Food & Drink

Dutch cuisine varies greatly from region to region. The southern regions of the Netherlands for example share dishes with Flanders and vice versa. Dutch food is traditionally characterised by the high consumption of vegetables when compared to the consumption of meat. Dairy products are also eaten to great extent, Dutch cheeses are world renowned with famous cheeses such as Gouda, Edam and Leiden. Dutch pastry is extremely rich and is eaten in great quantities. A truly huge amount of different pies and cakes can be found, most notably in the southern provinces.


The Dutch are famous for their dairy products and especially for their (cow milk) cheeses. The vast majority of Dutch cheeses are semi-hard or hard cheeses. Famous Dutch cheeses include Goudse, Edammer, Leidse cheeses. A typically Dutch way of making cheese is the blending in of herbs or spices during the first stages of the production process. Famous examples are cheeses with cloves (usually the Frisian nagelkaas), cumin and caraway (most famously Leyden cheese), or nettle.


Dutch bread tends to be very airy, as it is made from yeast dough. From the 1970s onward, Dutch bread became predominantly whole grain, with often additional seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds mixed with the dough for taste. Rye bread is one of the few dense breads of the Netherlands. A Frisian luxury version of white bread is sugarbread, white bread with large lumps of sugar mixed with the dough.

Apart from cheese, the Dutch typically add meat products (for example, bloedworst, dried sausage and uierboord, made from cow udders) or sweets (such as hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), molasses, and peanut butter) on their bread.


Dinner, traditionally served early by European standards, starts at about 6 o'clock in the evening. The classical Dutch dinner consists of one simple course: traditionally potatoes, with vegetables and meat and gravy, or a stew wherein potatoes and vegetables have been mixed. If there is an entrée, it is usually a soup. The final course is a sweet dessert.

Typical Dishes

Filled pancakes and green herring are popular Dutch daytime snacks. More substantial dishes include:

  • balkenbrij (a type of liverwurst and meatloaf; the gravy in which the meat is produced is also eaten)
  • blinde vink (minced meat wrapped in bacon)
  • boerenkoolstamppot (kale mixed with potatoes, served with gravy and mustard)
  • erwtensoep (thick pea soup served with smoked sausage, bacon, pig's knuckle and bread)
  • hete bliksem (boiled potatoes and green apples, served with "stroop" (syrup) or tossed with diced speck)
  • hutspot (potatoes, carrots and onions) served with klapstuk (stewed lean beef)
  • rockworst (kale and potatoes served with sausage)
  • stamppot rauwe andijvie (raw endive mashed through hot potatoes, served with diced fried speck)
  • zuurkoolstamppot (sauerkraut mashed with potatoes, served with fried bacon or a sausage. Sometimes curry powder or slices of pineapple are used to give a stamppot an exotic touch)


Hot Drinks

The Dutch drink coffee and tea throughout the day, often served with one simple biscuit. Café au lait is also often drunk, and is known as koffie verkeerd (coffee-the-wrong-way-around). Other hot drinks include Kwast (warm water with the juice of a lemon), anijsmelk (hot milk with anise) and hot chocolate.

Alcoholic Drinks

Dutch beer is excellent, the local spirit is jenever, a Dutch gin, taken straight or with cola or vermouth. Other liquors include:

  • advocaat
  • boerenjongens (raisin brandy)
  • boerenmeisjes (apricot brandy)
  • brandewijn (brandy)
  • kandeel (made from white wine)
  • kraamanijs (a liquor made from anise)
  • oranjebitter (a type of orange brandy, which is served on festivities surrounding the royal family)