Bitterballen met Hollandse vlag in frituurmand

A Tasty Exploration of Dutch Eating Habits

in Dutch way of life on 5 May, 2023

Certainly, The Dutch love food.

The Netherlands has a rich culinary heritage that has shaped Dutch eating habits over the centuries. In this blog, we’ll take a delightful journey through the day, exploring the unique breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack habits that set the Dutch apart from others, while also uncovering the historical roots that have influenced their cuisine.

Breakfast: Rise and Shine, Dutch Style!

Dutch breakfast traditions have been influenced by the country’s agricultural history and its connection to fresh, local produce. In the past, farmers would start their day with a substantial meal to provide them with the energy needed for a day of work. This tradition has translated into a hearty and wholesome breakfast for all. Freshly baked bread, a staple in Dutch cuisine, is enjoyed with a variety of toppings, reflecting the nation’s rich dairy industry and love for sweet treats like hagelslag and speculaas.

Lunch: The “Boterham” Bonanza

Dutch lunchtime customs have their roots in practicality and efficiency. The Dutch have long valued the midday meal as a way to refuel and take a break from work. The “boterham” sandwich became popular due to its simplicity and convenience. Historically, the Dutch would have a hearty lunch to sustain them throughout the day, often consisting of bread, cheese, and cured meats. This tradition of a substantial midday meal continues today, with a wide variety of delicious fillings and toppings available to create the perfect Dutch sandwich.

“The Dutch lunch, a symphony of flavors and efficiency, where open-faced sandwiches and indulgent treats merge to create a delightful midday tradition.”

Dinner: Cosy Comfort and Stamppot

Dutch dinner traditions are deeply intertwined with the country’s farming heritage and desire for warmth and comfort. The Dutch landscape, with its fertile soil, has allowed for the cultivation of potatoes and a variety of vegetables. This abundance of produce led to the development of stamppot, a traditional Dutch dish where mashed potatoes are combined with vegetables and served alongside hearty meats. Stamppot provided a nourishing and filling meal for families, particularly during the colder months. Dutch cuisine also reflects the country’s proximity to the sea, with fish dishes like herring and cod being popular choices.

Bitterballen met Hollandse vlag in frituurmand

Snack Time: The Dutch Treats

Dutch snack culture has evolved over time, influenced by trade and colonial history. The Netherlands’ position as a seafaring nation facilitated the introduction of new ingredients and flavors. The Dutch love for fried snacks can be traced back to the Dutch East India Company, which brought spices and culinary influences from the East. Bitterballen, frikandel, and kroket are examples of these deep-fried delights that have become beloved Dutch snacks. Additionally, stroopwafels, with their thin waffle structure and sweet syrup filling, have become an iconic Dutch treat enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Ever had a bitterbal or kroket?

Dutch people eat kroketten because they are a popular and beloved snack in the Netherlands. Kroketten are deep-fried, breadcrumb-coated rolls filled with a mixture of meat (typically ragout) or vegetables. They are known for their crispy exterior and creamy, flavorful filling.

  • Kroketten are delicious and have a satisfying combination of textures and flavors. The crispy shell contrasts with the creamy and savory interior, making them a tasty treat.
  • Kroketten are readily available in many places, including snack bars, cafes, and even vending machines. They are a convenient snack option for people on the go.
  • Kroketten can be enjoyed in various ways. Some people eat them as a standalone snack, while others incorporate them into sandwiches or as a side dish to a meal.
  • Kroketten have been a part of Dutch culinary tradition for centuries. They are a comfort food that many Dutch people have grown up with and continue to enjoy throughout their lives.
  • Kroketten are often enjoyed in a social context. Whether it’s grabbing a few with friends at a cafe or sharing them as part of a family meal, they contribute to a sense of togetherness.

It’s a snack that brings joy and comfort, and it has become an integral part of Dutch cuisine and culture.


Party and snacks, we Dutchies love it. From huzarensalade, blokje kaas to bitterbal or a tompouce, when in Holland you can’t get around it. So just diggin!

Dutch Dining Etiquette: Unique Customs

In addition to their culinary traditions, Dutch eating habits also include interesting customs and etiquette. For example, it is common to eat sandwiches with hands rather than using cutlery, reflecting a casual and practical approach to meals. The Dutch also place a strong emphasis on “gezelligheid,” creating a cozy and convivial atmosphere during mealtimes. Engaging in lively conversations, taking time to enjoy the food, and cherishing the company of family and friends are important aspects of Dutch dining culture.

Dutch holiday eating habits

The Netherlands is a land of vibrant traditions and heartwarming festivities, and Dutch eating habits during holidays are no exception. Let’s take a tantalizing glimpse into the culinary customs that make these occasions truly special.

As winter blankets the land, Sinterklaas arrives with joy and treats. Families gather to indulge in spiced delights like pepernoten, tiny cookies exploding with flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. Speculaas, intricately shaped spiced biscuits, captivate taste buds with their aromatic charm. Chocolate letters, crafted to match initials, become delightful gifts, while warm mugs of hot chocolate add a cozy touch to this beloved celebration.

The magic of Christmas fills Dutch homes with delectable aromas and mouthwatering feasts. Gourmetten or fondue sets take the stage, where everyone gathers around to cook bite-sized meats, fish, and vegetables. Succulent roasts, accompanied by robust gravies and hearty sides like aardappelkroketten (potato croquettes) and spruitjes (Brussels sprouts), bring warmth and comfort to the table. Dutch Christmas desserts enchant with festive sweet breads, such as kerststol, paired with velvety hot chocolate or mulled wine.

 As the clock nears midnight, the Netherlands comes alive with the anticipation of a new year. Oliebollen, golden spheres of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, steal the spotlight, symbolizing a farewell to the past and embracing new beginnings. Alongside these sweet treats, savory snacks like crispy bitterballen, flavorful cheese platters, and sliced cured meats add a touch of indulgence to the festive spread. Glasses clink, toasting to a year filled with joy, prosperity, and culinary delights.

Vibrant and lively, King’s Day blankets the country in a sea of orange. Street markets bustle with excitement, offering a plethora of delectable delights. Oranje tompoucen, pastries filled with luscious vanilla cream and crowned with orange icing, become the embodiment of this royal celebration. Street food stalls tantalize taste buds with haring (herring) fresh from the sea, piping hot patat (French fries), and fluffy poffertjes, sprinkled with powdered sugar. In every bite, the joyous spirit of King’s Day is savored.

Dutch holidays bring forth a symphony of flavors and traditions that leave lasting memories. From the spiced wonders of Sinterklaas to the festive feasts of Christmas and the vibrant street food of King’s Day, these celebrations epitomize the Dutch love for indulgence, togetherness, and culinary delights. So, immerse yourself in the richness of Dutch holiday eating habits and savor the festive flavors that ignite the spirit of celebration.

how you eat Dutch herring


Dutch eating habits are a delightful blend of flavors, simplicity, and togetherness. From the hearty breakfasts with a plethora of toppings to the boterham bonanza at lunch and the comforting stamppot dinners, the Dutch sure know how to enjoy their meals. And let’s not forget the delectable snacks that add a touch of indulgence to any occasion.

so dutchie oranje
So Dutchie

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