DutchReview is a Dutch magazine for expats, Dutchies with an international taste, Internationalists with a Dutch appetite, in short: anything involving Dutchness. Our content is a mix of themes related, but not restricted, to culture (both refined and popular), politics, history, opinions, lifestyle, and backgrounds. We strive to bring you factual, topical, and also humorous writings.
With King’s Day last month, I couldn’t help but get a little bit melancholic about not living in Amsterdam anymore. I moved away with my boyfriend in 2016, after spending 9 years in the Dutch capital. Although my profession as a freelance copywriter has allowed me to visit many awesome places and work from very exotic locations since then, I do get a little “homesick” once in a while. And not only because of the magic green plants the city is famous for… (ah, life in Amsterdam)
Dutch festivities are the bomb
King’s Day and other crazy festivities like Gay Pride are definitely majorly missed. It doesn’t help seeing lots of fun-filled pictures come across my FB and Instagram account for days after those epic parties. *sniff.
Those were the days – King’s Day in the sun with friends
Another thing I miss about living in Amsterdam is the time when spring is making an appearance for the first time and everyone – I mean EVERYONE – is losing their sh*t. Terraces are opening up left, right and centre (sometimes even in the water) and you only see happy and very relieved faces to have survived yet another cold, rainy and grey winter. A glass of rosé or a refreshing Hoegarden have never tasted as good as during those times when my pale skin is being touched again by those shy rays of sun.
Nothing better than a day on the water
Nothing better than cruising in the canals of Amsterdam
Speaking of…summer or those few sunny days per year are also a reminder of the good times I’ve had boating with friends while living in Amsterdam. There’s nothing better than renting a boat with a group of amigos, packing some snacks and drinks and embarking on a booze cruise through the picturesque canals of Amsterdam until it gets dark and/or no-one is able to safely drive the boat anymore. This is the life!
Sun’s out – melons out…or something like that
Food from all corners of the globe
What else? Having lived close to the Foodhallen at Kinkerstraat, I definitely miss the huge variety of food that is offered in Amsterdam. The “multiculturalness“ (I know I made this word up but doesn’t it hit the nail on its head?!) of the city is an absolute asset to everyday life. More than once I found myself daydreaming about delicious hours filled with hummus, tapas, bitterballen, sushi, roti and pho…not necessarily in that order.
Sushi, Pho, Roti…or maybe just a Dutch Cheese Tosti
Last but not least, I miss my bike. Well, technically not really, because Lac and I brought back our Amsterdam bikes when we moved, but for some reason it’s not the same as biking over cobble-stoned narrow bridges, dodging clueless tourists and not trying to fall when crossing tram tracks. Ah the memories! Biking in Amsterdam will always hold a very special place in my heart.
I think it’s time to book a ticket…
Have you had any experience with life in Amsterdam? Let us know in the comments!
In case you haven’t heard enough about it already: it is the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s a pretty big deal and it’s been spoken about all over the world. Even the American’s are going crazy, because she’s managed to bag a British prince (yum). So what if you’re a Brit who lives in the Netherlands? Here’s 3 things that you might do. Warning: I’m sarcastic as hell.
Oh, we all love a wedding…
1. Grab 24 beers from Dirk and put BBC on
We are lucky living in the Netherlands and having incredibly cheap beer (I mean, some beer here is actually somehow digestible at under 20 cent a bottle). This is the perfect time to head to somewhere like Dirk, grab a crate and do another thing that we do best: drink. It’s even better that the Netherlands provides us with the BBC with our television packages, so we can easily watch without illegally streaming it. BTW, Jillz is 2 for 5 euros, if you’re missing that cider (it’s almost like it was deliberate). OR even better, head to Gall and Gall and get hold of some Pimm’s – I’ve introduced to people to it here and they love it.
Or we could go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. (please say you got the reference)
2. Do nothing and just moan about it
Why would you watch it? You moved to the Netherlands after all. All that tax money being wasted, all that security that needs to be there, all of that unnecessary happiness. How dare that be on BBC and take over all of our fantastic day time television. Make sure you let everyone know how you don’t care about it. Write a status and say that’s why you’ve left the country (and don’t forget to tag ‘location: Netherlands’ in it). Nah, I’m kidding with this. But seriously now, are you really British if you don’t moan about it? After all, that’s what we’re fantastic at (not being patriotic and moaning, in case you missed the jist).
