Dutch cuisine (Dutch: Nederlandse keuken) is formed from the cooking traditions and practices of the Netherlands. The country's cuisine is shaped by its location in the fertile North Sea river delta of the European Plain, giving rise to fishing, farming (for crops, dairy and meat) and overseas trade. The Burgundian-Habsburg court enriched the cuisine of the Dutch elite in the 15th and 16th century, so did the colonial spice trade in the 17th century.
In the 17th and 18th century, Dutch cuisine played a pivotal role in the spread of coffee in the world as the Netherlands pioneered in establishing gardens for coffee cultivation in their colonies and popularising the concept of coffeehouses for the masses. And the development of the Dutch process chocolate in 1828, which was instrumental in the transformation of chocolate to its solid form (which was up till then drunk as a liquid), started the modern era of chocolate.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Dutch food became designed to be economical and filling rather than pleasing, which was the result of the rise of housekeeping schools, where girls learned to cook in such manner. Also, Dutch food production focussed increasingly on efficiency, which became so successful, that despite its size, the small country became the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products by value behind the United States. Due to this focus on efficiency, the Dutch obtained not only a reputation that they were feeding the world, but also that their cuisine had a bland taste.
Due to the availability of water and flat grass land, The Dutch diet contains many dairy products such as cheese, and is relatively high in carbohydrates and fat. During the 20th century, Dutch cuisine and diet changed significantly. Initially influenced by the eating culture of its colonies (particularly the Dutch East Indies), and later by globalization, it became cosmopolitan. Most international cuisines are represented in the major cities and there is a renewed interest in pleasing tastes.
Little evidence is available about food and drink in the late medieval Low Countries. In the consumption of pottage, the Low Countries were not very different from other Western European countries during the Middle Ages. Half-liquid pottage consisted of milk, beer, water, root vegetable and peas or grain, sometimes enriched with a piece of meat. The content changed throughout the seasons.
Beer flavoured with gruit was produced until the 14th century at the monasteries. Gruit was replaced with hop, a tradition introduced from the German city of Bremen, and this started off a beer culture and the Low Counties as a major exporter of beer. Beer was in medieval times the common drink as water was of poor quality, and milk—coming from the low-lying grasslands of Holland and Friesland—was mainly used for the production of butter and cheese. Dutch butter and cheese became famous products at an early stage and continued to be so for centuries.
The sea and the rivers provided an abundance of fish. The process of gibbing was invented by Willem Beukelszoon, a 14th-century Zealand fisherman. The invention created an export industry for salt herring (Dutch: maatjesharing) that was monopolized by the Dutch. They began to build ships and eventually moved from trading in herring to colonizing and the Dutch Lowlands (the Netherlands as a country did not exist until 1581), ultimately leading to the Dutch becoming a seafaring power.
Herring is still very important to the Dutch who celebrate Vlaggetjesdag (Flag Day) each spring, as a tradition that dates back to the 14th century when fishermen went out to sea in their small boats to capture the annual catch (Hollandse Nieuwe), and to preserve and export their catch abroad.
Gardening was initially practiced by monasteries, but castles and country houses began also to develop gardens with herbs and vegetables and hunting grounds. The famous tourist attraction and flower park Keukenhof (literally kitchen garden) is an example of a former 15th-century hunting ground and herbs garden for Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut's castle kitchen. Orchards for pears and apples connected to castles were later used for export and set off a Dutch horticulture tradition that remains to this day.
During the 15th century haute cuisine began to emerge, largely limited to the aristocracy. Cookery books from this period are aimed at the upper class. The first Dutch-language cook book printed in Brussels is called Een notabel boecxken van cokeryen (A notable book of cookery) from ca. 1510. It offers medieval recipes for festivities, such as sauces, game, jellies, fish, meat, pies, eggs, dairy products, candied quinces and ginger and contains one of the oldest known recipes for appeltaerten, apple pie. The recipes come from various sources, 61 of them are translations of the French recipe book Le Viandier.
Historically, Dutch cuisine was closely related to northern French cuisine, since the two countries have nearby borders and the Low Countries and Northern France have been historically ruled by the Dukes of Burgundy. This is still visible in traditional Dutch restaurants and the Southern regional cuisine, that is still colloquially referred to as Bourgondisch.
