Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Say it with cards

Yesterday I had to pass by a toystore in order to buy a condolence card for an acquaintance of us. My husband had previously confirmed it was "condoleance" in Dutch. Once in the shop I really couldn't find the "condoleance" category. When I asked the salesperson she informed it was under "deelneming" . The shop owner tells me what the most popular were and that cards under certain themes/categories are not sold in some parts of the NL. He posed for photos.
When I first came here I noticed that cards are indeed extremely popular. It is a strong habit to send a card to someone for the most important and unimportant reasons. I have never thought about buying a card for someone who is going on a trip, got his driver's license, has bought a pet or is going to retire. What in other countries people would say personally (or send and e-mail / give a call) the Dutch will say it with a card and flowers - subject for another post. It is not a teenager thing at all ! Here a man can give to another man a card with a puppy / flower / kiss mark on it for his birthday. I have noticed also that small cards with the size and material of credit cards are getting more and more popular. I have give such one to my husband years ago when we got our first kid, so that he can take it in his wallet. Below you can find some of the occasions you may send a card to someone. I didn't include Christmas (Kerst) and New Year's Eve (Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar) because I think it is pretty common in the rest of the world as well.
Celebrating the birth announcement card: high dosis of cuteness. These cards are purchased by friends, neighbours, family members, colleagues and acquaintances in general to be sent to the new born. The birth itself is announced by special cards that the parents chose from a catalogus in a printing shop (drukkerij) and ordered a good quantity before the end of preganancy. But that I guess is a common habit also in other parts of the world, right ?
Adoption (adoptie)
Baby Girl (meisje)
Baby boy (jongen)
Grandchildren (kleinkind)
birthday anniversary recipient (gefeliciteerd)
50 years old - man (Abraham)
50 years old - woman (Zarah)

Succeeding in getting your driver's license can be very tough in the NL. If you pass your exams, you deserve a card from your partner or nearest ones. The cards above I bought for when my son gets his "A" diploma from swimming school and the other card is for a daughter of friends of yours. She is about to get her "C" diploma. I will be talking about the "A-B-C" diplomas later. Unlike in the rest of the world, swimming lessons in the NL are intense and demand a lot of skills and efforts from a young kid.
CoursesDriver's license (rijbewijs)Swimming certificate (zwem diploma)
Approved (Geslaagd)

Condolence (deelneming)
Unborn child (ongeboren kind)
Death of a child (kind)
Young person (jong persoon)

A new address (nieuwe woning)
A purchased house (woning)

Have a nice trip (Goede reis)
Vacation (Vakantie)
Love (Liefde)
Valentine (Valentijn)

Pregnancy announcement (Zwanger)
Good pregnancy wishes (zwangerschap)
Marriage (huwelijk)
Marital union (echtvereniging)
Living together (samenwonen)
Jubilee (jubileum)

Catholic communion (communie)
Note: this card is not availabe in North Holland, a protestant area.

Sickness / DifficultiesSomething broken (iets gebroken)
Strength (sterkte)Get well (Beterschap)
Cheer up (opvrolijken)Welcome home (welkom thuis)

Work / Studies
Graduation (promotie)
Retirement (pension)
Leaving/quitting /moving out (afscheid)
Earlier retirement (VUT - vervroegde uittreding)

Sending cards is a gentle gesture, although in the NL a bit exaggerated sometimes. If you live in the NL and has notice some other theme/category is missing in the list above, just let me know and I will update this post.
What is your preferred card ? ... Sending cards...  is it cool or not ?


mub said...

It strikes me as funny that the cards can be so specialized. I think for most things I would use a generic "Congratulations!" card and just write on the inside what I was congratulating the person for.

I will need a card in a few months that says "congratulations on passing your horrible inburgeringsexamen and not dying or killing someone in the process" ;)

Larissa, Lara, Lalá, .... said...

Adorei os cartoes!! Penso que com a tecnologia as pessoas nao escrevem mais `a mao e sim no teclado. Desde que moro em Barcelona, cultivo o ha'bito de enviar cartoes postais para os meus amigos no Brasil e eles adoram!!!! Muito boa esta cultura holandesa .... Beijos

Anita said...

Mub: I needed such a card almost one decade ago. When you find one, pls tell me where was it - asap !

Larissa: cartao postal e' tudo de bom. Ja viajei muito e sempre enviava cartoes pros meus pais. Eles colocavam numa mesa com tampo de vidro. Como os cartoes viviam saindo do lugar eles agora colocaram todos numa latinha retangular. Lindo de ver !

A Touch of Dutch said...

This is a really cool topic & blog entry! I love the photos & how thoroughly you've listed everything, and thank you for sharing about this :-) Have a nice week & weekend!

Beth Blue said...

I think cards are really cool! I also think it´s a pity that nowadays people just send e-mail to each other for every occasion, to wish a happy birthday, etc.

I LOVE fact, I sort of collect them ;-)