25 Dutch Dingen

Yup, I know strictly it should be Nederlandse Dingen (Dutch things) … but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

When you’re in Holland, either living here, visiting Dutch friends or on holiday, you are bound to run into things which seem a bit strange or that you don’t have at home. As a bit of Friday fun, I’ve compiled a list of some of these Dutch Dingen! How many can you cross off the list? Let’s play Dutch bingo!!!!!!!!!

1. Bitterballen!

C’mon… you know they had to be #1…

Read more about these little round balls of deep-fried deliciousness in Welkom op Bitterballen Bruid.

Any excuse for bitterballen...

2. Stroopwafels

Stroop = syrup/treacle, I’ll let you guess what wafel is 😉 Two thin layers of baked dough/batter/waffley stuff with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. LEKKER! 

Stroopwafels

3. Clogs

In Dutch = klompen. A wonderful Dutch stereotype…

When in Rome...

4. Bathroom Calendar

Oh yes… Dutch people hang their birthday calendars in the bathroom.

Birthday Calendar

5. Windmills

Iconic.

Windmill

6. Kaasschaaf

Meaning cheese slicer, the kaasschaaf is actually a Norwegian invention, but since their cheese is the right consistency (not too soft, not too hard) these scary devices are widely used in the Netherlands.

Kaasschaaf

7. Hagelslag

… or sprinkles as we call them in England. Not that weird, on top of your ice cream, but the Dutch eat this on bread, with butter, for breakfast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hagelslag

 8. Steep stairs

Have you fallen down a steep Dutch staircase yet? (I must confess I have…  at least twice! Damn you, wine! I thought we were friends…)

Steep stairs

9. Wearing head-to-toe orange

Also known as oranjegekte (orange madness) … this strange act happens on King’s Day and at large international sport events.

Oranje spullen

10. Bakplaat

Cook your own food at the table on a bakplaat (lit: bake plate, meaning: hot plate) particularly popular in the holidays. Read more here: Being Dutch – Part 2: Gourmetten

Gourmetten

11. Stamppot 

Meaning “mash pot”. Potatoes mashed with vegetables, often served with rookworst (smoked sausage.)

Stamppot

12. Beer served in thimbles

A nice refreshing pint after a long day… think again! Ask for a biertje and you’ll receive a thimble of the amber nectar. Remember the glass your Nan gives you for sherry at Christmas? Yep, that’s it.

Beer

13. Smeerkaas sambal

Spread cheese with sambal (a hot sauce made from chilli peppers). If you’re thinking of moving to Holland: make THIS the reason. It’s worth it, I promise.

Smeerkaas sambal

14. Ja/Nee and Nee/Nee stickers

The Dutch solution to junk mail. Ja/Nee = Yes to the free local paper(s) but No, I don’t want leaflets, brochures and other crap.

Nee/Nee = no mail that is not personally addressed to them. Clever, huh?

Ja Nee

15. Slow signs

Supposedly a visual sign to warn you that should slow down and/or that kids are playing. I think they’re little aliens directing the spaceship where to land. (Good cover story, though.)

Slow

16. Drop

Dutch people love liquorice. They also think it’s a funny game to try and feed it to unsuspecting foreigners! You have been warned!!

Liquorice choices

© Autopilot / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

17. Wisdom tiles

Tegeltjes wijsheid: An old tradition where wisdom is shared through tiles often with a humorous twist.

Wisdom tiles

18. Cycle paths

We all know that the Dutch love to cycle… and many cycle paths are red, so that people (tourists) are warned to stay off them. But what happens now?!?!?! Arrrrrgggggghhhhhh!

Cycle path

19. Raw Haring

Ok, so herring isn’t that weird. But the Dutch like to eat it raw. Tip your head back, grab the fish by the tail and Bob’s your uncle! 😀

Haring

20. Mayonnaise with a side of chips…

Remember the infamous Pulp Fiction quote?

VINCENT: … you know what they put on french fries in Holland instead of ketchup?

JULES: What?

VINCENT: Mayonnaise.

JULES: Goddamn!

VINCENT: I seen ‘em do it man, they fuckin’ drown ‘em in it.

Patat

© Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The best of the rest (aka the ones I don’t have a photo for…)

21. White leggings – noooooooo! Just noooooo!

22. Bakfiets – a traditional Dutch tricycle with a large box for transporting cargo e.g. – children!

23. Lack of curtains – ever wondered what your neighbours do in the evening? Take a leisurely stroll down your street and find out!

24. Tiny sinks – with cold water. The Dutch – cheap? Naaaaaaaa.

25. Red trousers – see point 21.

So, how many did you get?

Anything you’d like to add to the list?