As the Dutch Republic entered its Golden Age in the 17th century, dishes of this kind became available to the wealthy middle class as well, often consisting of a rich variety of fruits, cheeses, meat, wine, and nuts. The Dutch Empire enabled spices, sugar, and exotic fruits to be imported to the country. The cookbook De Verstandige Kok (or The Reasonable Chef) was published in 1667, which shows the great interest the elite had in what was on the plates.
The Dutch East India Company was the first to import coffee on a large scale to Europe and popularised the concept of coffee houses. The Dutch later grew the crop in Java and Ceylon. The first exports of Indonesian coffee from Java to the Netherlands occurred in 1711. By the late 17th century, tea and coffee consumption were increasing and becoming part of everyday life. Tea was served with sweets, candy or marzipan and cookies. The availability of relatively cheaper spices resulted in a tradition of spiced cookies called speculaas, the exact recipes of which were kept secret by bakers.
Vegetables, meat, poultry and salted, smoked or fresh fish and eggs were prepared in the Dutch kitchens of the time. The meal started with green salads and cold or warm cooked vegetables with dressing, vegetable dishes with butter, herbs or edible flowers and continued with numerous fish and meat dishes.
Exotic ingredients such as dates, rice, cinnamon, ginger and saffron were used. Savoury tarts and pastries followed. The meal ended with jellies, cheese, nuts and sweet pastries, washed down with hippocras, a sweet spiced wine. Of course, even in the Golden Age, not everyone could afford such luxuries and the everyday meal of the ordinary Dutchman was still a humble affair of grain or legume pottage served with rye.
Kitchen scene from 1644, with swan pie, game, fish and apples, by David Teniers the Younger
Mince pie and Lemon by Pieter Claesz, 1625
Clara Peeters (1594–1657) Still Life with Crab, Shrimps and Lobster
Clara Peeters (1594–1657) Table with Orange, Olives and Pie
Still-Life with fruit, nuts and cheese by Floris Claeszoon van Dyck
In the late 18th century the potato was introduced from South America and became a staple food by 1800. In the early 19th century, while the rich could eat what they desired, the working population ate bread (rye bread in some areas) and potatoes (often eaten at every meal of the day), pancakes in some areas, occasionally fish (herring) and other seafood, fruit and vegetables, but usually little meat. Throughout the 19th century working class people suffered from some form of malnutrition.
During the 19th century, the poor people drank little else but water (of poor quality), sometimes watery coffee (or chicory) or tea. In some areas hot chocolate was consumed, but the most popular drinks (beside water) were beer and jenever. For most of the century beer was drunk in the southern part, where Catholicism dominated, and in Catholic enclaves in the other areas. Jenever consumption early in the 19th century was twice that of the equivalent consumption of distilled spirits in neighbouring countries.
The modest and plain look of what is nowadays considered the traditional Dutch cuisine, appears to be the result of a fairly recent development. In the twentieth century, the new availability of mass education meant that a great number of girls could be sent to a new school type, the Huishoudschool (housekeeping school), where young women were trained to become housewives and where lessons in cooking cheap and simple meals were a major part of the curriculum, often based on more traditional Dutch dishes, and leading to increased uniformity in the Dutch diet. Values taught in that school system included frugality, proper table manners, and healthy eating.
Dutch agriculture roughly consists of five sectors: tillage-based, greenhouse-based, fruit agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery.
Many food origins can be traced back to one of the three general regional forms of Dutch cuisine. Some agricultural products and foodstuffs from these regions are protected by EU law as Protected designation of origin, like jenever, Noord-Hollandse Gouda, and kanterkaas (cumin cheese and clove cheese), Traditional speciality guaranteed, like boerenkaas (farmhouse cheese) and Hollandse nieuwe (soused herring), and the less strict variant of Protected geographical indication, like Edam Holland and Limburgse vlaai.
The regions in the north and east of the Netherlands, roughly the provinces of Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland north of the great rivers make up north eastern Dutch cuisine.
The region is the least populated area of the Netherlands. The late (18th century) introduction of large scale agriculture means that the cuisine is generally known for its many kinds of meats. The relative lack of farms allowed for an abundance of game and husbandry, though dishes near the coastal regions of Friesland, Groningen and the parts of Overijssel bordering the IJsselmeer also include a large amount of fish.
