Are you Vegan and traveling to The Netherlands soon? Let me share some tips, advice and other valuable information on how to survive as a Vegan in The Netherlands.
Veganism in The Netherlands
As Vegans we strife to avoid the use of any animal products. But is this easier said than done in The Netherlands?
In 1996 it was concluded that the Netherlands had a little over 1600 Vegans. At the time of writing there have not been any accurate numbers showing the growth of Vegans within the Dutch population.
However, judging from the continuously growing popular demand of Vegan options in supermarkets, cafes and restaurants and the growth of members joining organisations like Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme that number must have increased a lot.
More Vegan organisations are popping up which organize all kinds of Vegan events throughout the Netherlands. There are Vegan meet-ups, Vegan documentary screenings and Vegan potlucks. Even the media is addressing Veganism, in both positive and negative light, more often.
With that said, I want to assure you that you’ll be just fine vacationing as a Vegan in The Netherlands. With a little preparation in beforehand it won’t be a challenge.
Handy Vegan vocabulary and phrases
If you are just visiting The Netherlands for a vacation there will be no need for you to dive into the Dutch language books. Most Dutch people speak good English and are not afraid to use it.
Many products in the supermarkets and other kinds of shops come with English, Spanish, French and/or German translations of the ingredient on the back. Also majority of the restaurants in the big cities will have an English menu available. You’ll get by fine with only English.
That doesn’t mean that we Dutchies don’t appreciate you trying to speak some Dutch. So I gathered handy Dutch vocabulary for you in the hope to help you avoid animal products.
English – Dutch
- Meat – Vlees
- Pork – Varkensvlees
- Beef – Rundvlees
- Chicken – kip
- Fish – Vis
- Tuna – Tonijn
- Salmon – Zalm
- Herring – Haring
- Seafood – Zeevruchten
- Mussels – Mosselen
- Shrimps – Garnalen
- Dairy – Zuivel
- Milk – Melk
- Goatmilk- Geitenmelk
- Buttermilk – Karnemelk
- Lactose – Lactose
- Cheese – Kaas
- Butter- Boter
- Whey (powder) – Wei(poeder)
- Egg/Eggs – ei/Eieren
- Egg white – Eiwit (Eiwit can also mean Protein)
- Honey – Honing
- Soy – Soja
- I don’t eat – Ik eet geen ..
- Animal products – Dierlijke producten
- Without…- Zonder…
- Is this/that Vegan? – Is dit/dat Vegan?
- Vegan – Veganist (person)
- Vegan – Veganistisch (food)
- Vegetariër – Vegetarian (person)
- Vegetarisch – Vegetarian (food)
- Plantbased – Plantaardig
- Organic – Biologisch
- Meat substitutes – Vleesvervangers
Typical Dutch Vegan Meals and Snacks
The Dutch cuisine is amoungst the most boring cuisines I have ever come across. Luckily The Netherlands make up for it by having cuisines established from over the whole world like Chinese, Thai, Turkish, Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese, Surinamese, Indonesian and a whole lot more. Not that there aren’t any good typical Dutch dishes or ingredients. It is just that the Dutch haven’t been so creative with food.
To make you familiar with Dutch food I created a list of typical Dutch Vegan meals and snacks. If it is not typically Vegan then I have provided a link that shows how to get it Vegan or make it Vegan yourself.
Broodje Gezond (Make it Vegan!) – A baguette with cheese, deli meat, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. Skip the egg. Add little salt and pepper as finishing touch. Yeah, in The Netherlands this is called a “Healthy Sandwich”… We Vegans know better now.
Broodje met hagelslag – A slice of bread with some Vegan butter and hagelsag. The butter is to make the hagelslag stick to the bread. We eat this as breakfast. Guess it is part of the reasons why Dutch kids are some of the happiest kids in the world.
Broodje met chocoladepasta – A slice of bread with pure chocolate paste. Pretty self explanatory.
Broodje met pindakaas – A slice of bread with a Vegan peanut butter spread. Because we were told that it would make us big and strong! Dutch pindakaas is not only tasty, but it is Vegan by standard.
I used to eat all of these stews at my grandmother’s when I was a kid. They were especially good on the cold winter evenings together with the family around the table.
Patat/Friet (to be found on almost every corner of the streets)
Vegan Bitterballen – A typical Dutch deep fried snack eaten during soccer matches, when going out for a beer or birthday parties.
Lotus Speculoos – Grandparents would always have a tin box with cookies like this. To enjoy together with a cup of tea or coffee.
Vanille vla – Eaten as dessert after dinner.
Stroopwafels (find Vegan version in the natural food stores) – Anybody should try this when visiting the Netherlands!
Bamischijf – Typical dutch fried junk food eaten at snack bars. Literally deep fried noodles. The word bami comes from the Indonesian language.
