There are many things, habits and products which you can label as ‘typical Dutch’. Some are unique to the Netherlands as others also occur elsewhere, but are seen as typical for the Dutch culture or the Dutch themselves. As an Amsterdam based company we’ve put together a list of 15 typical Dutch habits and products for you to experience or try. And because of our 15th anniversary we also have a special offer for you!
- Flat landscape
As flat as the Dutch landscape is virtually no other country in the world. Vast meadows, polders, dikes and dunes; it may definitely be called characteristic. It’s perfect for a walk too, so in summer a great amount of Dutch walk a fixed distance for four days in a row with friends and family, to complete the so called Wandelvierdaagse.
With almost 35,000 kilometres of cycle paths, the country of the Netherlands is truly a country of cyclists. The city residents know that the best way to get around and discover Amsterdam is by bike. Almost 63% uses their bike every day. Previously, we have put together a list of 15 great spots to cycle to in Amsterdam. You can find the list here.
Nowhere in the world the birthday of Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) is celebrated as extensively as in Holland. The saintly man arrives mid-November on a steam boat filled with gifts. On December the 5th the gifts are exchanged after the children sing Sinterklaas songs. Colourful shop windows adorn the streets of Amsterdam for several weeks: it marks the beginning of the festive December month.
- Stroopwafels (Dutch cookie)
Every year more than 22 million packs of stroopwafels are consumed in the Netherlands. Van Wonderen Stroopwafels in the Kalverstraat is the place to be for the best sticky waffle with the characteristic checkered pattern. We also like to eat stroopwafel ice cream, stroopwafel souffle and stroopwafel pie or cake.
The image that exists abroad is many Dutch people walk on clogs. But the number of times we have seen someone walking on these wooden shoes can be counted on one hand. Clogs aren’t even typically Dutch, the wooden footwear was worn centuries ago in large parts of Europe as well. Nowadays clogs are a popular souvenir from Amsterdam.
Tulips are often seen as typically Dutch but originally the colourful flowers did not grew in our country. Only they proved to thrive well here because they need a cool winter to grow. The tulip is now a symbol for the Dutch flower bulb industry as it has the largest share in the export of tulips and tulip bulbs worldwide.
- Polder mills
The Netherlands is known for the numerous polder mills. These mills move water from a lower to a higher level using the power of the wind. Although the function of polder mills in many cases has been replaced by steam pomping stations, you still see many polder mills in the Dutch landscape. They represent a cultural-historical role.
- Barrel organ
Barrel organs can be seen all over Europe, yet they are often associated with the Netherlands. In the Dutch streets, you will still encounter quite a few street organs. The Netherlands has more than fifty active organ players who play Dutch classics such as “Tulips from Amsterdam”.
- Pea soup & hotchpot
Another one in the food category: pea soup – also called ‘snert’ – is made from split peas and is a popular meal during the winter months. The soup is also eaten in other countries, but ours is much thicker.
- Delfts Blauw
Delfts Blauw is pottery with blue decoration made in the city of Delft. It was produced as a cheaper alternative to Chinese porcelain in the mid-17th century. Today, around one hundred pottery factories are still open, manufacturing pottery for mainly the tourism industry.
- Gouda cheese
The Dutch, yellow cheese is the number one product that Dutch people who live abroad buy to enjoy ‘something from home’. The craft of cheese making has been passed on for generations and has resulted in a delicious full-fat, naturally matured cheese. The base consists of real Dutch milk from Dutch cows grazing on green pastures.
In April it is King’s Day. On the 27th of April of each year the birthday of our king, Willem-Alexander, is celebrated grandly. Amsterdam colours orange – from orange clothing to orange delicacies – and there are markets, activities for young and old, and parties at locations just outside the centre.
- Food from the wall
Nothing is as Dutch as a wall display full of fried snacks. Mexicano, pikanto, frikandel, kroket (croquette) or a cheese souffle; you can’t find the snack bar like this in any other country. Is the snack bar closed? Then we just pull that kroket out of the wall, for example at the FEBO on the Nieuwendijk.
- Peanut butter for breakfast
There are only a few countries in the world where people love peanut butter and the Netherlands is one of them. On the Czaar Peterstraat you will find a real peanut butter shop with flavors such as Caramel Sea Salt and Dadel-Cinnamon. Sprinkle it with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and your Dutch breakfast is ready for you to enjoy!
- Three times
In Holland, we do three. Three kisses on the cheek when greeting. It can be confusing while in most places around the world two kisses are the standard. That we kiss each other 3 times to greet is only 50 years old. It would have originated in the province of Brabant and is also called the Brabant drieklapper (three-fold).
Special offer: Htel stroopwafels (Dutch cookies!) at check-in!
Htel Serviced Apartments celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. To celebrate we created a special offer. If you book a stay at Htel Serviced Apartments in November, you will receive Htel stroopwafels (Dutch cookies!) upon arrival! More information about the conditions and to book can be found here.