Dutch Children's Games

by Heather Meehan ; Updated September 22, 2017

Long before the advent of the Internet age, Dutch kids relied upon traditional games for entertainment. Long-established games dating back centuries are still popular with Dutch kids of all ages. Combining simple strategy with wit is what makes Dutch children’s games so timeless.

Hul Gul

For this game, each player has 10 buttons. The first player puts a certain number of buttons in his hands and holds his hand out to the player sitting to his right. That player says “Hul Gul?” or “What’s in your hand?” Then the second player must correctly guess how many buttons are in the first player’s hand. If the second player guesses too high, he will have to give the difference of his guess (in buttons) to the first player. If he guesses too low, he will have to give half of his buttons to the first player. If the second player guesses the correct number of buttons, he gets all of the buttons in the first player’s hand. The game proceeds until one player is out of buttons. Then the players count their buttons and the player with the most wins the game. Beans or other small objects can be substituted in the place of buttons.

Sjoelbak

A popular Dutch shuffleboard game, Sjoelbak is one of the most beloved games for kids and adults alike in the Netherlands. It requires a 6 ½-foot wooden shuffleboard table and wooden disks. Each player has three chances to get four wooden disks to pass four marked arches that are numbered from 1 to 4. The player with the highest number of points wins the game.

Marbles

Round shiny marbles have captured the imaginations of Dutch children for centuries. The game of shooting marbles dates back to the Romans and is still popular in the Netherlands. Dutch children have even gone as far as giving specific marbles special names. For example, a large marble is called a “giant giant bonk.” There are many varieties of marble games, however they all require players to use their marbles to “shoot” competitors' marbles out of a large circular arena marked on the ground. The last player with untouched marbles wins the game.