No, it’s fine, you can moan…maybe.
3. Have a British party and invite all your Dutch friends over (to see how mad we all are)
Nah, we’re not all mad. But it would be pretty cool for have a full blown party, with cocktail sausages, party rings, penguin chocolate bars and pringles. You could even host a British breakfast with sausages, fried eggs, bacon and beans. If you can brave the ‘beans’ that they sell in the Netherlands, go for it (urgh), or head to your nearest British shop to get hold of some Heinz. Putting your baking skills to the test, with scones, jam and clotted cream (controversial British comment: jam goes first by the way). If you don’t have any flags to hand, you get get some icing and get creative with fairy cakes or a sponge cake. Again, don’t forget the Pimm’s (Gall and Gall, guys)!
Go crazy patriotic…
As you can see, our ideas were absolutely thrilling and I know you would be truly lost without this article. But no, seriously, enjoy the day, moan about it, drink to it, eat to it, get your Dutch folk involved, being British is all part of your identity after all!
What will you be doing? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to join our DutchReview Facebook group for more DutchReview stuff!
If you’ve been true DutchReview fans, then you’ve probably seen our weather forecast for this weekend. It’s not looking too bad – especially on the Sunday. So we have been kind enough to provide you with 5 great things to be getting on with this weekend. Here goes:
1. Visit a castle
You may have seen our great article listing 7 (and a half) breathtaking castles. Well, have you been to any of them? Because I could bet that you haven’t been to them all. Well now is the perfect opportunity to explore a castle near you and learn a little bit about the history.
2. Go to Hap Stap Festival
After some delicious grub and you just aren’t sure where to go? Well Hap Stap food festival in Tilburg starts this weekend. It’s free entry and there is tons and tons of delicious food to choose from. So it’s perfect to take a group of friends who all have different tastes. Plus, there’s even a bit of entertainment to get the evening going. Click here to see our event listing for it.
Source: Hap Stap – Facebook
3. Go to Leiden Courtyard Festival
This year it’s the 10th year that the Leiden Courtyard Concert has been taking place – so it’s going to be a big one. It starts this weekend, with concerts happening all over Leiden. What’s better than standing in the sun, listening to some jazz, in a beautiful courtyard? So maybe this is an event for you this weekend! Click here to see our event listing for it.
4. Go boating
If you’ve read our weather forecast, you’ll know that Sunday is a lovely day. Not too hot and not too cold – so this is the perfect day to get on your boat and go for a jolly down the canals! Grab the nearest dog and some beers and have a perfectly chilled day. You could even just take a normal boat tour. Just don’t forget to take some rolls and Filet Americain!
5. Watch the Royal Wedding
It’s the British Royal Wedding this Saturday! If you’re a Brit, or just a person who loves a good wedding, then switch over to BBC to witness a very historical day. If you’re not at all bothered, then just pretend you are and it gives you an excuse to party.
Will you be partaking in any of these? Throw some more ideas at us in the comments! And don’t forget to follow our DutchReview Facebook group too.
So it’s that time of the week again when we say ‘hallelujah’ and run out of the office, not to return for a couple of days (well, 3 days this weekend). But the real question is, it is safe to venture outside this weekend? For the most part, yes. Are we going to catch a tan? Probably, if we catch the sun incredibly easily. For the people living in the Netherlands who are used to the high temperatures, these may disappoint you. For Brits like me, anything over 20 degrees Celsius and you’ve won us over. Sooo, what’s it going to be like?
Hint: The sun is coming back…
Saturday isn’t going to be too warm – but it’s definitely not considered cold. It’s 18 degrees Celsius, and thankfully it’s not windy at all (because that really makes the difference). The sun is only expected to show for 60% of the day, so it’s going to be pretty overcast for the most part.
Sunday is a much better day, with temperatures reaching 22 degrees Celsius, with clear blue skies for much of the day. This is a very pleasant day to go out for a walk or maybe for a bit of boating. So Sunday is definitely the day to go out.
I won’t give too much away, but it’s looking like a fine ‘ol week, with sunny spells and temperatures just above 20 degrees Celsius. So it could be better, but remember it’s only May, we have the whole summer to come. Check out Monday – it’s definitely getting better! And we have a day off too!
What will you be doing this weekend? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to join our DutchReview Facebook group for more.
