Russian festival in Amsterdam 2015

Spring Festival hosted at Russian Trade Representation

22 March 2015, Amsterdam – Rossotrudnichestvo organization jointly with Jelena Koezjmina, Member of the Dutch Council for Russian compatriots and Ilona Cherepanova, founder of the ‘Russian Culinair’ community, hosted Lente festival dedicated to welcoming spring. The event was primarily organized for former USSR citizens residing in the Netherlands and took place in the building of the Russian Trade Representation.

Spring equinox celebrated by many nations was the theme of the event. The Slavs used to welcome the spring and baked traditional pastry in the shape of lark birds. Turkic nations celebrate Nowruz – the festival with a thousand years long history, stemming back to zoroastrianism. Even in Holland the “official” arrival of the spring is celebrated on the 21-22 March.

The festival was opened by the officials. On behalf of the Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo Zurab Agirbov welcomed the guests and said how happy he was to see such events happening on a regular basis. He has invited the guests to the planned events in May to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who have fallen in the Netherlands during the Second World War. More details on the upcoming events can be found on the official Facebook page of Rossotrudnichestvo (

The speech was followed by Alexandr Cherevko, Head of the Trade Representation of Russia in the Netherlands. Mr Cherevko also greeted the guests who have gathered to foster traditions and friendship. Alexandr Chervko noted that the Netherlands remain a major economic partner of Russia. To promote business relations between the two countries the Trade Representation, being a part of the Russian Embassy, hosts regular events. The goal of such events is to provide consulting assistance to the entrepreneurs who look for entering the new markets and search for business partners.

After the opening ceremony the guests enjoyed buffet snacks and socialized.  Live guitar concert by musician Vera Borisovskaya continued the festival.

The concert was followed by a lecture of Ilona Cherepanova, Russian Culinair, and the representative of the catering the Silk Road Kitchen. Ilona told the audience about traditions of the pagan Slavs and Central Asian cultures when celebrating the spring equinox. The chef of Silk Road Kitchen, catering specializing in Uzbek delicacies, said that in the East hospitality starts with the rich welcoming table.

Then the audience voted for the best pastry – traditional lark cakes and a pie with poppyseed stuffing, which was made by the little guests.

To crown the Festival the guests were welcomed to the table filled with exquisite dishes typical of Russia and Central Asia. Salads such as Olivier, Dressed Herring, pilaf rice and various sweet and savoury pastry were the highlights loved by everyone.

The guests enjoyed the delicious meals and each other’s company with the karaoke background. was one of the sponsors of the event.

Organizers of the event:

Jelena Koezjmina, Member of the Dutch Council for Russian compatriots, RUS in NL  Facebook group administrator  – event organizer and spiritual leader of the Lente Festival

Ilona Cherepanova, Russisan Culinair – organizer

You can order Uzbek meals, sweets and pastry from the company Silk Road Kitchen.

Joing on Facebook and check out our recipes!


Russian maslenitsa Groningen

Maslenitsa Festival held in Groningen

Russian maslenitsa Groningen
alt=”Russian maslenitsa Groningen” width=”150″ height=”150″ />
On 19 February 2015 the Centre for Russian studies organized an event “Maslenitsa”. The guests had an opportunity to listen to the lecture “Maslenitsa – het Slavische Nieuwjaarfeest” (Maslenitsa – the Slavic New Year Festival) by the chef Ilona Cherepanova and try traditional pancakes with various dips and jams.

Maslenitsa is a huge event in many Slavic countries. The week filled with various events and traditions takes place before the Lent fasting. Many fun activities and traditional elements (for example, pancakes, winter games and Lady Maslenitsa dummy) are an integral part of this week. The bright scene of Maslentisa is featured in the movie “The Barber of Siberia”.

Ilona Cherepanova, the chef for Russische Culinair, told the guests a detailed story about Maslenitsa week, with interesting facts and the week’s traditional fun schedule. Ilona’s lecture also touched upon the way Masenitsa is represented in art and culture, movies and paintings.[/ezcol_2third_end]

The guests, who totaled around 30 people – the Dutch nationals and former USSR expats, could enjoy homemade pancakes with tea to have the real taste of Maslenitsa.  Alongside pancakes there were other traditional Russian tea-time treats, provided by the Russian shop Vjatka in Groningen, for example, zefir and gingerbread.

