia 5 dl macaroni 5 dl macaroni
1 kpl sipulia 1 pcs onion 1 ui
1 rkl rypsiöljyä 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 el koolzaad olie
400 g jauhelihaa 400 g minced meat 400 gr gehakt
2 kpl kananmunaa 2 pcs eggs 2  eieren
5 dl maitoa 5 dl milk 500 ml melk
½ tl suolaa ½ tsp salt ½ tl zout
¼ tl mustapippuria ¼ tsp black pepper ¼ tl zwarte peper

 

What to do:

  1. Keitö makaronit.
  2. Kuori ja pilko sipuli.
  3. Kuullota sipulit ölyssä.
  4. Paista jauheliha.
  5. Lisää sipuli jauhelihan joukkoon.
  6. Sekoita jauheliha – sipuli seos makaronien joukkoon.
  7. Vatkaa kananmunat.
  8. Lisää mausteet ja maito kanonmunien joukkoon.
  9. Kaada munamaito vuokaan.
  10. Paista 175 °C noin tunti.

 

  1. Cook the macaroni.
  2. Peel and cut the onion.
  3. Fry the onions in the oil.
  4. Fry the minced meat.
  5. Add the onions to the minced meat.
  6. Mix it with the macaroni.
  7. Scramble the eggs.
  8. Add spices and milk to the eggs.
  9. Pour the eggmilk to the pan.
  10. Cook at 175 °C for about an hour.

 

  1. Kook de macaroni.
  2. Pel en snij de ui.
  3. Braad de ui in de olie.
  4. Braad het gehakt.
  5. Voeg de uien toe aan het gehakt.
  6. Mix dit met de macaroni.
  7. Roer de eieren door elkaar.
  8. Voeg de specerijen en de melk toe aan de eieren.
  9. Giet het eiermelk in de pan.
  10. Bak het in de oven op 175 °C voor ongeveer een uur.

 

 

The second recipe is Mustikkapiirakka (it’s easier to bake than to pronounce)/blueberry pie/bosbessen tart.

Things you need for the pohja/dough/deeg:

Finnish English Dutch
150 g voita 150 g butter 150 gr boter
1,5 dl sokeria 1,5 dl sugar 1,5 dl suiker
1 kananmuna 1 egg 1 ei
3 dl vehnäjauhpja 3 dl flour 3 dl bloem
1 tl vaniliinisokeria 1 tbs vanilla sugar 1 el vanilla suiker
1 tl leivinjauhetta 1 tbs baking powder 1 el bakpoeder
400 g mustikoita 400 g blueberries 400 gr bosbessen

 

Things you need for the murutaikina/short pastry/zanddeeg:

Finnish English Dutch
50 g voita 50 g butter 50 gr boter
0,5 dl sokeria 0,5 dl sugar 0,5 dl suiker
1 dl vehnäjauhoja 1 dl flour 1 dl bloem

 

What to do:

  1. Sekoita sokeri ja pehmeä voi.
  2. Lisää muut aineet ja sekoita tasaiseksi.
  3. Levitä taikina vuokaan.
  4. Kaada mustikat vuokaan tasaiesti.
  5. Valmista murutaikina ja levitä se mustikoiden päälle.
  6. Paista 200 °C noin 30 minuuttia.
  7. Tarjoile jäätelön kahssa.

 

  1. Mix sugar and softened butter.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix evenly.
  3. Spread the dough into the pan.
  4. Pour the blueberries evenly into the pan.
  5. Mix together the short pastry ingredients, and spread it on the blueberries.
  6. Cook at 200 °C fora bout 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with ice cream.

 

  1. Mix de suiker met de zachte boter.
  2. Voeg de rest van de ingrediënten toe en mix tot een glad geheel.
  3. Leg het deeg in het bakblik.
  4. Giet de bosbessen in het bakblik.
  5. Mix de ingrediënten voor het zanddeeg en spreid dit over de bosbessen.
  6. Bak op 200 °C voor ongeveer 30 minuten.
  7. Serveer met ijs.

 

It was a really fun and delicious evening! My favorite was the blueberry pie, it was amazing, especially with the ice cream. If you have free time, you should definitely try to make it!

Waiting for Santa Claus

In the middle of the semester, both me and Sanne were full of essay to write, lessons to attend, books to study. So we arranged the 8th meeting in CampusRavita to have lunch together.

We started with some words in Italian and Dutch about family, speking about our parents, their work, and about our siblings. Then we spoke about food habits. Dutch people usually eat just bread for lunch, so that even universities have no canteen, because everyone brings his own bread from home. They seem not to have  many traditional dishes. The opposit for Italian! Although many of us eat pasta once per day (it’s not unhealty!), each small town has its own traditional recipe, and every single inhabitant will swear that it’s the best recipe you can have with those ingredients, much better than the neighbour town of course. We called this phenomenon “campanilismo” which means that the clock tower of your town is better than all the town close to you. For exmple I love “risotto alla mantovana”, “agnoli in brodo” and “sbrisolona”.

homemade “agnoli alla mantovana”

 

 

After all this food we spoke about an amazing tradition in The Netherlands: Santa Claus.  I was really admired because this event has even its own TV program broadcasted every day. Every year while Santa is coming (by boat of course, we are in The Netherlands!) something happens and all the children of the kingdom live the following day waiting for the solution of the problem. Sanne shown me one episode of this national drama, in which the boat was full of water because one of the Santa’s little helpers (Piet) left the sink open…

I think it’s great that a national bradcasting channel can focus the attention of the population on something so related with children. Unfortunately, in Italy it seems that children should grow faster and faster to adapt to the language of television, while it should be exactly the opposite.