The various dried sausages, belonging to the metworst-family of Dutch sausages, are found throughout the region and are highly prized for their often very strong taste. Most towns and various villages have their own variety of this sausage. The region also produces the traditional smoked sausages, of which (Gelderse) rookworst is the most renowned. These sausages traditionally have been smoked over wood chips, and are served after they have been boiled in water. The sausage contains a lot of fat and is very juicy. The large sausage are often eaten alongside stamppot or zuurkool (sauerkraut). Cut in half they are sometimes eaten as a street food. In Gelderland (in and around the Veluwe) and Overijssel (in Salland) kruudmoes is a traditional food in which rookworst is processed.
The provinces are also home to many kinds of pastries, cookies and (rye) breads. Each of the provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel and Groningen has a long-standing rye bread tradition, but rye bread from Friesland (a kind of Pumpernickel) became well known because of its taste. Notable characteristics of Frisian rye bread is its long baking time (up to 20 hours), resulting in a sweet taste and a deep dark color. In contrast to southern Dutch cuisine, which tends to be soft and moist, the northeastern rye bread and pastries generally are of a hard texture, and the pasties are heavily spiced with ginger or succade or contain small bits of meat. Examples of these that are considered typical for the region are Kruidkoek (such as Groninger koek), Frisian Suikerbrood (with chunks of sugar), Fryske dúmkes (cookies with anais, ginger, and hazelnuts) and spekdik (small pancakes with metworst and bacon).
In terms of alcoholic beverages, the region is renowned for its many bitters (such as Beerenburg) and other high-proof liquors rather than beer, which is, apart from Jenever, typical for the rest of the country.
As a coastal region, Friesland is home to low-lying grasslands, and thus has a cheese production in common with the Western cuisine. Friese Nagelkaas (Friesian Clove cheese) is a notable example, and the variant made with skimmed milk known as kanterkaas, is a protected designation of origin.
The provinces of North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and the Gelderlandic region of Betuwe are the parts of the Netherlands which make up the region in which western Dutch cuisine is found.
Due to the abundance of surface water and grassland, necessary to sustain dairy cattle, the area is known for its many dairy products, which for centuries includes prominent Dutch cheeses such as Gouda, Leyden (spiced cheese with cumin) and Edam (traditionally in small spheres), as well as relatively new trademarked cheese brands such as Leerdammer, and Beemster. Zeeland and South Holland produce a lot of butter, which contains a larger amount of milkfat than most other European butter varieties. A by-product of the butter-making process, buttermilk (karnemelk), is also considered typical for this region.
Seafood such as soused herring, mussels (called Zeeuwse Mosselen, since all Dutch mussels for consumption are cleaned in Zeeland's Oosterschelde), eels, oysters and shrimps are widely available and typical for the region. Kibbeling, once a local delicacy consisting of small chunks of battered white fish, has become a national fast food, just as Lekkerbekje.
Indirectly a product of the sea is Ossenworst (''ox sausage''), a raw beef sausage originating in Amsterdam, which used to be made of ox meat. This specialty has its origins in the seventeenth century, when oxen were imported large-scale from Denmark and Germany. The spices in the sausage, such as pepper, cloves, mace and nutmeg, came from the Dutch East Indies. Traditionally, aged beef was used for this sausage, that was then smoked at a low temperature such that the meat remained raw. Present-day Amsterdam ossenworst is made with lean beef, and the sausage is now often neither smoked nor aged. It is often eaten with Amsterdamse uitjes, a kind of pickled onion.
Pastries in this area tend to be quite doughy, and often contain large amounts of sugar; either caramelised, powdered or crystallised. The oliebol (in its modern form) and Zeeuwse bolus are good examples. A moist doughy white bread from the Zaanstreek in North Holland is duivekater, of which the recipe goes back hundreds of years and is eaten with butter. Cookies of all sorts are produced in great number and tend to contain a lot of butter and sugar, of which the stroopwafel is well known, just as cookies with a filling of some kind, mostly almond, like gevulde koek.
