Dutch Food

Whilst Holland is a culturally diverse society, the food is relatively simple – traditional Dutch cuisine is based on what is grown and harvested from the fields, fished from the waters or raised in the farms. 

It is said that there are three regional types of Dutch cuisine. There is the food from the Northeastern provinces Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel and Gelderland characterized by the use of meats as well as fish. Different varieties of dried sausages can also be found in this type of cuisine, the most popular of which is the rookworst (Gelderse). Pastries and sweets coming from the northeast are of the hard and heavily spiced variety, such as the Kruidkoek and Fryske dumkes.

The area comprised of North Holland, South Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Betuwe are known for the western type of Dutch cuisine. Cheeses and other dairy products, mayonnaise and mustard, herring and other types of seafood abound in these provinces. The western type pastries are more doughy and sweet. Examples are the oliebol (literally translated as “oil balls”) and cookies with lots of butter and a fruit or nut filling. Traditional beverages would include beer and Advocaat.

From the Southern cuisine come dishes of stews, soups and rich pastries. The provinces that are associated with this are North Brabant and Limburg. Here one would enjoy hearty meals of Hachee, a stew made with beef, onions and gravy, Biefstuk, Ossenhaas and Waterzoi, among others.  Rich and savoury pastries are also eaten in these areas. Here they use beer for cooking, much like in French cuisine.

A traditional Dutch breakfast would consist of bread, usually topped with something sweet or savoury like cheese, jam honey, hazelnut spread or cold meats. Currant buns or cereals are also good for breakfast, normally taken with coffee, tea or juice. Lunch is a sandwich (usually bread and a slice of cheese) and a fruit. There’s also the popular fast food item broodje kroket which is a meat ragout deep fried and tucked on a soft bun. Dutch families typically have their supper as early as 5 or 6 p.m. This is a heartier meal consisting of a meat or chicken dish with vegetables , followed by dessert and a cup of coffee.