The organizers were helping to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for the guests.

Organizers and sponsors

Centre for Russian studies is open on the basis of the University of Groningen since 29 June 2010. The Centre’s main focus is on the study of Russia and in particular on the study of Russian-Dutch relations.

Ilona Cherepanova, chef for the Russische Culinar, specializes in culinary master-classes. and Russische specialiteiten Vjatka acted as sponsors of the event.

Photograps – credit of Lyuda Stinissen

De Haagse Hogeschool Den Haag

Students of De Haagse Hogeschool organize an event From Russia with love

The Hague, 19 January 2015 –

The 1st year students of European studies of The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Dutch: De Haagse Hogeschool) organized an event “From Russia with love” with the primary focus on Russian media. The event was held in one of the auditoriums of the University and reached the audience of about 50 people, mainly students and also teachers and several entrepreneurs. The topic was presented through business, cultural and political dimensions.

The event was opened by the masters of the ceremony Ruben Monster and Guna Alvika who then gave the floor to the first presenter, Mr. Arjan Heijl of Next Drive company. The software development company has partnership with the Russian company in the city of Tomsk, Siberia, Russia. During a live Skype call between Mr. Heijl and his colleague Mr. Bubnov in Tomsk, the two businessmen told the audience about their successful cooperation. Both Mr. Heijl and Mr. Bubnov said that they do not seem to have intercultural challenges that would obstruct their business objectives – there are not so many cultural differences, according to Mr. Bubnov, especially given a lot of knowledge and expertise in the field of IT that both sides share.

Mr. Bubnov also told a little bit about Tomsk, small town in Russian dimensions (“just” 500 000 people).  This place has strong technical universities and a large number of students (around 15 000). A lot of IT resources and special economic benefits that Tomsk receives being in “Special Economic Zone” are some of the reasons that IT related start-ups blossom in Tomsk.

Mr. Heijl and Mr. Bubnov mentioned that current economic sanctions recently imposed by Russia did not affect their businesses and they both hope that currency fluctuations will not have a negative side effect in the long term future.

This presentation was followed by several workshops where the participants could brush up or extend their knowledge of Russian literature, learn Russian ABC, test their knowledge on Russian media and even learn how to dance Kalinka dance. During the break the guests could enjoy a small buffet with such snacks as the Russian Olivier salad and gingerbread.

The event was then followed by a presentation by Professor Does who told the audience about Russian media and how the degree of governmental censorship has been changing through the times, from the wind of change during M. Gorbachev’s regime up to the present days. Mr. Does pointed out that the most popular media medium in Russia nowadays is television, with radio and newspapers loosing their position and audience. He spoke about the Russian Internet as a source of information for those who have access to the world web and mentioned the new law in Russia that urges bloggers with audience more than 5000 people register themselves as a media agency, perhaps as an attempt to tackle oppositional moods that are present in the blogs. This law presents the bloggers with the dilemma “the more readers the better?” or, vice versa, “the less is more”.

The biggest country in the world has 3 state owned channels and Mr. Does suggested to those interested in Russian governmental viewpoint on events have a look on state owned channel Russia Today, which is basically the voice of Kremlin. He then gave several useful links to the Russian online media who give facts without colouring information, for example Kommersant, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and popular in Moscow oppositional Novaya Gazeta. He also showed links to Komsomolskya Pravda (having compared it with the Dutch media “De Telegraaf”) and AiF – according to Mr. Does the latter sources give an insight into the society and interests of Russia.

It has also been mentioned during Mr Does presentation that the sad reality of current times is a media war between Russian and western news channels, where both sides may use manipulation of facts to colour the events. Given the current media propaganda every source of information needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and filtered with the critical thinking and  the variety of media sources would be only beneficial for the Russian as well as western readers. hopes that current political situation is only temporarily and will soon be over.