Hayley x

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112 comments

  1. How could you miss this off the list: flessenschraper?! If Dutchies pay for something, they must get their moneys worth, which means draining every last drop of vla, jam, or whatever from the bottom of the jar/bottle/carton. So they actually have a gadget to do it, and have no shame in bringing it out at the table in front of guests either! I suppose they are useful, I must admit, but it makes me laugh!

    Also fireworks. They’re not exclusive to Dutchies of course, but, come new years eve, if you value your life, you’ll understand what I mean….don’t go out! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Crikey!! Never heard of it! Just Googled it… and I’ll be heading down to my local Blokker tomorrow to get one… 😉 Ha! Wonders never cease with the Dutch and their thriftiness!!

      I’ve spent the past five New Year’s Eves on a rooftop in Amsterdam at my friend’s house, so I know all about the fireworks! (Thankfully, we’re far away from them = good view without the fear of getting a rocket in your head!) 😀

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          1. True story: Don’t ever give a bottle scraper to a lesbian or a lesbian couple. She/They won’t stop laughing. Because we call it pottenlikker and pot is also used for saying dyke (in a rude way).

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    2. And you forget “de pannenlikker” hahahahahaha. That take the rest of your food out of the pot or pan. BTW: I’m Dutch but I have no “flessenschraper” and no “pannenlikker”. Not all Dutchies are that kind of people. None of my big family and or many friends, just one sister love that kind of “things”.

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    3. It’s called a flessenlikker. Honest. My wife’s favorite Dutch word. We still have one 18″ long to reach down into bottles of kwark or whatever.

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    4. And what about the oldfashioned “flessendruiper” from the fifties/sixties, I think is was a Tomado product, where you could hang your yoghurt or vla-bottle up side down so the last bits dripped out overnight.
      Now you use a “pakkenpers”: squeezes the last bit of yoghurt or vla out of the carton

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  2. I grew up with a cheese schliff, which I’ve just realized seems to be more of a German word. Oddly, it wasn’t my American father (of German ancestry) who introduced it to the family, but my Scottish mother. I’ve been regularly surprised to find it doesn’t seem to be a common British kitchen item. The funny thing is that I always had one in the US, but don’t have one now that I live here. Probably because we tend to just buy the already sliced kaas.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Side note: ‘kaasschaaf’ translates to ‘cheese grater’, not ‘cheese slicer’. The ‘schaaf’ part is from the verb ‘schaven’, which means to grate. (This verb also means to graZe, as in, je elleboog schaven means to graze your elbow.)

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  3. Hahaha very nice list. I loved it. I may have some additional points for the people who already completed it.
    Eating kroket, frikadel, kibbeling and hema rookworst is a must, so is drinking jenever. Then we have some celebrations that you must have experienced at least once: Sinterklaas, Carnaval in a city in the South, 5th of May in Wageningen, King’s Night in The Hague and King’s Day in Amsterdam.
    Also you are not really Dutch if you never threw a BBQ while the temperature outside is below 15 degrees, never crossed a red light by bicycle, never fell off a bike drunk, never smoked a joint and you’re not addicted to cheese.
    Cheers,
    Micky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Micky! Ha ha! Yes, kroket and frikandel are a must! I wrote a post a little while ago about the Dutch and their love of deep-fried snacks: https://bitterballenbruid.com/2014/02/18/deep-fried-snacks/
      This year will be my first Sinterklaas in Holland, I’m looking forward to it!
      Ha ha ha… totally true about the Dutch BBQing whatever the weather!! Thanks for your comment, really good to hear your thoughts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you haven’t celebrated Sinterklaas yet. When did you arrive here? Last winter the neighbours had their first BBQ in February haha… Well it wasn’t freezing or raining, so it’s pretty understandable. 😀

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              1. Yep… I also usually advise my foreign friends to come around that time. Queens Day and Liberation Day used to be within a week from each other. Plus it’s the time of the tullips, in case they’re interested. And last but not least: it’s out of season, so flights are usually cheap.

                Liked by 1 person

      2. Most of the items were familiar to me for being typical for my country. But I never realised those winding staircases in houses are actually not around in other countries. It’s a treat from a 1970’s home design that really got adopted and built everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. well… since I was born and raised in Delft… I highly doubt it. Especially since I rarely drink, I don’t smoke and don’t ever intend to start and am not particularly fond of cheese.