The region is also known for its chocolate industry, due to its colonial past, and the development of the Dutch process chocolate in 1828 by Coenraad van Houten, that started the modern era of chocolate as it was instrumental in the transformation of chocolate to its solid form which was up till then drunk as a liquid. Van Houten produced chocolate in Amsterdam, later in Leiden and Weesp, while Droste started in Haarlem. The popular chocomel started the production in Zoetermeer, and is a trademarked chocolate-flavoured milk, often the choice of drink as Koek-en-zopie, the food and drink sold on the ice during periods of ice skating. Verkade has its chocolate production in Zaandam. The same city is home to the headquarters of a new Dutch fair trade chocolate brand that took the market by storm: Tony's Chocoloney. Zaanstreek is since the 16th century also known for its mayonnaise (for the Dutch a popular condiment to eat with French fries), and typical whole-grain mustards (popular to eat with bitterballen).
The traditional alcoholic beverages of this region are beer (strong pale lager) and Jenever, a high proof juniper-flavored spirit, that came to be known in England as gin. A noted exception within the traditional Dutch alcoholic landscape, Advocaat, a rich and creamy liqueur made from eggs, sugar and brandy, is also native to this region.
Southern Dutch cuisine constitutes the cuisine of the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Limburg and the Flemish Region in Belgium. It is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes and is often called Burgundian which is a Dutch idiom invoking the rich Burgundian court which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages renowned for its splendor and great feasts.
It is the only Dutch culinary region which developed an haute cuisine and it forms the base of most traditional Dutch restaurants including typical main courses served such as Biefstuk, Varkenshaas, Ossenhaas, these are premium cuts of meat, generally pork or beef, accompanied by a wide variety of sauces and potatoes which have been double fried in the traditional Dutch (or Belgian) manner.
Stews, such as hachee, a stew of onions, beef and a thick gravy, contain a lot of flavour and require hours to prepare. Vegetable soups are made from richly flavored stock or bouillon and typically contain small meatballs alongside a wide variety of different vegetables. Asparagus and witloof are highly prized and traditionally eaten with cheese or ham.
Pastries are abundant, often with rich fillings of cream, custard or fruits. Cakes, such as the Vlaai from Limburg and the Moorkop and Bossche Bol from Brabant, are typical pastries. Savoury pastries also occur, with the Brabantian worstenbroodje (a roll with a sausage of ground beef, literally translates into sausage bread) being the most popular.
The traditional alcoholic beverage of the region is beer. There are many local brands, ranging from Trappist beer to Kriek lambic. 5 of the 11 International Trappist Association-recognised breweries in the world, are located in the Southern Dutch cultural area. Beer, like wine in French cuisine, is also used in cooking; often in stews.
Further information: Indonesian cuisine
Indonesian and Indo dishes became popular due to the arrival of former Dutch colonials and people of Eurasian descent into the Netherlands, especially after the independence of Indonesia from Dutch colonial rule in 1945. Countess van Limburg Stirum writes in her book The Art of Dutch Cooking (1962): "There exist countless Indonesian dishes, some of which take hours to prepare; but a few easy ones have become so popular that they can be regarded as 'national dishes'". She then provides recipes for nasi goreng (fried rice), pisang goreng (fried bananas), lumpia goreng (fried spring rolls), bami (fried noodles), satay (grilled skewered meat), satay sauce (peanut sauce), and sambal oelek (chilli paste). Of the Dutch-Indonesian fusion dishes the best known is the rijsttafel ("rice table"), which is an elaborate meal consisting of many (up to several dozen) small dishes filling an entire table. While still popular in the Netherlands, rijsttafel is now rare in Indonesia itself.
Outside the big cities, Indonesian food is served in Chinese restaurants, and almost every town in the Netherlands has a Chinese-Indonesian (Chinees-Indische) restaurant. This typical Dutch restaurant fusion is now heavily in decline. In February of 2021, this Chinese-Indonesian restaurant culture - where three cultures come together (Chinese, Indonesian and Dutch) - has been acknowledged as Dutch intangible cultural heritage, that needs to be preserved.
Popular fusion dishes sold at snackbars are friet saté (French fries with satay), patatje oorlog (French fries with mayonaise, onions and satay sauce) and patatje pinda (French fries with satay sauce).
Another staple food with Indonesian roots sold in wide varieties in supermarket across the country are broodje bapao and kroepoek.
