Traditional foods in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, fresh fish products such as herring, eel, cabbage, halibut, and oysters are considered everyday dishes. They are boiled, salted, canned, and served most often with boiled potatoes. The most popular fish is herring.

In almost all cafes and restaurants in Holland you can find menus in three languages: English (for tourists), Dutch and Flemish.

Dutch herring

The Dutch most often eat herring “on the go”: as a sandwich or by swallowing it “alive. Namely, they lift it above their heads and, with their heads up, take a bite – the traditional Dutch way.

The traditional Amsterdam way is to eat herring cut up on a paper plate with a fine crumble of onion and chopped pickle. All this pleasure is eaten with a double toothpick.

Finally, herring in a soft white bun, a kind of fish hot dog, is also common. It is also sometimes served with onions, but more often just bread and herring. Eating herring, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty. All tents, painted in the traditional colors of the Dutch flag, where herring is sold, are equipped with a hand wash with soap, or give each visitor a wet wipe.


Almost the entire country eats snacks for breakfast and lunch – all kinds of sandwiches and sandwiches of all sizes and flavors.
Another common snack is uitsmijter (a kind of sandwich). It’s simple to prepare – a slice of bread is covered with a slice of ham, then cheese, and glazed on top.
Finding sandwiches on the street is not difficult: it is more likely to be difficult to find a hot meal before 5 p.m., when restaurants open their kitchens, than a slice or two of bread with ham.

Despite the fact that the proud title of potato lovers are Belarusians, it seems that Holland breaks all records in eating this root crop per capita.
In almost every city you can easily find a stall selling French Fries – French fries in a paper bag filled with ketchup or mayonnaise and sometimes even with onions – which are incredibly popular with the local population.
Moreover, French fries are very likely to accompany you when you order a hot meal – the side dish is found here in 99% of 100.

Holland is also famous for its high-quality cheeses. Their assortment is so great that we will talk only about the world-famous and popular cheeses: Edam, Dutch, and Leiden.
It is definitely worth trying sheep or goat cheese, as well as visiting one of the cheese factories of the country.
Here you can taste a variety of cheeses (with pesto, pepperoni, milk, diet, and so on) with traditional mustard. And, of course, buy a head or two.
The price is not high – for a quality cheese weighing about 0,5-1 km, you will not be asked for more than 8-12 EUR.

Hot Dishes

The national dish of Dutch cuisine is hootspot (or “hot pot”, “hot pot”) – slices of boiled or braised beef served on a plate with a side dish of mashed vegetables made from boiled carrots, onions and potatoes. This vegetable puree, stampot, is the country’s second most popular traditional dish. The most common version of the stamppot is made of cabbage with smoked sausage (boerenkool met rookworst) or meat balls (something like our cutlet).

Another popular dish is gutzpot – a Dutch meat stew with stewed meat, boiled potatoes, carrots and onions.


Coffee and tea (traditional colonial goods from the Indies) are very popular. “Coffee time” (koffietijd) is between 10 and 11 am or 7 and 8 pm. Every café is sure to serve one small cookie or muffin with every cup of coffee. Coffee with milk is called “wrong coffee” (koffie verkeerd), but is very popular. Hot chocolate, milk with anise, and warm lemonade (quast) are also worth trying.

Beer is very common in the Netherlands, especially lager: Heineken, Amstel, Grolsch. Beer is usually served in very small glasses (~0.2) to drink before it gets hot and loses its amazing taste. The more serious drinkers take a quick swig of beer and then wash it down with gin, calling the mixture “kopstoot” (“head breaker”).

“Jenever is the most popular strong drink in Holland, an ancestor of English gin, invented by a Dutch doctor. Jenever can be “oud” (old and pleasant to the taste) or “jong” (young and pungent), and sometimes with a lemon or blackberry flavor.

Also known is the local liqueur Advocaat – a kind of liquid cream made of whipped eggs and cognac. It is no less delicious eaten with ice cream.

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