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    2. The Hema rookworst will be served hot in the Hema shop. You eat it while you are walking through the shop and in the street, the fat drooping along your cheek, haha

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Actually , smoking a joint isn’t a Dutch must-do at all. Probably 90% of the Dutch.has never touched the stuff, we don’t care about it because its nothing special to us. We regard it as a typical touristy thing. So if you never smoked a joint you probably ARE Dutch 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you for about 50%. Yes, smoking a joint is nothing special and therefor most Dutch people don’t really care too much about it. But I would rather say 90% has ever done it. I stick to my poit that weed is smt we are famous for all over the globe and if you never tried it…..

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      2. U clearly are not from around here.. Since about 80% ppl i know have smoked a joint, and it doesnt matter what age. I gues it just depends on the people u grow up with.

        For ur info, the tourist part only counts for amsterdam, in our city we have 6 shops, 90% of visitors are locals

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      1. Then you Should also try eating diagonal. Start eather in the left OR right top box and eat Your way down to the other corner Below. Before OR after Your visit to the pub.

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  4. Have you ever tried this: sambalsmeerkaas with fresh strawberries. Delicious! Or sambalsmeerkaas on a krentenbol ❤
    NYE: oliebollen! Best treat of the whole year!
    And my English friend eats at least 20 kaassoufflé's whenever she comes to visit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In what part do you live? Let me guess, in a big city in de Randstad. I live in the North. in De Kop Van Overijssel to be more exact. the nature there is beautiful. (not in the city of course) but it’s worth to grab your bike or walk in that part. I live almost in a national park and it is beautiful. If I bike my 10km to school I can’t explain how beautiful it is. hope you could see it once! (or a few times haha)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I luckily never fall on Dutch-amazing-stairs… Awww..yiss…
    and..umh… hagelslag for breakfast (and lunch)? It just ok..
    it’s common here in Indonesia as well…XD

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  7. Have you already went to Zandvoort or Scheveningen on a windy day. We call it ‘uitwaaien’ it’s like go to the beach when the winds are really strong and start walking or at least try. You should also go to the beach of Zandvoort on a hot and sunny day. It’s amazing there is one road to Zandvoort and to many people try to pass it. When you have arrived you can’t see the beach any more… But after 2 hours of looking for a place it’s really nice. Then you can lay down, swim and eat kibbeling (fried fish)

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  8. Apparently, “broodje filet americain”, and “broodje filet american speciaal”.

    According to Wikipedia this is actually a very specifically Dutch way to serve steak tartare.

    I’ve gone the other way and live in Kent in the UK at the moment and there is nowhere I can get this 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One typical Dutch thing that annoys me as a Cloggie: We celebrate 05th of may as the day we were freed from the Germans (WW2) but it is no an official holiday (only once every 5 years) while the government is promoting that day to celebrate your freedom?
    And hagelslag with pindakaas, as George Hansen suggested, is great. Also Pindakaas with Vruchtenhagel is great. Try it and let us know.

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  10. Love all of these, but I’m not a fan of sugar (don’t like it) so the hagelslag on my boterham is a no-no for me.

    You really should try the sambal smeerkaas with Bugles (the nachos version in a tipi shaped fruit basket)
    Just dip it in the cup so it fills quite rich and hop away. You can also dip them and stick them in one another and serve as a great “slinger” on your party dishes. When you want to take just one, more get attached due to the cheesy filling and you do not have to excuse yourself of taking a bunch at once (it was the hosts fault :p )

    As for the “drop” joke: YEAH!! We love doing that. Funny everytime LMAO.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would remover number 15. It’s not Dutch. Notice the english text on the thing? I have seen one of those only once in NL and they are clearly import from.. the US? Britain? You tell me. Not Dutch.

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    1. Actually that’s not true, in other countries such as Spain there’s a lot more weed smoking going on, also more publicly. In The Netherlands you can easily get fined by the police for smoking in public, especially if it’s near a coffeeshop – they expect you to smoke it inside the coffeeshop, keeping it away from the street. I’ve had numerous fines for it – still don’t stop doing it though, haha.

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  12. I just discovered your blog and as a Dutchie i really like it! It’s really surprising to discover that some of our habits are considered ‘weird’ or ‘different’. I didn’t know that mayonnaise with fries is a uncommon thing in other countries?:) Now i’m really curious what you guys eat with your fries 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! In England we do eat chips with mayonnaise… But the point is more that the Dutch “drown” them in it! 🙂 We tend to have a small blob of mayo on the side. We also eat chips with tomato ketchup or just salt and vinegar!

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      1. yeah, the chips with vinegar. And people make fun of the Dutch mayo. Brrrrrrrrr that vinegar chips combo is just nasty! 🙂 I like all the different habits in the various countries, your site is a good writeup!

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      2. I am Dutch and live in Indonesia (Bali). Chips (patatjes) are eaten here with sambal and sometimes with ketchup. When I put a blob of mayonaise on it and/or mustard, my family looks at it but would not try it.