Both the Dutch and the Portuguese have long stories as experienced sailors through history. This is, however, where the similarities end. Thinking of commuting with children in the Netherlands? Think again.
I was recently on a weekend city trip to Lisbon with my family and I was straight out shocked at how polite and welcoming people were to families with young children.
Commuting when pregnant
As a pregnant person who had to commute 40 minutes every morning, I discovered how rude people on trains can be. I already knew what train stations at peak hours look like the Metro of Mexico city and if you want a seat you have to fight for it. I had a whole tactic going on, where I would sneak in through the side of the doors as soon as people finished getting off and just quickly found the closest seat possible.
Many times I had to ride standing up and people would not give up a seat regardless of the huge belly popping out of my coat, and trust me, my belly was huge. There was even that time where yes, I went in front of someone to get a seat (because I knew it would not be given up for me) and that person -a working girl as well- retorted that “I was not even pregnant”. Even though I was easily 7 months in. I also clearly remember a time where just as I arrived in Leiden to get my next train, I had to lean on a wall and sit on the floor because my blood pressure went down from standing up in the train and feeling the movement. I was certain that I was going to faint.
Commuting with children in the Netherlands
Then the baby came and you would be surprised how people just don’t care. Public transportation in Holland, luckily, has designated spaces for mothers with strollers on pretty much every bus or tramway. Yet, pretty much everyday I have to actually TELL people to move away because I need the space, because having the stroller by the door of the bus or tramway is simply not safe. These people are all perfectly abled people without ‘rollators’, wheelchairs or any actual NEED for this space. I am not sure if it is worse with the teenage girls who will, maybe, one day be in my place. Or with the entitled old people that feel they deserve everything.
I recently got into a fight with a lady that had her groceries trolley in the space dedicated to babies, arguing she also had a buggy…
My experiences of commuting with children in the Netherlands:
So, I had to explain I had an actual living baby in mine and point out that even if I wanted to move away, I don’t fit in the hallways of the tramway with the stroller (while she did) and there were plenty of free seats in the tramway, which I kindly pointed out for her. Then there was a lady who thought “het is toch raar” that I was using 3 seats for my stroller + buggy board for the 4 year old in the designated area. I don’t know what is so weird about 3 people (my 2 kids and me) using a space specifically designated for people who need it, knowing that of those 3 people, 2 have paid tickets and 1 is an infant.
Commuting with children in the Netherlands is a nightmare.
It is not only that people are ignorant about respecting the spaces for the elderly, disabled, pregnant or with young children; it is that they do not spontaneously give away the space when prompted and when you gently explain, they tend to act all grumpy and defensive about the fact that you would dare to ask them. I fight this fight every single day. Sometimes I am just too tired for it, like that day last week where I had the toddler in the buggy and the baby in my arms while standing up and holding on, because the two teenage girls sitting in front of us would not move and I did not feel like telling them.
It is definitely not just me. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) has reported an increase in complaints for discrimination. Out of all discrimination cases, a massive 4,259 were reported, 35% of all of these complaints were complaints from pregnant women.
The differences in Lisbon
So, back to Lisbon. As soon as we arrived we saw signs everywhere, and I mean everywhere (even at the Starbucks at the airport) that indicated elderly, disabled, pregnant and women with young children under 2 years old, had priority.
Not only that, but as soon as they would see our family try to navigate a bus or tramway they would make space for us or even offer a seat, with a smile. Even older people (to whom we would let keep their seat).
I do not know if it is because culturally it would seem that there is a love and respect for children and families in other countries, or just basic education. Or maybe the philosophy of individualism and “get what you want” hasn’t made such an impact, but it felt like such a breath of fresh air and I definitely think a dose of everyday kindness could go a long way. I make sure to teach my girls that if we see someone who needs the seat more than we do, we move away for them and I often find myself advocating for others because I have a big mouth.
The travelling circus. Yes, we need space.
*I do want to take this opportunity to shout out to that man who actually gave me his extra ov chipkart and a seat because he saw me with my traveling circus and noticed my OV chipkart had gone negative. It made my day and restored my faith in mankind.
What are you experiences with commuting with children in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to join our DutchReview Facebook group!
Castles in the Netherlands, you know you want to visit these!
There are some pretty breathtaking castles in the Netherlands that you shouldn’t miss out on! Here is a quick guide to 8 of the most beautiful castles that Holland has to offer.