Surinamese cuisine is also popular in the Netherlands, especially in the bigger cities. Surinamese establishments commonly offer roti, a staple of the Hindustani community in Suriname, various Surinamese interpretations of Chinese Indonesian cuisine, and Surinamese sandwiches (Surinaamse broodjes) such as broodje bakkeljauw (with a type of dried and salted cod) and broodje pom.
Italian and American style pizzerias have become widespread. In recent decades, Arab and Turkish dishes have become increasingly popular as well, especially as a snack food. In larger towns and cities, small restaurants selling kebabs, shawarma, and falafel can be found on virtually any street corner. In the bigger cities foods from all corners of the globe are sold in shops and restaurants.
Alongside yoghurt, fruit and muesli, ontbijt (breakfast) consists of bread, usually with butter and sweet toppings, such as hagelslag, vlokken, muisjes, vruchtenhagel, gestampte muisjes, treacle, apple butter, kokosbrood, jam, chocolate spread, and speculaas.
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 additional seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds often mixed with the dough for taste. Rye bread is one of the few dense breads of the Netherlands. White bread used to be the luxury bread, often made with milk as well as water. Ontbijtkoek may be eaten as a substitute for a full breakfast, or simply as a snack. It is served as a thick slice, usually with butter.
Beschuit (Dutch crisp bakes) is also eaten as a breakfast food, with the same variety of sweet toppings, or cheese. A longtime Dutch (romantic) favourite is to serve strawberries on beschuit, which is usually topped with some sugar or whipped cream.
A popular breakfast in the weekend are pannenkoeken (large and thin pancakes) with apples, cheese, or raisins. Sometimes pannenkoeken are eaten as dinner in a pannenkoekenhuis (restaurant), and the variety of toppings can include bacon, ragout and many other things. Wentelteefjes (French toast) is another breakfast treat.
A boterham met oude kaas (sandwich with "old" cheese)
Hagelslag, muisjes and vlokken on display in a Dutch supermarket.
Kruidkoek, peperkoek, and ontbijtkoek are a few of the regional names for a local version of gingerbread.
Middageten or lunch is somewhat similar to breakfast, but is usually heavier, less sweet, and more savory. However, lunch is not to be a warm meal, and eating leftovers for lunch is not very common. In bars and restaurants however, uitsmijter is a popular dish: two eggs fried with bacon or Gouda cheese, rosbief (rare roast beef, thinly cut), ham. Popular bread toppings when eating lunch at home include pindakaas (peanut butter), filet americain (a finely ground raw lean beef with the addition of mayonnaise, mustard, paprika and other spices), a wide variety of cold cuts and - where the Dutch are well known for - cheeses. The vast majority of Dutch cheeses are semi-hard or hard cheeses. Famous Dutch cheeses, include Gouda, Edam, and Leyden. A typically Dutch way of making cheese is to blend in herbs or spices during the first stages of the production process. Famous examples of this are cheeses with cloves (usually the Friesian Clove), cumin (most famously Leyden cheese), or nettles.
Dutch hard cheeses generally can be divided by maturity:
|Jonge kaas||young||4 weeks||creamy||soft|
|Jong belegen||young matured||8-10 weeks||mild||soft|
|Belegen||matured||16-18 weeks||full||semi hard|
|Extra Belegen||extra matured||7-8 months||spicy||semi hard|
|Oude kaas||old||10-12 months||rich and spicy||hard|
|Overjarig||very old||1-2 years||rich and salty||crumble with salt crystals|
However, the terms 'jong', 'belegen', old, etc. have not been legally established with regard to the period of ripening, and the majority of cheeses sold in supermarkets have been produced with a fast-ripening starter, which, as a drawback, adds a sweeter flavour to the cheese. For example, Old Amsterdam has crystals of an old cheese, but it is ripened - according to the company - only for 8 months.
Dutch people invite friends over for koffietijd (coffee time), which consists of coffee and cake or biscuits, served between 10:00 and 11:00 am (before lunch), 4:00 pm (between lunch and dinner) or between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm (after dinner). Dutch thrift of the 1940's and 1950's, when the country was rebuilding the destruction of World War II, led to the famous standard rule of only one cookie with each cup of coffee. Presumably in the late 1940's even the then Prime Minister, Willem Drees, served coffee and one biscuit to a visiting American diplomat, who then became convinced that the money from the Marshall Plan was being well spent. It has been suggested that the reasons for this can also be found in the Protestant mentality in the northern Netherlands. The Roman Catholic south does not share this tradition as for instance in Limburg, where serving a large vlaai (sweet pie or pastry with filling), cut into eight pieces, is tradition when visitors are expected.
