People frequently respond, “Oh, Amsterdam,” when you mention traveling to the Netherlands. Kinderdijk, Giethoorn, and Zaanse Schans are also popular. The Dutch experience cultural traditions clogs and cheese. But if you ask a local, they’ll have a different answer.
Discover Dutch culture and customs
First, context. The Netherlands is a 17-million-person country bordering Germany and Belgium in Northwestern Europe. The North Sea borders the country’s west and north.
The sea and water play a big role in Dutch history and life. One-fourth of the Netherlands is underwater. Dikes and dunes make the country bigger. Famous polish lands were acquired and lost over water.
The Netherlands’ fight against sea or river overflow has been crucial throughout history.
The Netherlands, unlike Denmark, is seafaring. The Dutch expanded their 17th-century empire into Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Colonialism shaped Dutch culture.
Stone Age humans inhabited the Netherlands. The Netherlands became a monarchy in 1814. 1830 saw its current shape.
Here are 7 Dutch traditions that showcase the country’s culture.
Holland Cheese – Dutch culture
Dutch cheeses include Gouda, Edammer, and Reypenaer. There are 300 dairy farms in the Netherlands.
Cheese production in the Netherlands dates back to 800 BC. Our love of cheese has earned us the Dutch nickname ‘cheese head’
Cheese is eaten for breakfast or lunch, with bread or mustard, or as a drink complement.
Taste Dutch cheese to learn its culture. Cheese tasting includes a factory trip and process explanation like a beer tour.
Locals prefer Reypenaer tours over those in Gouda and Amsterdam. This is the cultural tradition of the Netherlands You must try it!
Also try Dutch beer – Dutch culture
The Netherlands is home to several breweries, including Heineken, Hertog Jan, Texels beer, and De Leckere. Dutch breweries offer tours and tastings. You can tour the brewery and learn about its history.
Since 1 AD, the Dutch have made beer. Until the Middle Ages, monks brewed beer. In the Netherlands, beer is more popular than wine.
Dutch people socialize over beer. Heineken is the most famous Dutch beer abroad, but it’s a special occasion beverage for locals. Many prefer different labels.
Take a brewery tour to learn about Dutch beer culture. Or, order a beer from the tap at a pub or terrace like the natives. This is the cultural tradition of the Netherlands You must try it!
The Netherlands commemorates King’s Day on April 27. King Willem-birthday. Alexander’s
In the streets and canals, everyone wears orange and celebrates. Traditions include messy sales, musical performances, and traditional games. King’s Day celebrations in Amsterdam have plenty of beverages.
Tourists can celebrate King’s Day. First, wear royal orange. You can wear red, white, or blue instead of orange (the colors of the Dutch flag).
Locals in smaller cities and villages have the edge on King’s Day. King’s Day New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Utrecht, Uden, The Hague, and Rotterdam.
Attend the King’s Day festival and celebrate until dawn. Utrecht’s nightlong bargaining begins at 7 a.m. and ends in the afternoon.
Check the date. Formerly on April 30, King’s Day is now on April 27. If 27th is a Sunday, King’s Day is on 26th. This is the cultural tradition of the Netherlands You must try it!
Winter canal ice skating – Dutch culture
When the Dutch water freezes, everyone wants to skate. Will there be Elftstedentocht if the cold persists?
Elfstedentocht skates across 11 Friesland cities. Locally known as the tocht der tochten, it began in 1909 and ended in 1997.
Even without Elfstedentocht, the Netherlands has plenty of ice skating options. Traditional food and drink are sold on ice.
People skate when the winters get colder. Koek and zopie stalls are a 17th-century Dutch tradition, but their menus have altered. Today, koek consists of gevulde koeken (butter dough biscuits loaded with almond flavouring), and zopie, traditionally alcohol, has been replaced by hot cocoa, glühwein, or even soup—split beans.
Skate on natural ice if it’s thick enough. Skating is a popular winter activity in the Netherlands. End it with noek and zopie pictures.
Nijmeegse Vierdaagse is the world’s largest multi-day procession and celebrates Dutch love of the outdoors, sport, and a healthy lifestyle.
Annually on the third Tuesday of July. Participants walk 30, 40, or 50 kilometers a day over four days, seeing beautiful scenery and tiny villages. Participants traditionally stay in villages, where many families welcome tourists. Nijmeegse festival is finally held.
In 1909, army personnel organized the march, but that has changed. Nijmeegse is globally famous, attracting Dutch and international participants.
Since 1970, the march’s celebrations begin the previous Saturday and end the following Friday. Join the parade or the Nijmeegse festivities. If possible, stay at a local residence to learn about Dutch culture.
Remember the Netherlands’ largest park: Veluwe
Veluwe is a big Dutch park in Gelderland. Forests, heather, and driftwood characterize it. Locals claim this is the country’s most picturesque area.
Dutch weekenders head to Veluwe. Hiking and cycling are popular here.
Veluwe was glacial. During the Saale Ice Age 150,000 years ago, lateral moraines formed. Before then, rivers dropped sand, gravel, and clay. Saale era river deposits formed towering ditches.
Middle Ages tree cutting allowed powerful winds to stick on sandy soil. So, sand drifted.
Hoge Veluwe National Park is a national gem worth exploring by bike. The Veluwe is a great spot to attempt cycling away from city traffic. This is the cultural tradition of the Netherlands You must try it!
Scheveningen was fun, too.
The Netherlands’ 523 km of coastline includes 82% beaches. Locals love the seaside, but few tourists do.
Locals appreciate Scheveningen near The Hague. Scheveningen was the Netherlands’ first beach resort, founded in 1818. In the 1950s, it gained popular with the working and middle classes.
Locals take the train or drive to Scheveningen on beautiful summer and spring days. During peak season, it’s hard to store towels.
Train and tram to Scheveningen. Eat fish and ice cream on the beach, stroll the pier and boulevards, and enjoy a Dutch afternoon.