What do Dutch people eat? Italians have pasta, the French have escargot and frog legs, and Japan has sushi. But, Dutch people will insistently tell visitors ‘there’s no real Dutch cuisine!’ While it’s true Dutch food has failed to creep its way to international success alongside pizza and nasi goreng, Dutchie’s seem to forget all the weird and wonderful food that lays in their kitchen at home. 

Living in the Netherlands also means living with the Dutch culture. For some people, it might come easy, but many of us struggle until we gain the confidence to enjoy their sometimes quirky ways. It takes many attempts to master the art of Dutch birthdays, after all.

If this is you, tune in, because this doesn’t have to be the case anymore! With this complete guide, you won’t only Dutchify your kitchen but learn some of the key elements to their way of living too. After all, you are what you eat!

Grocery List: Eat as Dutch People Eat

#1 Dutch People Eat: Pindakaas and Pindasaus

Dutch people eat pindakaas

Dutchies love their share of peanuts, so much that it is everywhere from toppings to soups to sauces. Pindakaas means peanut butter, but don’t confuse it with the ones that you’ve had before. In the Netherlands, it is less sweet and often crunchy. For a full effect, buy the biggest Calve jar they have.

Pindasaus is a warm and runnier version of Pindakaas, you can add coconut milk or milk to turn your Pindakaas into this. It is best enjoyed with almost everything from fries to meat, so don’t be shy!

#2 Dutch People Eat: Hagelslag

These little sweet sprinkles are hard to miss at any supermarket. A plethora of flavours are stacked in every aisle. Flaked ones, thin ones, coloured ones and the ones that for some reason contain the word ”Muisjes (Mice)” on the package.


First of all don’t panic. You can start with the plain chocolate ones to begin with and work your way up to the fruity ones. Enjoy the ”Muisjes” at baby showers and let the baby’s gender dictate whether it’s pink or blue!

dutch people eat hagelslag
Image: 9gag

How to use: First, spread a generous amount of butter on your bread. Then, add the Hagelslag to your liking. Enjoy it at anytime of the day, no matter your age!

#3 Dutch People Eat: Drop

Speaking of candies, how could we forget Drop? These black coloured liquorice candies are not for the untrained tastebuds, so be warned. There are about 80 different kinds of this treat and you can take your pick from salty or sweet ones with different hardness levels.

Our advice is to start by tasting it from friends first before you purchase a whole box. The day you find yourself reaching for that drop jar in your kitchen is the day your Dutchness will reach a whole another level! Start training now!

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#4 Dutch People Eat: Filet Americain

Dutch people love spreading stuff on their bread. Their favourite choice is always something hard to identify, drowned in mayonnaise, and hopefully tastes better than it looks. So far so good.

But then there is Filet Americain. It is a spread which contains raw meat, capers, onions, mayonnaise and seasoning. Yum and as raw as it gets!

dutch people eat filet americain
Filet Americain: More than meats the eye

Although there are some heated arguments about how healthy it is to consume raw meat these days, it is still enjoyed by many Dutchies like there’s no tomorrow. Intrigued? Enjoy this delicatessen on bread with sliced raw onions or boiled eggs.

#5 Dutch People Eat: Curry Ketchup

When it comes to condiments in the Netherlands, you can never go wrong with throwing some mayonnaise on the majority of the food. Having this little gem on the table is sure to impress any Dutch visitor. In order to achieve maximum joy, get the biggest bottle of Hela brand curry ketchup you can find, preferably in a ”2 for 1” korting!

#6 Dutch People Eating Gadgets: Cheese Knife and Potato Masher

Cheese and potatoes are the unquestionable royal members of any Dutch kitchen. Therefore, a proper cheese knife and a potato masher are very, I mean very, important. The cheese knife is more of a scraper than a blade, and as one Dutch person told me: it’s to make sure you don’t take too much cheese (ah, those Dutchies!).

dutch people eat cheese sliced with cheese slicers
An iconic Dutch kitchen tool. Image: Yvwv [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Meanwhile, a kitchen without a potato masher would be like a kitchen without a stove for this potato-eating-nation.

#7 Dutch People Eat: Seasonal Faves

Twinkling lights, a version of Santa Claus in a funny hat, people wearing questionably appropriate blackface – sounds like December in the Netherlands. If you step into any supermarket around this time (and earlier and earlier every year) it is hard to miss the section with small cookies, chocolates and even costumes.

Kruidnoten are the sweet-spicy round small cookies. CAUTION: do not eat these unless you want to finish the whole bag (with a side-helping of regret). These deliciously addictive biscuits are traditionally thrown by Zwarte Piet at children

Pepernoten are the chewy, square shaped cookies that are often very hard and threaten to break your teeth. After purchasing the biggest bags of the cookies, it is always fun to buy some delicious chocolate letters to give friends and family or even enjoy yourself!How is your shopping list coming along? Planning to eat what Dutch people eat? Then don’t miss What Dutch People Eat: Part 2! What have we missed so far? Let us know in the comments below!

Original article published August 2017. Updated September 2019. 

Feature Image: Wikimedia



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