Koffie verkeerd (literally "wrong coffee"), or Café au lait, consists of equal parts black coffee and hot milk. The Dutch drink tea without milk and the tea is quite a lot weaker than typical English or Irish types of tea which are stronger and are usually taken with milk. In Dutch bars, tea with freshly chopped ginger (verse gemberthee) or with fresh mint leaves (verse muntthee) or very popular. In the autumn and winter hot chocolate or chocomel is drunk. Two other traditional Dutch drinks, anijsmelk (hot milk with aniseed) and kwast (hot water with lemon juice) are hardly drunk any more.
The drinks are served with a wide variety of cakes (gebak), cookies (koekjes) and candies (snoep).
Between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm it is time for an alcoholic beverage (borrel), beer or wine, and a savory snack. This is when the famous bitterballen are served, a miniature variant of the kroket (croquette), deep-fried ragout-filled balls with a crunchy layer of very fine bread crumbs. Bitterballen are served with mustard. Borreltijd traditionally occurs on the weekends. Borrelnootje (peanuts in a spiced crusty coating) and kaasstengels (deep-fried crusty cheese sticks) and vlammetjes (deep-fried mini spring rolls with a very spicy minced meat filling) are other typical borrel snacks.
Wine plays only a modest role, but there are many brands of beer and strong alcoholic liquor. The most famous Dutch beer producers are Heineken in the west, Grolsch in the east, Alfa and Bavaria in the south. Traditionally, North Brabant and Limburg had a strong beer tradition, brewing many different types of beer (not unlike beer in Belgium). Other traditional Dutch lagers that are commonly found in the country are Gulpener (especially in the northern Netherlands), Hertog Jan, and Budels. Jupiler is also a very common beer in the Netherlands, and is produced in Belgium.
Dutch cities in the west had a long brewing tradition as well, but in the 20th century, big brewers took over many smaller breweries or offered them a license to sell their beer brand, while stopping their own production.
In the 21st century, many new microbreweries were founded, brewing top fermenting beers in many different styles. In September 2013, there were 184 active breweries in the Netherlands. Popular styles include bock, trappist ale, stout, and wheat beer, though in the 2010s IPA variations became very popular throughout the country, especially in Amsterdam, as the craft brewing industry expanded. Some of the most popular craft breweries in the Netherlands are Brouwerij 't IJ, Jopen, and Two Chefs brewing.
Of the range of bitters, Beerenburg is the most famous. Strong liquors include Jenever (distilled malt wine and the precursor to Gin), Brandewijn (brandy) and Vieux, which is an imitation Cognac, but also Kandeel (made from white wine), kraamanijs (anisette), oranjebitter (orange-flavored brandy, served on festivities surrounding the royal family), Advocaat, Boerenjongens (raisins in brandy), and Boerenmeisjes (apricots in brandy).
Dinner, traditionally served early by international standards, starts around or even before 6 p.m. It is not uncommon for restaurants outside of major cities to be closed by 8 p.m. The old-fashioned Dutch dinner for the lower class consists of one simple course: potatoes, meat and vegetables—known under the acronym "AVG" (aardappelen, vlees, groente). AVG consists traditionally of potatoes with a large portion of vegetables and a small portion of meat with gravy, or a potato and vegetable stew. Vegetable stews served as side dishes are for example rodekool met appeltjes (red cabbage with apples), or rode bieten (beetroot). Regular spices used in stews of this kind may be bay leaves, juniper berries, cloves, and vinegar, although strong spices are generally used sparingly. Stews are often served with pickles, including gherkins or cocktail onions (zilveruitjes). Due to the influx of other countries, traditional meals have lost some popularity. Stamppot, mashed potatoes with different options for vegetables, is traditionally eaten in winter. If there is a starter, it is usually soup.
The below-listed meals have historic origins as meals for common labourers. From the 17th to the 19th century workers worked 10 to 16 hours on farms or in factories in unheated rooms, hence these meals are very heavy on calories and fat and were meant to replenish a laborer's energy.
