While the Netherlands is commonly associated with fields of colourful tulips and windmills, there is more to the country than meets the eye! Here are some fascinating traditions in the Netherlands. 

Cheers to that! 

Heineken beer and tulips
Photo by heinekenexperience on Instagram

Did you know that Heineken beer is brewed in the Netherlands? The country’s brewing history dates back to 1AD, starting in abbeys before moving to breweries as we know it today. Beer is the dominant alcoholic drink in the Netherlands, from the popular Heineken global brand to the more local De Leckere.   

It’s gouda be good 

Cheese shop in the Netherlands
Photo by maxinenoel on Instagram

Dutch people often refer to themselves as kaaskoppen, or cheese heads. With their longstanding cheese production history, and over 300 dairy farms, it’s no wonder that cheese is so loved. Locals traditionally have cheese at breakfast and lunch, either with bread or cut into cubes with mustard to eat with a drink in hand. Keep an eye out for locally made edammer, reypenaer and gouda cheeses. 

Step up 

From a young age, the Dutch have had a love of the outdoors, exercise and healthy living instilled in them. It comes as no surprise that the Netherlands celebrate this with an annual festival called The Four Days of Nijmegen. Starting around the third Tuesday of July each year, participants walk between 30 – 50 kilometres every day for four days. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the countryside, stay in local villages and get some fresh air. 

Celebrations fit for a King 

Photo by johnblutephotography on Instagram

April 27 marks King’s Day, or Koningsdag. This is celebrated across the Netherlands with street parties and markets, with everyone donning their best orange outfits (the national colour). The King and his family also visit a couple of places in the countryside to mark the occasion, where local performances are specially put on.  


If there’s one thing you must know about the Dutch, it’s that they’re the epitome of punctual. For example, if you are invited to someone’s home for coffee, it will be ready to pour as soon as you arrive!  

On two wheels 

Photo by beyond.thejourney on Instagram

With more bikes than people, the Netherlands wholly embrace their popular cycling culture. With such flat land and cycle lanes everywhere, it’s easy to see why this is such a common mode of transport. Keep an eye out for bakfiets, special bikes with a small carriage on the front for children to sit in. 

Raw fish is a treat 

Raw herring
Photo by findyourfork on Instagram

Similar to Japan with their love of sashimi, raw herring is a much-loved Dutch specialty. You can easily find raw herring in the Netherlands, whether at a market or in a restaurant. It is typically served with raw onions and/or pickles to create the perfect bite. 

The Netherlands is an exceptional country to spend time in, whether on an Avalon Waterways river cruise or on a Globus or Cosmos tour.  

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