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Must-try food in the Netherlands: 13 best recommendations

Interested in tasting some of the must-try food in the Netherlands? When your friends ask you what kind of typical Dutch food you tried when going abroad, you have to come up with some more than just liquorice. For people abroad, it’s hard to imagine what it is. So, to help you a bit, I made a list of our favourite snacks from this little speck on the map called the Netherlands. Oh, and written by a Dutchie, so I know what I’m talking about.

This way your friends from home will know exactly what to expect of the sometimes crazy, sometimes weird food when they are visiting you or when you travel back to your home country. Our personal favourites: #2, #11 and #12! Especially #12 is something nobody can do as good as the Dutchies!

Recommended food in the Netherlands

1: Stroopwafels

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Syrup waffles or stroopwafels as called by the Dutch are most likely the treat you make everyone smile with. Two checkered waffles where a thick layer of syrup is spread. If you want to try the best ones, buy one fresh at the market. They are made just in front of your nose and are even better when they’re still warm. Another great tip is to get stroopwafel kruimels, or syrup waffle crumbs.

Most of the time you can score them for a tiny price at the market and they add a lot of hot syrup on top of them. I might think this is even better than the waffles itself. The people who know when will instantly start to beam when you say you took stroopwafels for them, which is amazing to see. Oh, and do you want to eat a very special one? At  Van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam (Leidsestraat 13) or at Waffle in Utrecht (Vismarkt 12), you can also get specially decorated waffles. These don’t only look amazing, but also have a great taste!

2: Kroketten or bitterballen

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The first thing which is fried in this list. Okay, the so-called ‘frituur’ is quite popular in the country and this is by far the most popular snack.

Kroketten are breaded, deep-fried creamy sticks filled with meat ragout. Bitterballen are a small version of the kroket, and is great as a snack to share. Just be warned, they are extremely hot when you get them served, so try not to burn your mouth.Most Dutchies like them so much they start eating them a bit too fast as well, so don’t be surprised when someone starts acting a bit strange when taking the first bite. Do you want to make it even more Dutch? Take them out of the wall at a snack bar like FEBO!

3: Stamppot

Typocal food in the netherlands

A typical Dutch dinner is stamppot, where there are a lot of different versions from. Dutchies are known for mashing and this is the ideal example. Not something to be very proud of, especially when comparing with the cultural high’s from Italy, but there is not a lot to change on age-old eating habits.

Luckily they are getting more creative with this dish the last few years, and you will be able to find some hip versions like sweet potato, feta or potatoes with broccoli, mustard and cheese. Imagine an Unox rookworst (smoked, salt sausage), a dollop of apple sauce and you are incapable of making this dish even more Dutch! Stamppot used to be a winter dish, but nowadays this is eaten all year round!

4: Patatje oorlog (or friet met mayonnaise)

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Dutchies can’t get enough of potatoes, and we are known for frying a lot of things. Yes, you can expect it, and there are some special versions of these fries, which is called patat in the Northern part of the company.

What makes the Dutch fries so special is the way we eat it. An all-time favourite is a frietje met, which is fries with a lot of mayonnaise.

If you want to take it one step further, you can go for a patatje oorlog. Fries covered in peanut sauce, mayonnaise, curry and shredded raw unions. It might sound a bit weird, but give it a try!

5: Poffertjes

Poffertjes dutch pancakes

Small, puffed pancakes covered in powdered sugar with a bit of butter which is melting on top. You can get this snack at festivals or events, but they are quite expensive sometimes.

Most children have this on their list of favourite food, and luckily you can also buy them in the supermarket! Ultimate nostalgia and typical Dutch for me. You will be very happy when trying these!

6: Haring

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You either like it or not, herring. A lot of tourists who visit the Netherlands will have a strange look when they see people conquering a raw fish with raw unions at the fish stall, and honestly, it isn’t the prettiest way you eat the food.

Tradition is taking the herring as it is called in English by the tail, bend your head back and start biting in it from the bottom.

For most Dutchies, it is a joyful moment when the Hollandse Nieuwe (type of herring) is available again. Want to taste the original herring? Go to Volendam, a small fishing village which is very popular for their herring!

7: Drop

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As happy as you can make people with syrup waffles, as nasty you can make them look when serving drop.

Drop, or liquorice, even if it is sweet instead of salt, if you are not known with this it might taste very weird.

Do people really eat this food in the Netherlands? Yes, liquorice is a popular type of candy in The Netherlands, and most people even like the very salty ones!

8: Tompouce or Bossche bollen

Two layers of puff pastry, the top one covered in a pink glaze with in between a thick layer of confectioner’s cream. The pink will be replaced by orange for some national events like kings day or important games of the national football (or soccer) team.


Everyone has their own way of eating the pastry. If it’s 100% Dutch? There is a comparable pastry made in Slovenia which is called bled cake, but for most Dutchies the tompoes feels like a typical Dutch dessert. Another pastry is a Bossche bol, which is a large eclair covered in a thick layer of chocolate. The pastry is mostly eaten in the south and was invented by a baker in s Hertogenbosch where you can still eat the original pastry.

Jan de Groot (Stationsweg 24) is the place to be, but you might need to wait in line if you don’t make a reservation!

9: Cheese

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You are most likely familiar with Gouda, Edam or Maasdam, but if you visit the Netherlands, there are several different kinds.

As real cheeseheads Dutchies think the options abroad are more like yellow plastic, so you should definitely try it when visiting The Netherlands.

Boerenkaas or Old Amsterdam, Dutchies are very good at producing cheese. Visit the cheese market in Gouda or visit a cheese farm on the Dutch island Texel!

10: Gevulde speculaas

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Okay, we came to the part of real winter food. Gevulde speculaas is only available if you visit the Netherlands in the winter and the taste fits winter perfectly. Two layers of speculaas filled with sweet almond paste.

They also eat it in Belgium and Germany, but this is something which dominated the Dutch households. 

11: Pepernoten

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Pepernoten, or most of the times called kruidnoten are small, round, cookie-like confectioneries with a crispy texture, traditionally associated with the early December Sinterklaas activities in The Netherlands. Although the cookies have the same kind of taste like the gevulde speculaas from the previous food, this is a completely different snack.

For a lot of Dutchies, pepernoten are something which you can only get during the festivities, although last year they started to pop-up in the supermarkets around the beginning of September. Be warned, after 5 December, when Sinterklaas is, you will not be able to get them anymore. Even better are the ones covered in chocolate. It is most likely a good thing these are not sold all year round since I think more Dutchies would suffer from obesity than. 

12: Oliebollen

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Another thing that cannot be missed in this list, oliebollen! From the end of October you can find the stalls in the city and you can order these large dough balls in large amounts. They are actually a snack from New Year’s Eve, but most people try to score them a bit earlier in the year already. Just like you kick-off summer with some nice Italian ice cream, you need to kick-off winter with a large, covered in powdered sugar, oliebol!

I think the best ones are the versions which are filled with raisins and apple, but they all taste great! Tip, the best ones are most of the times made by bakers, because they use a different kind of dough!

13: Snert

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Soup is of course not typically Dutch, but there is a special kind of soup you will see a lot if you visit the Netherlands during winter.

It’s snert, a green pea soup which is very thick in structure and most of the time filled with slices of rookworst, the sausage which is also used in the stamppot from #3.

Take a slice of stingray bread with cheese and your meal is complete. 

Getting excited to try all this food in the Netherlands? We have different job offers in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Eindhoven! Click here to see some of the options!

If you want more information about the Netherlands, or specific cities, you can click HERE.