Het toetje, or the final course is a sweet dessert, traditionally yogurt with some sugar or vla, a thin milk pudding (cooked milk with custard). Other desserts include:
The birth of a child is an occasion for serving beschuit met muisjes (Dutch rusk covered with sugared aniseed). Traditionally, Dutch funerals are sober, and food provided is a simple piece of cake with a cup of coffee or tea.
The Dutch festival of Sinterklaas is held on 5 December. Saint Nicholas leaves gifts in the children's shoes. On this occasion, the Dutch drink hot chocolate milk and eat luxury variants of speculaas: speculaasbrokken (thick speculaas chunks) and gevulde speculaas (almond paste filled speculaas). Spices in speculaas include cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardemon and ginger. Also boterletter (a baked pastry crust with an almond paste filling and shaped into a letter S of Sinterklaas), marsepein (marzipan, in the shape of animals or other topical items), borstplaat (discs of fondant); and taaitaai are eaten. And everyone receives a chocoladeletter (chocolate letter), corresponding with the first letter of the name of the receiver. Special treats distributed by Saint Nicholas' aide Zwarte Piet include pepernoten (irregularly shaped small cookies made of rye, honey and anise) and kruidnoten (gingernut-shaped biscuit but made with speculaas spices). The traditional kruidnoot has a specific flavor and texture, but over the years, various variants have also entered the market. Some examples of variants that have appeared in Dutch stores:
Christmas (Kerst) in the Netherlands is a typical family holiday. Traditionally there is family brunch with kerststol, a fruited raisin bread, often filled with almond paste and covered in powdered sugar. A popular sweet is kerstkransje. Christmas dinner is also a family occasion where rollade (a kind of roulade but without the filling, consisting of spiced pork), roast pork, game, or other luxury meat may be served. Another popular Christmas dinner tradition is gourmetten, where people cook on the dinner table their own food on a special gourmetset, although this is not limited to Christmas.
On New Year's Eve (Oud en Nieuw), Dutch houses smell of the piping hot oil of deep-fat fryers used to prepare oliebollen and appelbeignets (a kind of apple fritter) – not to be mistaken for the appelflap which are made of puff pastry. Also ananasbeignets (pineapple fritter) are considered a treat. Oliebollen are yeast dough balls, either plain or filled with glacé fruits, apple pieces, raisins, and sultanas are served with powdered sugar. They are sold by street vendors and bakeries, and the quality can vary by a land slide and every year an oliebollen contest is held. Freshly made they are the most tasty. In the 17th century, Dutch settlers also took their oliebollen to the American colonies, where they are now known in a different form and recipie as doughnuts.
In Limburg, nonnevotten are sometimes served during New Year's Eve, although it is mostly eaten during Carnival. Around New Years knieperties are popular, in particular in the northern provinces.
Months before Easter (Pasen) shops are flooded with chocolate eggs. On average, the Dutch eat 47 chocolate easter eggs a year. Another popular dish eaten during Easter is Paasstol, which is the same kind of bread as the Kerststol.
The Dutch have their own types of fast food, sold at snackbars that mainly serve deepfried fastfood. French fries (called patat or friet) are served with one or a combination of sauces:
Snacks made with meat are usually deep fried. These include:
Bread comes in many varieties.
Krentenbollen are eaten with butter or cheese for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack.
A seasonal dish, asparagus is popularly eaten with ham, egg, and potatoes, with a butter sauce.
A simple Dutch meal traditionally consists of meat, potatoes, butter, a boiled vegetable, and salad.
Satay, originally an Indonesian dish, is commonly served with chips in the Netherlands.
Mussels (Mosselen met friet) are usually served with chips and dipping sauces
Sudderlapjes is slowly simmered beef, most often served with potatoes.
Gebakken sliptong: young sole (also known as "slip") fried in butter.
A nasischijf cut open showing the fried rice inside the deep fried snack
Hutspot with beef
Bitterballen are small snacks similar to the larger kroketten and are usually served with mustard.
Gebakken mosselen (fried mussels) are cooked mussels fried with butter and onions.
Raw oysters, which are "platte zeeuwse oester".
Broodje bal, a slice of bread with a meatball and gravy, halved meatball served on slices of Dutch whole wheat bread.
Slices of meat with hard-boiled eggs in the middle.
Bread with butter and hagelslag.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)