The Hague University of Applied Sciences (Dutch: De Haagse Hogeschool) is a university of applied sciences with its campuses located in and around The Hague, the Netherlands. The city is the Dutch seat of government and home to many major international legal, security and peace institutions.  The university was founded in 1987 and is made up of 14 academies and currently teaches around 23,400 students. Degrees fall into six main fields of interest including technology, innovation and society, public administration, law and security, management and organization, ICT and media, health and sport, economy and finance and welfare and education. was one of the sponsors of the event “From Russia with love” organized by the students of the Hague University of Applied Sciences.


Russian Food Festival in Amsterdam

Russian Food Festival in Amsterdam

Russian Food Festival held 13-15 September 2013 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In 2013, in both Russia and the Netherlands many cultural and festive events were held to celebrate 400 years of friendly mutual relations between Russia and the Netherlands.

On 13-15 September 2013, Amsterdam has seen a Russian Regional Food Festival held in the framework of the Russia-Netherlands Bilateral Year. This food event took place at Museumplein near which the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum are located. The visitors had an opportunity to try and purchase healthy, exotic and tasty products and get themselves better acquainted with the vast geography of Russia. The introduced foods were from the regions of Russia, for example cured meat and venison jerky from the Nenets autonomous area, cold-water fish from Yakutia, chack-chack honey soaked tart from Tatarstan, smoked guineafowl from Kaluga region, sun kissed fruit from Krasnodar and delicious sea buckthorn jams from the Altai Krai. These food recipes can also be found here on this site.

The guests of the festival were entertained by several cultural and musical show, including the dance performances by the troupe of folklore music from the Republic of Tatarstan.


Vladimir Putin: National cuisine enterprises can compete with McDonald’s

Putin Russian food to beat McDonald's

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation proposes developing “national fast food” enterprises in the regions and believes that national cuisine can compete with McDonald’s.

“We have wonderful cuisine”, Putin says and notes that it is necessary to establish competitive and high quality industrial production of national food products. At the meeting of Board of Legislators, the president noted that regional and municipal authorities need to support small and medium businesses producing “national fast food” by creating favourable conditions for such enterprises.

 The president of Russia named quite a few foods he finds delicious and believes in their potential on the market – Ossetian pies, Tatar sweet cake “chak-chak”, belyash pirozhki from the Volga region etc. He concludes “Such catering should provide us with food that looks home-made but is cooked in compliance with industrial production principles.”

It should be noted that McDonald’s has been doing business in Russia for almost a quarter of a century and received more than a warm welcome on its opening day. People were waiting patiently in long queues for a “happy meal” and it was not only about the food, but about the charm of the new and the foreign. Long past are the days of going to McDonald’s  for a romantic date, but this fast food giant is always vibrant, especially during lunch hours

A number of other world-known fast food enterprises are holding strong positions on the Russian market – KFC, Burger King, Sbarro etc. However, their local equivalents are starting to spur – “Teremok Russian bliny” and “Kroshka Kartoshka”, but their networks are limited by Moscow and a few major cities.

Other national foods are produced by small businesses or sold by individual entrepreneurs – shaorma wraps – doner kebabs in Armenian style – are very popular. Here and there old grannies are selling pirozhki – cakes with fillings made of cabbage, potatoes or jam. Russian Koreans are selling “Korean style carrot” salad – a local equivalent of khimchi, – as well as crunchy pickled sea weed. The iconic salad “herring under fur coat”  was picked up by some industrial producers and now you can find this salad in the shops.

The country has quite abruptly moved from command economy into the market economy and has witnessed with an open mouth the triumph of foreign catering sharks. After all these overwhelming changes and head-over-heels excitement about burgers and chips, people start longing for home-style foods.

Russian cuisine is indeed very rich and diverse, and incorporates culinary heritage of many of its nationalities. Time will show if mass-scale production of such foods can locally beat major fast food companies, but who knows – taste and cultural value associated with national foods are good assets.

Based on materials of RIA Novosti (РИА Новости)



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