Illustration of some Dutch foods in front of a faded Dutch flag/stripes.

A Journey Through the Flavors of Dutch Cuisine: What to Eat in The Netherlands

Breakfast: Starting the Day the Dutch Way

The day begins in the Netherlands with a delightful array of breads, generously topped with a variety of choices ranging from savory cheeses and cold cuts to sweet peanut butter, jam, honey, or the uniquely Dutch hagelslag - chocolate sprinkles that melt in your mouth, transforming a simple slice of bread into a treat. Accompanied by a boiled egg and yogurt, the breakfast is both nutritious and satisfying. To wash it down, the Dutch prefer a robust cup of coffee, with Albert Heijn’s Perla and Douwe Egbert’s Aroma Rood being local favorites, or opt for tea or milk.

Lunch: A Midday Feast of Simplicity and Taste

Lunch in the Netherlands mirrors breakfast in its simplicity and choice but with an emphasis on heartiness to fuel the afternoon. Sandwiches, laden with slices of Gouda or Edam cheese, are a common sight. A Dutch specialty, the Kroket or Broodje Kroket - a soft bread roll filled with a deep-fried croquette, makes for a deliciously crunchy and creamy treat. For those preferring something lighter, an omelet or Pannenkoeken - the Dutch take on pancakes, serve as delightful options. To accompany, milk, buttermilk (karnemelk), coffee, or tea are preferred.

Dinner: The Culinary Highlight of the Day

Dinner, usually served around 6pm, is the main meal and a time for indulgence in Dutch culinary prowess. The traditional plate often features meat, a vegetable side, and potatoes in various forms. Winter brings the warmth of Erwtensoep, a hearty pea soup, while Stamppot or Hutspot, a mash of potatoes, vegetables, and sometimes meat, tell of the Netherlands’ rich farming history. Bitterballen, deep-fried meatballs, serve as a popular appetizer or snack. Haring, a raw herring, is a daring but beloved choice. The meal is typically accompanied by water, soft drinks, beer, or wine, with coffee or tea to conclude.

Snacks and Desserts: Sweet and Savory Dutch Treats

The Dutch passion for sweets and snacks is evident in their wide array of confections and savory bites. Stroopwafels, thin waffle sandwiches filled with syrup, offer a chewy sweetness that pairs perfectly with coffee. The winter months see the rise of Oliebollen, deep-fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar. Poffertjes, small fluffy pancakes, are a treat loved by all ages. For savory cravings, Haring and croquettes make a comeback, alongside an extensive variety of candy including Drop (licorice) in sweet, salty, and double salty varieties, Wilhelmina Pepermunt, Haagse Hopjes, and Boterballen, each offering a unique taste of Dutch tradition.

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