Dutch Quirk #33: Have a national brand of mints

HomeCultureFoodDutch Quirk #33: Have a national brand of mints

Are Wilhelminapepermunts a token of Dutch heritage or a disastrously large block of chalk?

Now I don’t mean to start a controversy here, but it is near unfathomable to me that any person in their right mind actually enjoys the “royal freshness” of this Wilhelmina mint nonsense.

I get almost enraged upon receiving one of these deceivingly horrible palate cleansers at the end of a meal, and there are a few, somewhat rash and likely exaggerated, reasons for that. 

What is it?

For one, they have about the texture of chalk or talcum powder and a taste that really just screams “we haven’t touched the recipe since 1892”.

Though my biggest qualm really comes down to their sheer enormity. So why do they do insist on handing them out everywhere?

Why do they do it?

Now I am sure most of us have graciously attempted to make our through one of these enormous mints only to frantically be caught between spitting out that seemingly never-ending block of chalk or bracing ourselves for a world of pain. So I can’t really answer this.

And quite frankly I don’t even think Wilhelmina herself would be too happy with all of this.

Why is it quirky? 

Well, they’ve named their national brand of mints after a royal. Mind you, from what I’ve gathered about this Wilhemina lady—she was anything but your standard royal. The former Queen of the Netherlands was the longest-reigning monarch and saw the country through both WWI and WWII.  

Wilhelmina was thrust into power at a mere 10 years old after the death of her father, although her mother carried out the Queen’s duties until her 18th birthday. Around the age of twelve, the company Fortuin developed this mint as a special tribute for the soon to be Queen.

picture-of-a-Queen-Wilhelmina-statue-in-The Hague
An unshapely statue of Queen-Wilhelmina in The Hague, with engravings of the ominous title of her autobiography “Eeenzam maar niet alleen” in the background. Image: joophoek/Depositphotos

This might just be the reason she ended up giving her autobiography the chilling title “Eenzaam, maar niet alleen,” or “lonely, but not alone.” Or maybe that was because of her unfaithful husband. 🤔

The company also has these oddly suggestive taglines: “For more than 120 years, Wilhelmina has provided a fresh taste sensation with a royal touch.” — strange way to talk about a mint, no?

Should you join in?

That said, they are vegan, claim to be sustainably packaged, and are probably the classiest mint I’ve ever seen, sporting the portrait of the only monarch I’ve ever felt some appreciation for. So despite my whining, try them out for yourselves and you may very well enjoy yourself a bit of chalk!

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Do you agree? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Mr.Nostalgic/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Caitlin Elston-Weidinger 🇩🇪🇺🇸
Though Caitlin was born in Berlin, she was raised between the beaches of Florida and mountainous Oregon but has opted for a university career in the cosy Netherlands. Four years into her Dutch journey, you’ll find Caitlin ranting about politics, upcycling jewellery for her online store, or roaming around with her analogue camera.


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