Lets’s listen to MUSIC!

After watching movie the last time, for our seventh meeting Sanne and I decided to focus on our music!

I started with one song by many different italian artists, “Domani”. It has been played by those artists in 2009 in order to get founds to sustain people who were suffering for the earthquake of L’Aquila, a very nice city in the middle of Italy. The artists are probably the most important in the italian music panorama (from Jovanotti to Zucchero, from Giorgia to Carmen Consoli). I like a lot some of them and I really dislike some other but in this song I think everybody performed very well. I thought that in this way can have a general view of Italian singers.

Aftere that I asked her wether she already knows any italian singer, and her answer was… YES! Andrea Boccelli! So we listen to a very nice song by him and Giorgia, whose voice is really great (but not as Boccelli’s one of course), “Vivo per lei”

Then we listened to some othere song, by Jovanotti – the first Italian rapper- (“L’ombelico del mondo”), which video is played in the marvellous Palazzo Te in my hometown, Mantova. We finished listening “Ebano” by a band called Modena City Ramblers. I really love this song, which won several prizes by Amnesty international and by the Red Cross, for the gentle touch it has to speak about a very hard topic: immigration and the hope of young people coming from Africa to Italy “in search of new fortunes”.

Sanne made me listening some Dutch songs, they seemed to me quite country music and, surprisingly, they recall to my mind Latino/ south american atmosphere… it was weird!

They also have this particular type of song called “Levenslied“, meaning Song of/about life. I don’t like them very much, they seem to me quite “old style” but it was very interesting.  Of course Dutch has also quite a lot of Dj music and techno (like Tiësto, quite famous it seems) but we didn’t stress about it because we both don’t like this kind of music.

Cultural gap

For our fifth meeting Sanne and I choose to focus about the cultural aspect of our countries.

Firstly I used an Italian political map to quickly surf on the Peninsula, saying the name of each region and some brief note about people who live there and main cities. Everybody knows Rome for the Coliseum and Milan for fashion but there are many other things in Lombardy and Lazio which are much better!

I realize that I was quite proud for all the cultures we have in Italy, they surely are our richness 🙂

Then I show Sanne (twice) a nice video about an italian city: Matera. this city will be the 2019 European Capital of Culture (together with Plovdiv, Bulgary). We stopped the video several times to underline typical elements of italian ordinary life.

For the Dutch part of our meeting Sanne show me some “funny facts” about people in The Netherlands. You can find a complete, very funny list here: http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/

We also speak about the Royal Family and the Soccer Teams. Sanne was a soccerplayer when she was little, but she is still very enthusiastic!

Sorruounded by Dutch in a Finnish closed market

Have you ever been to the Tampereen Kauppahalli? Go there! It’s a  very nice place in the city center.

Here you can find a lot of goods, from high quality foods, shoes, to souvenirs and a lot of affordable cafè (in some of there kahvi costs only 1 euro!).

I had my fourth EOTO meeting with Sanne, but this time there was something special (apart from the different setting): there were two Sanne’s friends, Rianne and Lieke, who were visiting her from the Netherland, so this time I had 3 teachers, great!

We spoke a lot about their hometown and the they taught me some words to improve my poor vocabulary. In particular I learnt brother (broer) and sister (zus) and different ways to create the diminutive form of a word ( adding -je, -tje, -mpje, -pje, -itje). Maybe it could be a secondary aspect of a language but… everything has started from a discussion about the size of the cup of coffe we were drinking in this very cosy place, protected against the cold wond outside.

When it was my turn of teaching I stressed on useful terms for a turist in Italy. It’s definitely better to know those words because often Italian peole don’t speak nor understand English at all. So we spoke about church (chiesa), sea (mare) , main square (piazza centrale), street (via or strada) museum (museo), hill (collina), mountain (montagna), lake (lago), dinner (cena), lunch (pranzo), breakfast (colazione), restaurant (ristorante), hotel (albergo, or hotel as well) and so on…

I think it was not too boring for our guests, they seemed quite interested and they helped Sanne to teach me as well. And remember to go to kauppahalli!

Carlo Soregotti

 

 

 

Practising verbs

For the third time I met Sanne in Tamk, and we try to improve our grammars knoledges teaching each other something about the most important part of any sentence: the verb!

The first thing was to learn how to say personal pronouns. we started from Dutch, but here I will report also the italian version all together to make it more clear.

I                               ik                                                        io

you                         je / jij / u (formal version)       tu

he/ she / it           hij / zij / het                                  lui / lei / egli (generic, no neutral form)

we                           wij / we                                           noi

you                         jullie                                                 voi

they                        zij                                                      essi / loro

While I was teaching the Italian forms to Sanne I suddenly realized that in formal situation we can use both “lei” (3rd person female), “voi” (2nd pers. plur.) or “loro” (3rd pers. plur.). This varies according to wrhich region of the Italian speaker belongs to, the standard version is the use of “lei”.If the person is very important (and a little bit arrogant maybe) can even use pluralis maiestatis (latin expression) to refer to himself!

The we moved to verbs. Dutch has only one scheme for the conjugation of the verbs (and quite easy for me actually), in which the first person is the root of the verb, second and third persons singular add -t and all the plural forms add -en. I learnt also the main verbs to be (zijn) and to have (hebben).

Unfortunately for Sanne the conjugation of italian verbs is much more complicated. It has 3 different schemes according to the termination of the infinitive form of the verb, and every form is different from the others. So there are many differences between to love (amare), to believe (credere) and to hear (sentire) The verbs to be (essere) and to have (avere) are so irregular that they need their schemes. Poor Sanne!

Carlo Soregotti