Okay, there are few rules how to deal with Dutch birthdays.

1.If invited to a Dutch birthday party, do not expect wild dancing to dawn. It usually means sitting in a big circle of chairs, drinking coffee and eating a piece of cake. The wine might come out later. As guests arrive, they shake hands with everyone sitting down. If there is a shortage of chairs, the circle will be expanded. On no account should you attempt to form smaller groups.

2. If it is your birthday, you are expected to take in cake for your entire department. Your colleagues will not give you presents. They will all shake your hand or kiss you and have a polite chat. If you are not working, you will be expected to have the neighbours and your partner's family round for coffee and cake. Don't forget to put the chairs in a nice ring.

3. If it is your partner or child's birthday, you must congratulate everyone else in the family. This might sound odd. It goes like this. It is your husband's birthday. You invite his mother for coffee and cake. She says to you "Congratulations on Fred's birthday", you say to her: "Congratulations on your son's birthday". You congratulate Fred's sister on her brother's birthday and so on. Seriously. You do.

My birthday falls in the middle of the summer holidays so I never have to celebrate it here, thank god.