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destination • November 2nd, 2021

Food culture in the Netherlands


The Dutch are known for their down-to-earth mentality and this translates into their food. Easy recipes with nutritious ingredients form the basis of Dutch cuisine. But what about their eating habits in more practical terms? We explored this topic for you and will tell you how the Dutch food culture consists of three solid meals a day.

Home food

At home, breakfast usually starts as soon as you wake up, and includes bread with a topping of your own choice, such as Gouda cheese, peanut butter or ‘hagelslag’, the Dutch variant of chocolate sprinkles. Another option for breakfast is yogurt or milk with cereal and fruit. Warm foods like eggs are rarely eaten for breakfast on weekdays but can be part of a more elaborate breakfast during the weekend, when there’s more time to prepare a bigger breakfast.   

For lunch, the Dutch start quite early, between 12:00 and 12:30. Usually, lunch also consists of bread, but sometimes extended with other foods like eggs, meat or fish. Full hot meals for lunch are pretty uncommon in the Netherlands, but having a salad for lunch is becoming a more popular option nowadays.   

Dinner is usually served between 17:00 and 19:00. These early dinner hours stem from the Dutch work traditions, back when farmers still had some work on the land to attend to in the evening hours. Nowadays dinner is a cozy family affair, where everyone joins in and sits around the table to discuss the events of the day. 

Restaurant food

The Dutch enjoy dining out and love exploring culinary trends. You can do this in all kinds of restaurants throughout the Netherlands. From luxury high-end star restaurants with haute cuisine dishes to quick sandwich shops and snack bars, you will find them all in this small country.   

An interesting restaurant dining etiquette that finds its origins in the Netherlands is “going Dutch”. It means you split the bill and each person pays for their own meal. It’s still a very common thing to do among the Dutch.  

Discover Dutch food for yourself

Find an overview of the very best Dutch restaurants here. You can easily book your table through our website and experience fine Dutch haute cuisine for yourself.

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