#1 De Haar Castle, Utrecht
De Haar Castle in Utrecht is considered to be the most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. Dating all the way back to 1391, the castle grounds cover more than 135 acres of land. Even though many of the original gardens were destroyed during World War II, today they have been restored back to their former glory. Multiple beautiful lakes and charming bridges can be found scattered across the castle’s grounds. However, the highlight of the garden remains the remarkable maze. The castle also functions as a site to multiple festivals and events. The most exciting (and dorky) is the Elf Fantasy Fair, where participants get to dress up as magical creatures and party all night long.
#2 Muiderslot Castle, Muiden
The Muiderslot Castle in Muiden is a medieval castle built in 1370. It is located close to Amsterdam, so it’s perfect for a quick visit if you happen to be in town. The castle is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is featured in many movies and TV shows that are based in the Middle Ages. Today Muiderslot operates as a national museum and is open for tours to the general public. In order to make the visit even more exciting, the castle has been restored to look as it would have during the 17th century.
#3 Doorwerth Castle, Arnhem
The Doorwerth castle in Arnhem is located along the river Rhine and is now home to three separate museums. Beautiful forests, meadows, and fields are located just behind the castle where visitors are allowed to cycle or hike through. Unfortunately, the castle suffered great damage during World War II. Today, the interior of the castle is restored back to its 18th-century glory. Doorwerth is also rumored to be haunted! It was investigated by the TV show Most Haunted in 2004 in an attempt to find paranormal activity. Today the castle operates as a hotel and a restaurant. So if you’re looking for a bit of a thrill and maybe want to see a ghost, this is your chance!
#4 Duurstede Castle, Wijk bij Duurstede
The one thing that stands out in Duurstede Castle is its tower, which looks like it could be home to Rapunzel. This 13th century medieval castle is located in Wijk bij Duustede, which is in the Utrecht province. Originally built as a defensive structure, today the castle operates as a catering firm. To this day the castle is still surrounded by a moat, so the only way to access it is through the drawbridge (or swimming). Even though the castle is not open to the general public at this time, it is still good for a quick picture if you happen to be in the area.
Slot Loevestein roughly translates to “Loef’s stone house”. The castle is believed to be constructed between 1357 and 1397, even though there is no official documentation to prove it. Slot Loevestein’s initial function was to collect tolls from trading ships passing through the river. However with time the construction grew bigger until it became a full-grown castle (oopsie). The castle’s museum features three important eras in the structure’s history: the Middle Ages, the State Prison period and the Dutch Waterline period. Multiple events are held in the castle throughout the year. The most popular is the Winterfeest celebration during the holiday season.
Very little is known about the history of Huis Bergh (but we do love a bit of mystery)! The castle dates back to the 13th century and is among the biggest castles in the Netherlands. It is also surrounded by a moat, which served as a powerful defense during the Middle Ages. Currently, Huis Bergh is home to a large collection of early Italian paintings and extraordinary medieval handwriting’s. The castle is also used to host weddings, so its perfect if you want your special day to be like a fairy tale.
#7 Paleis het Loo, Apeldoorn
Paleis het Loo was built between 1684 and 1686 for stadtholder-king at the time William III and his wife Mary II of England. The palace today is a state museum which is at all times open to the general public. Its interior displays original furniture, as well as objects and paintings of the House of Orange-Nassau. Paleis het Loo is also home to a library devoted to the House of Orange-Nassau. It also houses the Museum of the Netherlands Orders of Knighthood’s Chancellery displaying books and other pieces such as decorations and medals. The palace has been appointed as a national monument and is among the Top 100 Dutch heritage sites. The palace’s Dutch Baroque garden, is often referred to as the “Versailles of Holland”. The garden has been constructed in perfect symmetry with fountains, basins and statues scattered around its grounds.
Bonus Round: Valkenburg Castle, Valkenburg aan de Geul
Unfortunately, what remains of Valkenburg Castle are only ruins. It dates back to the 11th century and it’s considered unique in the Netherlands since it’s the only castle built on a hill. Over the years, it has been destroyed on multiple occasions during siege. Its final destruction took place on 10 December 1672 at the hands of Stadtholder Willem III. Today the remains of the castle are open for tours, allowing visitors to walk through the remains of what used to be a prod fortress in the Geul Valley. It’s the perfect place for a day trip!
What do you think of these castles in the Netherlands?
Are there any breathtaking castles in the Netherlands that we missed out on? Let us know if there are any other amazing castles we should visit!
