Last week, I wrote the first of a series of posts on childhood here in the Netherlands. I mentioned a few of my favorite kid-friendly places to go, and I am always on the lookout for more. My hope is to add one or two posts a month on this topic.
The Netherlands is a small country, but there is never a shortage of really interesting things to see and do (with or without kids!) We have the Museumkaart, which I highly recommend for anyone- especially for those trying to keep their families busy during the many school holidays. €65 for adults, and €33 for kids gets you a full year of access to over 400 museums all over the country. With this, there is really no reason to ever claim you’re bored while living here. Not to mention of course, the plethora of free natural beauty that surrounds you… but I digress.
Despite all of these amazing things, we were a little bit sad to say goodbye to some of our favorite American pastimes when we moved. To be fair, we moved from Chicago, which I think many would argue is one of the top sports cities in the world. Cubs, Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks… you know, a bunch of world famous winners and losers (but very lovable losers, of course).
I think Joey was also a little sad thinking that Joe might grow up without the opportunity to play on a little league team as well. It was a big part of his own childhood, and maybe one of the biggest reasons he was excited to have a boy?! But seriously, girls are allowed on most little league teams now, right? If not, add it to the list of reasons we left America.
Well, being the researcher that I am, I googled “baseball in the Netherlands” before we moved. I was surprised when something called “Honkbal” popped up as a result. I thought it might be some kind of goose competition? With a little more clicking around, I found that honkbal literally translates to baseball- and hooray!- it’s somewhat popular. Not like, Ajax Football popular, but still, it exist! We were even more pleased to find that our new home city, Haarlem, has a pretty active honkbal scene. It even hosts an international Honkbal Week, every other year at a stadium just blocks from our home. Pim Mulier Stadium isn’t quite Wrigley Field, but it’s comforting to still see stadium lights from our living room windows during baseball season.
It took some time to get around to it, but the Joe’s finally went to their first honkbal game last weekend. They were accompanied by our very kind neighbor, who also happens to be an enthusiastic honkbal fan and coach. If you’re wondering, I stayed home enjoying some wine while cleaning out the shed (cause that qualifies as “fun” in your 30s).
Believe it or not, there are actually a few different honkbal leagues and teams to choose from, even right here in Haarlem. I really have no clue as to the differences, and I won’t pretend I do. In this case, the Joe’s saw the Kinheim team play. They actually managed to stay the entire game, and even though Haarlem lost (Cubs fans aren’t known to bring good luck), fun was had by all.
If you’re interested in going to a game yourself, particularly if you’re an American looking to fill the baseball void, check it out! Important things to know:
- What/Where: Kinheim Honkbal, Pim Mulier Stadium Jaap Edenlaan 6, 2024 BW Haarlem
- How much will it cost? Free entrance! Really, it’s €0 to see a game.
- Is there food? Will my kid(s) eat it? Yes! There is an inexpensive cafe with snacks, ice cream, and beer. Also, unlike MLB parks, you can BYO everything. So really, it can be a €0 day out with the family.
- What can kids do? Maybe your kid will watch the game? Joe watched a few innings. Then he ate ice cream, explored the entire stadium, played FREE foosball in the cafe, and even got to go out on the field and in the dugout after the game.
- What can parents do? Watch the game! Drink beer! Enjoy spending €0!
So there you have it! The first of my “Things to do with your kid” recommendations. It seemed only right that my first post would be something as American as honkbal… I mean baseball. If you do decide to go, let me know what you think! Actually, let me know before you go and I’ll go with you. It’s probably better than staying at home to clean out my shed.