This week in The Netherlands, you’re likely to have children knocking on your door. Why? It’s part of the kinderpostzegels initiative. I don’t like it and I’m trying with this post to analyse why. I’ve just turned some children away, and feel bad, but really don’t like being bothered at home. I sound like a grumpy old lady!
In general, I would consider myself very community-minded. I have always donated to a number of charities and contributed countless hours of time and expertise to support not for profits, and am quite sure I will continue to do so for life.
So why do I have an issue with this? My home is my haven. I feel that I am already bombarded for countless causes and don’t want to be bothered at home. Even as I type, the doorbell is ringing a second time. I’m ignoring it. I feel terrible – but a little angry at the same time. I just don’t believe in children going door to door selling anything. Sure, it’s a good cause and as I’ve just discovered in my research – it’s a tradition going back to 1924 in The Netherlands! It’s endorsed by the royal family and it supports a number of children’s charities and projects in The Netherlands and overseas. There is plenty of information on the Kinderpostzegels website in Dutch, English, French and Spanish.
The children selling the stamps are from grades 7 & 8, so the around the ages of 12-13 I think. The website gives a number of safety tips for the children, including to sell in pairs, but though my children are only 4 & 6 years old now, I’m not sure I would let them do this when they are at that age. I have another few years to think about it and will perhaps feel differently then.
Similar traditions happen in Australia with Girl Guide biscuits and I remember fundraising Lamington Drives when I was at school. From memory though, we only sold to friends and family and didn’t go door-knocking. Maybe as I grew up in an isolated country area!
Actually, I remember ads from my youth in Australia about a charity annual door knock event using this song – I think it was the Red Cross Appeal, any other Australians remember?
Overall, I completely understand that many charities and projects need to fundraise. I gladly support those I can, when I can. For some reason though, having children out door-knocking just doesn’t sit right with me. I’m ignoring the third bell ring now. Now they are banging on my door. And another just peeked in my window waving his Kinderpostzegels packet. I’ve shaken my head no. Am I totally mean and unreasonable? How do you feel about it? Have you bought any if you’re in The Netherlands? Is it your kids doing the knocking?
I have heard if you DO give in and buy some, you get a sticker to put on the door to warn off the other kids, why does this make me think of a dog marking its territory? Can I get a sticker WITHOUT buying something I wonder?
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