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  13. Just discovered your blog, loving it! I could be wrong, but as fellow spelling and grammar nazi, I think you incorrectly used i.e. at 22. Bakfiets.
    Good luck 🍀 and much fun on writing (you) and reading (me)!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi hayley!

    I’m dutch and i think you are missing one in my opinion..

    Drumrolls..

    Dutch housedocters (a.k.a. The paracetamol guy!). Go to a Dutch housedocter for any problem and he will say “take 6 paracetamol a day”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Don’t forget about salmiak! In lollypops, sweets or just as a powder. You have to be born here to like it. And it is great to trick foreigners into eating the sweets. Sweet on the outside and without any warning they get a taste of the salty powder in their mounths! Just too funny!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s Hilarious! There’s also sweet salmiak available, but the salty kind tastes better in my opinion. And -off course-: results in more fun with foreignors :-p

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    1. Trekdrop dipped in the salty salmiak powder. Lick the salmiak off and continue dipping. You will keep going until your stomach cannot stand anymore. Mouthwatering already!

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  16. No offense but almost all of the comments here I cannot relate to as a Dutch. Some mention weeds, yet the truth is only 26% of Dutch ever tried this during their lifetime. Typically Duch is the afternoon off for elementary school on Wednesday, Dutch birthday parties where people sit in a circle in a chair sometimes even eating their cake in boring silence. Going to a general practitioner before you can see a specialist. Biking everywhere regardless the weather, having to bike to high school for many km every day, and every member in the family owning St least one bike. Eating bread for breakfast and lunch, with a slice of cheese on top and milk on the side. Being unapologetically direct in your communication. Eating fried lekkerbek with garlic sauce. Eating negerzoenen (negro kisses). Talking negative, complaining to make a conversation while not actually being unhappy: zeikcultuur (whine culture). Open communication about sex (esp between kids and parents). 15 year old kids discussing details about their sex life with mom and dad or having their teen partner sleepover are completely normal. Also Dutch, always wearing shoes everywhere in the house, even if you stepped in poo on your walk home.

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  17. I love drop! ♥ but i really hate stampot. Who the hell thought you food would taste better if you smash it and then mix everything together -.-

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  18. The Kapsalon is also a Great “Calorieënbom” this is a metal bin with different layers of fries dönner, melted cheese and lettuce. And each “Turk” who sells it says that he had discovered this.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As a born and raised dutch guy, it really cracked me up to read this stuff. the funny thing is that your findings are quite accurate, but reading how a foreigner looks at our strange dutch habits makes me chuckle and proud at the same time.

    Thank you;)

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love both the list and the comments. As a Dutchie living abroad, I miss a lot of this stuff… By the way, I imagine that each dutch person has tried weed at least once (like me), just to see what all that fuzz is about… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What about Haagse Hopjes? (Coffee sweets)
    The humongous pancakes with apple and bacon or the poffertjes
    Draadjesvlees….
    Sinterklaas
    And not to forget the good old mattenklopper (to beat dust out of carpets)
    And the fietspomp (to pump up the tyres of your bicycle)
    And not to forget an onderzetter, so that you can put the cooking pots on the dining table…..

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  22. Here’s another real Dutch treat: “Broodje halfom.” It means bread with sliced liver and salt meat. (lever en pekelvlees) Found nowhere else in the world, sounds disgusting but is delicious.

    Have you ever tasted the following?

    Hutspot = garrets and onion mashed with potatoes
    Zuurkool = sour cabbage with potatoes
    Bloedworst = blood sausage usually consumed with sliced warm apple
    Taai Taai = a sort of cookie traditionaly eaten at Sinterklaas. Translated it means Tough Tough because it is pretty hard to consume.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. If you are in the area of Rotterdam, ask for uierboord. Uierboord is cooked cow udder, which you can eat as cold meat on bread with pepper, salt and mustard or just a piece of cold meat, just like leverworst or salami.

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  24. The daughter of Kamerlingh Onnes used to tell how Einstein, while staying with them in Leiden, saw for the first time some hagelslag korrels, scattered around and took them for mice droppings.

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  25. I once (almost) had a Norwegian girlfriend, but she claimed they had invented the kaasschaaf and I just couldn’t handle it. I fell for her white leggings……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of scientific research must’ve preceded the many percentages given for people having smoked weed. I particularly like 26% , you can’t make that up. As the actual percentage lies somewhere between 26 and 90%, I conclude it to be proven you’ve all been on the stuff!

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  26. Funny, we (the Dutch) would say we have the birthday calander in our toiletroom, not in our bathroom. (We usually have separate toiletrooms)

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