Funeral insurance in the Netherlands: Why think about funerals?
Funeral insurance in the Netherlands… really DutchReview? Don’t run away just yet, this could help you or your family!
Ah…funerals, not something you’d ever want to bring up at a family party or gathering. Not something you’d think was appropriate to talk about with people on an average day. You’d probably be met with: ‘stop being so morbid!’ or ‘don’t jinx it!’ The thing is, talking about funerals is important and should be normalized. Nobody wants the stress of death, along with a mountain of debt and an awful funeral (the person may come back to haunt you for that one). So let us give you the low down of why you should be thinking about your funeral today and what could be out there to help you sort out your Dutch funeral insurance.
How much does a funeral in the Netherlands cost anyway?
Funerals aren’t something to take lightly, and certainly aren’t something can you can chuck a few hundreds euros at. Some people don’t realise, but funerals cost thousands – in fact, they’re dead expensive. On average, it costs almost €8.000 for a funeral, however the cost (depending on what you want), could be much higher.
The importance of having insurance aka an uitvaartverzekering in the Netherlands
We are going to be quite blasé, but as stated earlier, it’s expensive to die. Death is inevitable, therefore it’s something that everyone should be proactive in organising. When you do pass away, not only is this upsetting for your family, but they’d have to pull together thousands of euros (which they may not have), in order to give you the funeral you deserve. So, how can this be made easier for you all?
Well funeral insurance is the way to go (just like all of the many insurances that the Dutch love to equip themselves with). When that day comes, the insurance will pay out for the funeral. Taking the burden off your family. You also save money by doing it this way, opposed to saving up and sticking it in an account for a rainy day. The best part is that you only need to pay a small amount per month, so you would hardly notice the difference to your finances. Also, it’s cheaper per month when you start with the ‘uitvaartverzekering’ when you’re younger (for obvious reasons).
Some are a little as €10 a month… so no excuse!
Do expats need funeral insurance? You do if you want your body repatriated to your home country…
For an expat, this may not have been something that crosses your mind. However, being an expat, this means that it’s even more important to be sorting out a funeral insurance. Why, you ask? Well, chances are if something was to happen, then you would probably want your body to be taken back to your country. Depending on how far away this is (and even if it’s close it isn’t cheap), it’s either expensive or very expensive. Shipping the body back would cost more than just the average Dutch funeral total cost (and then this cost, plus the actual funeral, is huge). This highlights the importance of having funeral insurance in the Netherlands, even if you’re an expat. And don’t panic, there’s an insurance tailored for that, they’re called a ‘kapitaalverzekering’.
But I don’t know how anything about funerals…
Well as long as you know to insure yourself and understand these few important points, then you don’t have have to worry!
SO, did you know?
To be cremated or buried is more expensive on the weekend. Especially on Sunday, and even more so on a public holiday (so maybe best to avoid that one).
If someone dies, you must report it to the municipality where the death happened
If there is literally no money available for the funeral, then the municipality will cover the costs for a basic funeral.
Most cemeteries are open between 9am and 3pm on weekdays and shorter hours on the weekend, from 9am – 12pm.
Did you know this though?
More beautiful Dutch discoveries. “Uitvaart” = funeral. From the verb “varen” = to sail. So, sail away; a departure. I love how your words are made, The Netherlands #dutch#translation#language
The best and easiest way to secure a good Dutch funeral insurance is to use a comparison site. This comparison site for funeral insurance in the Netherlands is in English, so it makes it even easier for you to secure the right insurance. On this site, you can also compare the top 10 funeral insurances, so you can rest assured that you’re getting what you need for the best price.
On this site it provides you with how much you are covered for, the type of insurance, when/if you will stop paying, whether your child is covered and customer ratings. Then you can compare them all quickly and easily.
Look how easy it is to compare!
Okay, so have you clicked the link to the comparison site for Dutch funeral insurances? Then I’ll talk you through what types of insurance there is (so you don’t get confused and pick the wrong thing).
Comparing Dutch funeral insurances: what kind of funeral insurances in the Netherlands are there?
There are different insurance packages, depending on what fits your needs best:
For example, ‘naturaverzekeringen’ is a pre-arranged set package. What does this mean? Well, this means that the insurance company will directly pay the bill to the undertaker. This type of insurance tends to be cheaper, because it’s already pre-fixed.
