Go Dutch: 5 Ways to Go Local in the Netherlands
As the wife of a Dutchman and a frequent flyer to the Netherlands, I know a thing or two about what is “typisch nederlands” (typical Dutch). So, if you are lucky enough to be planning a trip to this tiny, but proud nation, take my advice and Go Dutch with these 5 fun things to do in the Netherlands.
1. Eat Pancakes for dinner
The first time I ate dutch pancakes (called pannenkoeken) was when I was in college before I met my husband. It was in Amsterdam at a pancake house (pannenkoeken huis) located downstairs from the Anne Frank house. Now, every visit we make to Holland includes a trip to the local pannenkoeken huis in Oestgeest where the menu offers more than 50 different kinds of sweet or savory pancakes, as well as soup and typical desserts like apple pie and lavish ice cream confections.
2. Rent a Bike
Riding a bike is the best way to get a feel for life in the Netherlands and the most efficient way to get from one place to another. Read my other article, Bring Your Own Helmet: Biking in the Netherlands, for tips on renting a bike and exploring the Dutch countryside.
3. Try Raw Herring
Truth be told, I have never and will never eat raw herring, but eating raw herring either on its own or on a soft white roll (broodje) with onions represents the pinnacle of Dutchness. You will find food carts in most markets and town centers offering fresh herring either as a snack or to bring home to eat.
4. Sample Dutch Gin
The cafés in Holland are often tiny, but charming. For a real traditional experience, look out for what are called “bruin cafés” which translates to “brown cafés.” These are smaller, cozy places, often with a loyal clientele. All offer a decent selection of cold, cheap beer and a few house wines. But the star of the show is Genever, a dutch Gin that is often served chilled and sometimes flavored with berries (Bessen Genever). Give it a try, but go slow.
5. Visit the Local Market
Most Dutch towns have a market once or twice a week. These markets are nothing like the smaller-scale farmers markets that have started to pop up across American cities. These are the real deal: full-fledged outdoor markets selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to cheese, meat, nuts, clothing and flowers. A trip to the market is a great place to grab a quick, inexpensive lunch like a cone of french fries (patat) with mayonnaise or to sample a typical dutch treat like waffle cookies (stroopwafels).
You may also enjoy:
- 5 Family-Friendly Amsterdam Tours
- Best Amsterdam Museums for Kids
- The Fault in Our Stars Amsterdam Walking Tour
- Amsterdam Tips for Families: Attractions, Food & Transportation
- See all of the Hilton family hotels in the Netherlands
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A self-proclaimed Jersey Girl (with a soft spot for Jon Bon Jovi), Amy currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and 11-year old daughter. She picked…