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Friday 1 October 2021

Dutch products in the UK | Bringing a piece of Holland Home

What do you imagine when you think of Holland? Tulips…windmills…clogs…canals…hundreds of bicycles?

dutch tulip field

Disclosure: Paid partnership with DutchGrown

My husband was born and raised in Noord-Holland, in a small town called Bergen, where my parents-in-law still live. I spent every Xmas between 2005-2013 there (halted only by my first child being due on the 23rd Dec 2014, and then making us wait another 2 weeks before arrival!) plus some special occasions in-between, such as, Lichtes Avond, Sinterklaas and Koningsdag. 
 My husband proposed to me at the Ruinekerk – not his original plan, it should have been in the sand dunes - but I’ll tell you about that story another time! I visited wedding dress designers, Dutch cheese markets and shipped home tiny little love heart shaped sweets and Wilhelmina mints as wedding favours. Although I’m terrible at languages, and no amount of books, CDs and ‘only speak Dutch’ days have helped me – there are some words I only know in Dutch, having learnt them first in Holland! Imagine my confusion when attempting to buy a new blade for my shower screen wiper and referring to it as a ‘trekker’ in the UK (for those confused as to why I didn’t learn this word before, I grew up with just a bath at home, no shower. I met my husband at University which is when I left home).

Dutch Tulips and Bitter Ballen...

Holland for me evokes memories of New Year’s Day walks on the beach, French coffees outside the cafes, hot kaas sticks and bitter ballen at the bars, Dutch tulips in bloom in April when we would visit for my Husband’s birthday, re-learning to ride a bike every year and remembering how short I am compared to most people in the country as I desperately attempt to lower the bike seat every time!

In a country where it is normal for men to have regular facials, and teens to ‘go out’ without getting drunk - we’ve always taken it for granted that we can make our yearly trips to Holland to see family, enjoy the life and culture of the country and stock up on our favourite Dutch essentials. The last couple of years during the pandemic have really hit home just how much we miss certain sights, ways of life and products from Holland – especially as we have not been able to visit freely.

dutch tulip bulbs grown in the UK

As we are getting ready to move home to a house with a larger garden, we have been thinking about ways in which we can bring a little bit of Holland into our lives in the UK. Of course, we aren’t going to be building a windmill in the garden, or a canal around the house! We are also moving higher up a hill and so dreams of safely cycling along a flat path to get to school and back are definitely not going to happen. One of the ways we have thought about bringing some Dutch colour into our lives is by planting some Dutch tulip bulbs in our garden…either in a planter at the front, or in the garden at the back – we haven’t yet decided. DutchGrown are a flower bulb company from Holland who ship flower bulbs all around the world which have been grown from their family farm in Holland. I think this will be a lovely way to bring a more permanent piece of Holland into our UK home.

dutch tulips in bloom

Of course, growing Dutch Tulips is a more permanent way of having a little bit of Holland in the UK, but what other products would I choose to have in the UK if I could?

Aside from tulips, here is a list of our favourite Dutch products that you really must try if you get the chance!

Favourite Dutch products:

· Chocomel – the BEST chocolate milk you will ever try. It can be drunk hot or cold and is the perfect consistency, not too thin, not too thick.

· Erwten Soep – a delicious type of pea soup eaten with big chunks of chopped sausage. Yummy.

· Bitter ballen / kroketten – These are a popular meatball shaped snack eaten hot. The inside has a type of roux sauce with stock and meat and then covered in breadcrumbs and fried, served with mustard. They also come in a longer cyclinder shape called kroketten which is served on bread.

· Drop – dutch liquorice – delicious sweeties made from black liquorice. If you find these in the UK, don’t eat a whole bag in one go like my husband did, you’ll be on the loo for a while!

· Stroop Waffles – these have recently made their way to the UK and for good reason! They are made from delicious layers of toasted waffles with caramel inside. Perfect for dipping in coffee, or just eating on their own as a treat.

· Dutch Mayonnaise – I can’t tell you why this is better than anything in the UK, it just is! If you try it, you’ll know what I mean. We ran out during covid – it was a sad day.

· Brinta – a bit like ready brek but without all the added sugar. This is a fine powder to make porridge for breakfast.

· Bio Tex – The best stain remover we have found. Definitely includes some Holland magic in there.

Have you tried any of these products before? Have you successfully grown Dutch tulip bulbs at home? I’d love to know what you think.


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