‘Sommenverzekeringen’, is an ‘expenses only’ policy, where you get a payout for the expenses that are directly linked to the funeral and nothing else.
‘Kapitaalverzekering’, is perfect for expats or people who would like have their funeral away from the Netherlands. Once the person has passed, the insurance money (pre-set) is paid out to you to be used as you wish.
‘Combinatieverzekering’, is a combination policy, which means you have can have a combination of the insurance policies just listed. This way you can tailor it to your needs further.
So as you can see, there is a lot to think about. But hopefully us at DutchReview, and have got you well on your way to organizing your Dutch funeral insurance (as morbid as that may sound).
Have you sorted your funeral insurance out? How important is it to you? Let us know in the comments, don’t be shy!
We’ve worked together with uitvaartverzekering.nl on this article about funeral insurance in the Netherlands, they’re the experts after all!
Brexit and the Netherlands: The Dutch after Brexit
So what’s happening with Brexit and the Netherlands?
March 29, 2019 marks the date of the United Kingdom formal withdrawal from the EU. With less than twelve months in the calendar left to that date, it is time to look at how Brexit could reshape the Dutch Economy.
There’s not long to go…
Brit – Dutch Trade Outlook
The UK is the third largest export destination for Dutch goods, buying €40 Billion or 9.2% of the entirety of the Dutch exports. It is estimated that 200,000 jobs in the Netherlands are tied to trade with the UK. A particular business risk from the Brexit fallout is the Dutch manufacturing industry, which exports to the UK over €5 Billion in telephones and computers. If the UK were to leave the EU without a deal, a so-called “hard Brexit”, Dutch exports to the UK would suddenly be subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
Under this gloomy scenario, according to KPMG (a consultancy), Dutch companies could see an increase of €628 million in yearly administrative trading fees to continue trading with the UK. Perhaps the most comprehensive information of a post-Brexit economy is provided by The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), which estimates that Brexit could cost the Dutch €10 Billion annually, or 1.2% of GDP, by 2030.
What the Dutch stand to win
According to detailed analysis by Rabobank, a Dutch lender, Brexit also represents a window of opportunities for Dutch firms. As trading costs between the EU and the UK raise, the Netherlands will automatically become a more attractive trading partner for other EU members. This is particularly true for those products currently supplied by the UK to the EU in which the Netherlands happens to be a major producer of, including professional services, manufacturing and chemicals.
Brexit will also ‘incentivize’ financial institutions currently operating from London, to move to the Netherlands. This shift has already started to take place; back in the fall of 2017 it was reported that the Royal Bank of Scotland was considering moving their center of operations to Amsterdam. Also the headquarters of Unilever to Rotterdam. Similar relocation moves are being considered by Mitsubishi Financial Group from Japan and Tradeweb and MarketAxess from the United States.
Despite the benefits that Brexit may bring to the Netherlands it is commonly agreed by economists that this will not be enough to offset the costs. Luckily for the Dutch, the recent strong economic performance of the country places it in a favorable starting point. While the Netherlands is not historically known for its hills, be prepare for a bumpy ride.
How do you think the Netherlands will benefit (or not)? Or any other opinions on Brexit and the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to join our DutchReview Facebook group!
The Netherlands has dodged a tornado, when one went through the city of Viersen in Germany yesterday. It’s located close to the border of Venlo. So it was pretty damn close. Luckily, they are a rarity and they can be worse, but it’s scary all the same.
So, how bad was it?
Well no tornado is good, but 2 people were seriously injured, one of them was a firefighter hit by lightening. It also pulled off roofs and trees were uprooted.
The Netherlands offers traditional Dutch food that those visiting, or residing here are well aware of. I was wondering if somewhat similar offerings of traditional Dutch food exists in other well-traveled expat countries, and what they are called. What might Hagelslag, pannenkoeken and stamppot resemble in other countries? Finally, what do traditional “hell no” foods for each country look like? Let’s see what the UK, USA and Australia have to offer:
#1. Hagelslag On Bread:
Gotta love those mouse droppings!
Dutch Hagelslag was created by B. E. Dieperink of Venco Candy Company in 1919, inspired by a severe hailstorm (thus the name hagelslag). In 1936 it was expanded by adding chocolate sprinkles and putting it on bread. That’s when things really caught on. The Venco founder claimed ads for hagelslag, which went back to 1910. These tasty sprinkles on bread continue to be a staple food.
