Dutch Language Blog

Birthday Songs and Pie Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

In the past years of living in the Netherlands, I have been intrigued by the birthday traditions. These are slightly different than what I had lived in the U.S. and in Mexico, but are gezellig none the less. Here are a few facts about celebrating your birthday in Dutch!

Birthday hat (photo by Droid Gingerbread found in Flickr.com)

  • Birthday songs

Lang zal ze leven
Lang zal ze leven
Lang zal ze leven in de gloria
In de glo-ri-a


This is the most basic and popular birthday song in the Netherlands. It says “long shall you live in the gloria” and then you have a big hurray for your birthday! Very nice song and very easy to learn.

There is another popular birthday song called “Twee violen en een trommel en een fluit” meaning “two violins, a drum and a flute.”

Twee violen en een trommel en een fluit,
Want je bent nu jarig en de vlaggen hangen uit.
Ei, ei, ei, en we zijn zo blij,
Want je bent nu jarig en dat vieren wij!
Ei, ei
Oh wat zijn wij heden blij
Want jij bent nu jarig, je bent nu jarig
Oh wat zijn wij heden blij
Want jij bent nu jarig en dat vieren wij

(You can replace “je” for the person’s name)


  •  Congratulating the family

When you visit someone for their birthday, you are expected to congratulate them with a proficiat  or gefeliciteerd and three kisses. You are also expected to congratulate the family.

  • Birthday pie

Up until 2013, I have celebrated my birthday with cake. In Limburg, people celebrate their birthdays with a traditional Limburgse Vlaai. You are expected to take pie to your work and have it available for people that will visit you. If you need a recipe for a pie, make sure to check out this delicious appel vlaai recept.

I must admit that I do not know if this applies to the rest of the Netherlands or not. If any of you readers know, please share your birthday experience with the rest of us!

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Jeanne K.:

    When I was in elementary school in Katwijk a/d Rijn in 1965, the birthday child brought treats (usually chocolates) and brought one to each of their friends in the school, even if they weren’t in their class. I hadn’t ever seen that before, but now I work in an elementary school in the USA and it’s very common.

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @Jeanne K. Jeanne, I had that too in the U.S. It was always fun to celebrate a birthday!

  2. heylane:

    The song “Lang zal ze leven in de gloria” is rumoured to originate from public executions. (The person sentenced would live long in “glorie”, meaning in heaven)
    At the ‘hoera” the axe would be swung.

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @heylane Heylane, I didn’t know that! That sounds very interesting!!! Thank you for sharing 🙂