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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7 thoughts on “Kinderpostzegels”
In Canada it is normal for kids to go door to door for fundraising. They are learning to support a cause and the value of money. they also learn that the things they take part in are not free and that hey need to do alittle work to help. I had to do it for the sports I took part in. What bothers me here is when adults do it! I guess it is just what you are used to.
I HATE being bothered at home here. There’s always someone buzzing the doorbell about something and I just never pick up anymore unless I am expecting a package (and even then it’s a maybe). It’s harassment, fair and square. People should not be bothered in their homes unless you invite people to contact you that way (and let’s be honest, no one is ever going to do that!) And if you work at home? Disruptions are doubly rude and not welcome. I fully agree with you on this.
No, I say “just suffer in silence”. No one likes to be bothered at home – but those kids didn’t ask to have to do this either. And ultimately it’s a tradition and for a good cause.
Make your own sticker saying you’re not interested. But I really don’t understand the fuss!! I think it is great that kids do this. It teaches them other people are not as fortunate as they might be and it teaches them to be compassionate and help others in need. I think it’s a great initiative and I used to sell them too as a kid.
It’s the “trick-or-treat”-‘thing’ that worries me here. Luckily we seem to have run out of little children here in this street. I was never prepared for it. Perhaps I’ve written too soon. Perhaps there’s be kids ringing the doorbell again. I had volunteered to collect for the Heart Foundation here. And was allocated simply most of my street. Felt I ought to do something and that I might actually get to find out what the people in this street are like. I’ve lived here off and on since 1972. But it’s really not in my nature to go and disturb people. Even for such good causes.
And I think the point is, its once a year. I can spend 2 minutes of my valuable year talking to the kids and supporting them. It’s not as if its door to door sales people and it teaches the kids how to communicate and deal with selling stuff. And my 11 year old is one of those kids knocking on your door. I’m proud of him.