Celebrate Sint Maarten's Day in Amsterdam

November 06, 2013 By Simone Davies 1 Comments

If you are not Dutch and haven't lived here for very long then you may find all the references to Sint Maarten on the 11th of November a bit confusing.  Simone Davies explains...

On 11 November the Dutch celebrate Sint Maarten's day. Children knock on neighborhood doors to sing a song and receive a piece of candy (like at Halloween). The children all make their own lanterns and hang them from a lampionstokje (a lantern stick, which has a little lightbulb on the end). Traditionally, homes that are participating will leave a lit candle by the front door. You can always visit the police station – they like the children coming in to sing to them. 

There is also a lovely lantern parade in Vondelpark each year, starting at 6:00pm at the Koninginneweg entrance. I think it is very pretty and the kids enjoy walking through the dark. It is best to get there early as they leave very punctually, and try to get near the front of the group near the band.

What You Need to Know

Lampionstokjes are sold at Blokker, Hema and some hardware stores. They often sell out before the day so it is a good idea to buy one early. I have once tried looking on the day and there were none left to be found! You can also buy lanterns from these shops too if you have not made one.

Warning: if it rains on Sint Maarten, you come home with one very soggy lantern (and child). Best to be prepared. 

And here are two of the traditional songs to practise for the big night:

11 November

Elf november is de dag Dat mijn lichtje

Dat mijn lichtje

Elf November is de dag

Dat mijn lichtije branden mag

Sinte, Sinte Maarten

Sinte, sinte Maarten

De koeien hebben starten

De meisjes hebben rokjes aan

Daar komt sinte Maarten aan


More information on Sint Maarten.

Simone Davies is the owner and directress of Jacaranda Montessori Playgroup. As well as being a mama of 2 children, Simone provides a Montessori environment for parents and babies and also hosts courses and workshops.

photo credit: meritis via photopin cc

Related articles:

News and weekly events listings


About us

Welcome to the largest and fastest growing parenting community in the city. Bringing you everything you need, to be the family that you want.

Amsterdam Mamas is a volunteer-run foundation providing information and support to international parents in Amsterdam and the surrounding regions.