Australia also lays a claim to creation of sprinkles on bread in around 1920. White bread with butter covered in sprinkles and cut in triangles was a quick, cheap cake. Named “Fairy Bread”, it is still a popular item there.
The USA, not to be outdone, “invented” sprinkles in the 1930’s, called “Jimmies”. Two organizations claim this fame. One is the “Just Born” Candy Company named after the employee who ran the machine that made them. The other possible creator named “Jimmies” after a child in a Boston children’s cancer clinic. A doctor there created them and used them as an ice cream topping. They’re also found on doughnuts, cupcakes and cakes.
In the UK, they don’t care who invented them, they just put these so-called “100’s and 1000’s” to good use on any dessert.
Just don’t ask the French about who created them. They have used “nonpareils” since the 1700’s.
Good old Dutch Pancake
Another most noteworthy traditional Dutch food is pannenkoeken. It is a thin light pancake. Larger in diameter than its counterparts, it has anything-goes ingredients cooked into it. In addition it can be eaten with a syrup topping, or with powdered sugar on it rolled up.
Australian, USA and UK pancakes or griddlecakes are thicker, and often stacked on the plate with butter and syrup. Australia has smaller, thicker “Pikelet pancakes” while the USA likes buttermilk larger thick ones. UK pancakes compare more to crepes. The names may vary too. In the USA, it’s either pancakes or flapjacks. In Australia and the UK they are almost always pancakes, as flapjacks are a muesli or cereal bar there. On Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday – pancake day) the UK has held pancake races in Olney since 1445, where people race while flipping pancakes in a pan as they race. Those zany Brits!
#3. Stamppot- Comfort Traditional Dutch Food:
Dutch comfort food! Well blended.
Stamppot springs from the Dutch tradition of obliterating multiple food groups by mashing them together as a winter comfort food. A sort of mix and mash. Potatoes, vegetables and even fruit are used. You get a great mixture of all flavors because, how could you not when they are all mashed together? It seems like a good way to get kids to eat their veggies.
In the UK they have something in this category called “Bubble and Squeak”. Where do Brits come up with these great names? It seems like a children’s cartoon show. It’s not. It is left over mashed potatoes and cabbage with leftover vegetables mashed together.
Australia and the USA don’t have countrywide tradition in running over things with a steamroller. The closest may be hash with hash/mashed browned potatoes. I am sure some area family favorite recipes exist.
#4. Traditional “Oh Hell No” food:
“Hell No” Netherlands Food? Is it tame?
Everywhere seems to have some “declared delicacy” that challenges the strongest stomach, from sea slugs to monkey brains and fried spiders.
In the Netherlands, the traditional Dutch food “offering from hell” for visitors is not as terrifying as other countries. Maybe you can help me out here with other Dutch offerings? The most famous offering to torture tourists is slithering raw herring down your gullet without spilling your beer. Grab a fish tail and act like a sea lion. You love it or hate it. There is no in-between. I prefer herring in pieces with onions, but where’s the fun in that? Maybe you should just try herring ice cream instead!
In the UK, haggis tops the list (just above black pudding). I realize times were rough centuries ago, but who made this up? It’s impossible to sell its virtues. “Hey, everyone! Stop by and get some ground up sheep heart, lungs and liver mixed in with suet and oatmeal! Yum! But there’s more! It’s all sewn together in sheep intestines! Yay!”. Oddly, I’ve had haggis and it tastes better than it reads in print.
USA is BIG. Big on Rocky Mountain Oysters! Calf fries! You know… cattle testicles. Floured, seasoned and deep fried! Sometimes pounded flat (seems like adding insult to injury). Huge crowds travel to festivals to consume this “delicacy” with magical properties (none). Check out this video:
Australia, however, takes the prize. They challenge even the most “I am starving but I will die first” foods. What could be better than a nice juicy, live Witchetty grub? Definitely not Dutch food. I am all for unusual foods, but a giant moth larvae? Why? We already know you are tough as nails in the land down under. No need to prove it by eating grubs. Even a barbecued grub seems insane, yet the indigenous peoples down under love them. Watch this, you city dwelling Aussies:
So come on, Netherlands, you can do better! Or maybe it’s worse? In conclusion, either post your most mind gagging Dutch delicacy, or if you don’t have one, share one from around the world. It will help my diet when I lose my appetite!