Tag Archives: Doddema

Preparing for Christmas

It’s that time again when snow falls, shoppers run you over with the carts/cars, and Santa Claus comes to town. He came this past weekend to our local Wal-Mart. Most of our kids didn’t have a problem with it except for Bridget, who refused to sit on his lap. So here’s some pictures of some of our kids. Enjoy.


Sinterklaas memories from Eltje and Geesjen Doddema

If you remember I had mentioned that I had emailed several relatives about their Sinterklaas memories ie. what made it important to them. Geesjen Doddema responded with this and I’ll just paste the whole email here:

Hello Bernard,

Sinterklaas was: 1 week before the big day we were allowed to put a shoe next to the stove, just before we went to bed. In the shoe, we put something for the (grey) horse of Sinterklaas, for example an apple, or a carrot, or a head of curly kail. And ofcourse the horse got some water in a bowl. Then you had to sing a nice Sinterklaas-song and go to bed, without the usual complaining or dawdling.

Sinterklaas was riding on his horse over the rooftops, and Zwarte Piet climbed down the chimney to put something in your shoe, and take the food for the horse. The next morning you found something in your shoe, a little chocolate animal, or a small present. And you had to be on your best behaviour all the time, because Zwarte Piet was listening through the chimney wther you were a nice boy or girl. Worst case scenario (according to the grown ups) was: if you behaved badly, Zwarte Piet would put you in his bag, and take you away from your parents, onto the steamship to Spain.

On the evening of the 5th you had to sing all the Sinterklaas-songs you knew and hope for a really big present. That evening we became hot chocolate with “speculaaskoekjes”, or a “speculaaspop”, or gingerbread or ginger-nuts. The week before Sinterklaas, we ate ofcourse hotchpotch of curly kail, or “hete bliksem” which is a hotchpotch of potatoes, carrots and onions. Pure coincidence that you did that in your shoe the day before!

(You will have to ask your father what speculaaskoekjes are, I could not find that in my dictionary).

I hope this is the sort of story you were looking for.

Met vriendelijke groeten,

Geesjen Doddema, Harkstede

Thanks Geesjen for sharing. I look forward to any other submissions. My family and I love to hear how Doddema’s around the world celebrate their favorite holidays.

Searching for…Kirsten Doddema

Another item I found on Ancestry.com was a reference to a worker named Kirsten Doddema. It appears in the late 1950’s she worked on a few boats going to Venezuela and Aruba. Anybody have any idea whom she is and who she’s related to?

Send me whatever you got! I’d be interested to learn more about her.

Here are some document images that I was able to obtain with the help of Mr Papa and Ancestry.com:

2315 2311

Looking for more information on Elso (Elzo) Doddema

Every once in a while, Ancestry.com has one of those freebie trials that they like to parade around. I took advantage of it this time and was pleasantly surprised to see that they’re were a few Doddema’s listed. What excited me the most was seeing the passenger list with my father’s name on it when he arrived in America! Now that’s cool. Of course, since I don’t have a membership, I can’t save the document but I plan on taking a trip to the Family History Center and using their access to get the records. Aha! Continue reading

Sinterklaas memories – Dievertje Doddema


Like the children in America believe in Santa Claus, I believed in Sinterklaas, also known as Sint Nicolaas or De Goedheiligman. Every year on the second or third Saturday of November Sinterklaas comes with his steamship (the stoomboot) from Spain in the Netherlands. Now I know that steamship never came from Spain, but when I was little, I believed so. A week later he came in our village, every year it was a great celebration.My brother is five years older, so he had to play for years he also believed in Sinterklaas.

Some nights my mother told me to put a shoe in front of the stove, because the servants of Sinterklaas (called: zwarte pieten) would come through the chimney at night and put a present in my shoe. Just like Santa does to put it in a stocking. I always wondered how zwarte piet could manage that, because he had to screw the whole front of the stove of there to get into our living room. One day I asked my mother about that and she opened a small window just in case zwarte piet did not use the chimney. I remember that one night I’ve put my shoe in front of the stove I lied awake, a bit scared, because every minute zwarte piet could come into our living room. My room was next to the living room, so when I wanted to use the bathroom, I had to go through the living room. I was too scared to do that. Somehow I fell asleep and the next morning, very early, I watched if zwarte piet and Sinterklaas had brought something. And yes, there was a big present next to my shoe! When I went to my grandparents (the parents of my mother), my grandmother told me that Sinterklaas had left a present for us. The presents at my grandparents always came with a poem (a ‘Sinterklaasgedicht’) about how we behaved that year. Mostly we got new pajamas and we were always very happy with them.

And then, on the 5th of december, that was the day! Sinterklaas came at our school in the morning and we did sing when Sinterklaas walked into the school. The zwarte pieten always had bags with short bread (pepernoten) and other candy to scatter. And also we got a little present at the school. When I went home in the afternoon I was always very excited about the coming evening, when Sinterklaas would bring a lot of presents. At night, when it became dark, my other grandparents (the parents of my father) came and we waited together, while we were eating a piece of ‘banketletter’ (a typical Sinterklaas-related delicacy) till Sinterklaas and his zwarte pieten would arrive with the presents. Suddenly my father jumped up from the chair and said: I think I heard something! I was too scared to watch at the door. My father first watched and then he called us to tell Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet had left the presents at our back door! And there they were, a basket full of presents. We opened them impatient while our parents and grandparents enjoyed our happy faces. The next day we could play with our new presents, but I always was a bit disappointed that Sinterklaas went home (back to Spain) already, now I had to wait a whole year again for Sinterklaas to arrive again.

I hope you enjoy the story, It was also fun for me to write, it brings back a lot of memories.

Please also read the information with this link, because it also says something about racialization in relation with the ‘zwarte pieten’. It is a misunderstanding that ‘zwarte pieten’ have something to do with racism, it is just a tradition, I hope you understand that:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas