Best Food in the Netherlands


The Netherlands, often affectionately referred to as Holland, is not just a postcard-worthy destination but a captivating blend of history, art, and, of course, gastronomy. Beyond its renowned landscapes, the country boasts a cultural tapestry woven from the threads of its past and present. This culinary guide is your passport to the heart of Dutch cuisine, inviting you to explore a world of flavors that have been perfected over centuries.

As you traverse the charming canals, stroll through vibrant tulip fields, and admire the graceful rotations of windmill blades, remember that each scene is a reflection of Dutch ingenuity and creativity. Similarly, the nation’s cuisine tells a story of resourcefulness and resilience, shaped by its geographic location and historical context. From the hearty comfort food that warms the soul on a chilly day to the delicate confections that sweeten life’s moments, Dutch food captures the essence of a culture that values both tradition and innovation.

What Kind of Food Can You Find in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands, nestled in Northwestern Europe, offers a treasure trove of culinary experiences, showcasing its unique blend of traditions and global influences.

Dutch cuisine is a tapestry woven from various international threads. The country’s history as a seafaring nation has introduced a rich tapestry of flavors to the Dutch palate. Indonesian, Surinamese, and Javanese influences have played a significant role in shaping the Dutch food scene. This fusion of tastes has given rise to dishes like “Rijsttafel,” which translates to “rice table,” featuring an array of Indonesian dishes that have become a Dutch culinary favorite.

Netherlands Best Popular Food

Dutch cuisine is a reflection of the nation’s rich history, geographical location, and agricultural traditions. It’s a cuisine rooted in simplicity, emphasizing hearty, flavorful, and satisfying dishes. These beloved Dutch classics have stood the test of time and continue to hold a special place in the hearts and palates of the Dutch people. Let’s take a closer look at some of the Netherlands’ most popular and iconic dishes:

  • Hutspot: A Dutch comfort food staple, ‘Hutspot’ is a hearty dish traditionally made with mashed potatoes and carrots. This simple yet delicious combination is often served with a generous helping of succulent meat stew, such as ‘Hachee’ (a slow-cooked beef and onion stew). Hutspot is particularly popular during the colder months, providing warmth and nourishment to those who savor it.
  • Stroopwafels: When it comes to sweet treats, ‘Stroopwafels’ are unrivaled. These thin, waffle-like cookies have a caramel syrup filling that oozes with every bite. They are a ubiquitous snack, found everywhere from local markets to cozy cafes. Pair them with a cup of Dutch coffee or tea for a truly delightful experience.
  • Dutch Pancakes (Pannenkoeken): Dutch pancakes, or ‘Pannenkoeken,’ are a versatile delight. These thin and large pancakes can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings, both sweet and savory. Common sweet toppings include powdered sugar, apple slices, and syrup, while savory options might include cheese, bacon, or ham. They are a beloved breakfast or brunch option but are equally delicious as a midday snack or dinner.
  • Bitterballen: Bitterballen are quintessential Dutch bar snacks. These deep-fried, crispy balls are filled with a creamy mixture made from either beef or veal ragout. They are typically enjoyed with a good beer in hand and often served with a side of mustard for dipping. Bitterballen embody the essence of Dutch gezelligheid, a term that describes a sense of coziness and togetherness.
  • Haring (Raw Herring): Raw herring, or ‘Haring,’ is a unique Dutch delicacy that showcases the Dutch love for seafood. Traditionally served raw, herring is filleted and typically enjoyed with onions and pickles. While the idea of raw fish might seem daunting to some, it’s an integral part of Dutch culinary culture, and locals relish its distinctive flavor.
  • Erwtensoep (Split Pea Soup): Erwtensoep is a thick, hearty split pea soup that warms the soul during the chilly Dutch winters. Made from green split peas, this soup is often loaded with smoked sausage, pork, and vegetables. It’s traditionally enjoyed on cold winter days and is a comforting and nourishing dish.
  • Rijsttafel: Indonesia’s historical ties with the Netherlands have significantly impacted Dutch cuisine, resulting in a delightful fusion of flavors. The ‘Rijsttafel,’ meaning ‘rice table,’ is a grand Indonesian feast consisting of a plethora of small dishes, each bursting with unique flavors and textures.

Which City in the Netherlands Has the Best Food?

While the Netherlands may be a small country, it is brimming with diverse culinary experiences, and each city offers a unique gastronomic journey. Amsterdam, often considered the culinary capital of the country, boasts a vibrant food scene influenced by its multicultural population. Rotterdam, on the other hand, is known for its experimental dining culture, while Utrecht offers a blend of traditional Dutch cuisine and international flavors. Leiden, a historic city, surprises with hidden culinary gems. Ultimately, the city with the “best” food depends on your personal preferences, making exploring each city’s food culture a delicious adventure.

Where to Enjoy Dutch Cuisine

To fully experience Dutch cuisine, you need to know where to go. Iconic restaurants, bustling local markets, and the unique opportunity to share a home-cooked meal with locals all contribute to the rich tapestry of Dutch culinary adventures. Whether you prefer the sophistication of a Michelin-starred restaurant or the authenticity of a neighborhood eatery, the Netherlands offers a range of dining experiences.

Netherlands Food and Drink Safety

Before embarking on your culinary journey through the Netherlands, it’s essential to understand food safety standards and practices in the country. The Netherlands has strict regulations in place to ensure the safety and quality of food and beverages. Be aware of common food safety practices for travelers, such as drinking bottled water, checking for food labels, and avoiding street vendors with questionable hygiene.


In addition to its diverse range of flavors, Dutch cuisine is also a reflection of the country’s rich history and unique regional influences. Each region in the Netherlands has its own culinary traditions and specialties, adding depth and variety to the overall culinary landscape. Whether you’re savoring the hearty stamppot in the north, indulging in fresh seafood along the coast, or enjoying the delectable cheese and pastries in the south, you’ll find that Dutch food is a journey through both taste and culture.

Moreover, Dutch cuisine embodies the principles of sustainability and farm-to-table dining. The Netherlands is known for its commitment to environmentally friendly practices and high-quality local ingredients. When you dine in Dutch restaurants or explore local markets, you’re not only treating your taste buds but also supporting a food culture that values responsible sourcing and production.


  • Lizette Schuurman

    Hi! I am Lizette (35), a born adventurer and addicted to traveling. I have been traveling around the world since I was 16, the freedom is wonderful. Get up and see what the day brings, enjoy the little things and meet like-minded people.I prefer to sit with my feet in the sand and a coconut in my hand. No luxury, just a simple hut by the sea. I also like to dive into the water, armed with my camera, in search of turtles, colorful fish and corals.I have already crossed quite a few things off my 'bucket list', from swimming with whale sharks and climbing a volcano to skydiving above the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Nothing is too crazy, I love going outside my comfort zone and trying new things.I currently live with my boyfriend in Friesland, where we have our home base. Every year we travel for a few months, usually to Asia. Knowing more? On my own travel blog you will find inspiration & tips about tropical destinations, paradisiacal beaches and hidden places!

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