Appelflappen (instead of apple, they contain plums) – Eaten during new years eve and the days leading up to it.
Appelmoes (my own healthy recipe) – Eaten with dinner, usually stamppot dishes.
Vegan Kaassoufflé – A typical deep fried snack, found at the snack bar. Consists of only cheese.
Vegan Kroket – Typical deep fried snack. The original consists out of all left over meats processed together. Never liked it growing up. But definitely try if you come across the Vegan version!
Ontbijtkoek – Literally translates into breakfast cake. Traditionally served for breakfast with a layer of butter on top.
Pindasaus (satésaus) – With roots from Indonesia, pindasaus is a is basically a spicier version of pindakaas. Depending what is added it can be spicy or salty, creamy or crunchy. Usually severed on top of saté.
A strongly spiced cookie mostly eaten during the winter months together with coffee or tea.
Going out to eat
In the bigger cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven there are plenty of Vegan options to be found. Most of the restaurants and cafes will have a Vegan option available like a hummus sandwich or a green Thai curry with rice. If a Vegan option is not available on the menu, you can always ask the staff if they are able to prepare something Vegan for you or remove certain ingredients from a dish.
Chinese, Indonesian, Surinamese, Thai, Italian and Indian restaurants will always have a Vegetarian section on their menu which most likely has a Vegan option too. Thai, Indonesian and Chinese restaurants rarely use any dairy products. At Indonesian, Chinese and Surinamese restaurants they often make use of eggs in their dishes, so be aware of that. Some Italian and Japanese places may use eggs in their pasta and noodles too.
To find more Vegan options in The Netherlands you can use the website Happy Cow or download their app. You’ll be able to find Vegan, Vegetarian and Vegan-friendly places. Also a simple search on google with the string “Vegan Nederland” plus the name of the city you are currently in reveals Vegan options near you.
Here are some nice recommended Vegan/Vegetarian places:
Vegetarische snack bar, Den Haag
Junk Food Bar, Amsterdam
Restaurant Spirit, Rotterdam & Amsterdam
Restaurant Gys, Rotterdam & Utrecht
Albert Heijn ($$)
One of the biggest supermarket in The Netherlands is the Albert Heijn. You’ll find it all across the country. From big XL supermarkets to small Albert Heijn To Go convenient stores at the train stations. I’m proud to say that over the years their selection of Vegan products has expanded.
Nowadays any Albert Heijn has some type of Vegan meat replacement. Not only tofu or tempeh, but also falafels, Vegan chicken, Vegan shoarma, lentil or couscous burgers and more. Many will have marinated tofu, cut into chunks to save you some extra time in the kitchen. Recently they even started selling Vegan cheese from Wilmersburger. Daily fruits and vegetables are to be found in the Albert Heijn as well.
Other supermarkets that sell Vegan products are Jumbo($), Hoogvliet($) and Plus($$). I like the Plus the most from all the common supermarkets.
If you are lucky to have an Ekoplaza around definitely go an visit it. It’s an organic supermarket with tons of Vegan products. Ekoplaza is very neat, bakes fresh bread everyday and also has a fascinating natural hygiene and beauty section. From time to time I love to get fresh vegetable or fruit juice there.
Marqt is a very nice, high class-looking supermarket. Their standards for quality and sustainability are high. They have organic and non-organic products, but what they care for the most is that their products are made with love and care. You can only pay there with card.
VeganSuper in Groningen
It was like a dream come true for me when I heard the very first Dutch Vegan supermarket opened their doors in The Netherlands. The lucky bastards who live in Groningen have the privilege to walk through isles full of Vegan-Only products and produce. The VeganSuper has an incredible assortment of about 2000 items of which 60 percent is organic.
Veggie4U in The Hague
Another supermarket I recommend is Veggie4U located in The Hague. They are a completely Vegetarian supermarket with many Vegan products from over the whole world. They sell meat, fish and dairy alternatives, candy, fresh produce and more. The cool thing about this supermarket is that you can get complete ready made Vegan meals as well as sandwiches. Be aware that not everything is Vegan, so take an extra good look on the ingredient list before you buy something.
Not only across the country side of The Netherlands will you find big markets selling fresh produce, clothing and baked goods, but also in and around the biggest cities. Ask the locals or hotel staff where and when to find the nearest market. Go as early as possible as it won’t be busy, or go a couple of hours before closing time and see if you can get some good deals on left over fruits and vegetables. I once heard of someone buying 10 avocados for one euro!
Toko’s and corner shops
The bigger cities have many ethnic shops. We call them toko’s. Toko’s refer mostly to the Asian shops. We have shops on the corners of the streets with goods from Turkey, China, Indonesia, India and middle eastern countries. You will also be able to find products from the east of Europe, Japan and Thailand.
The Asian supermarkets are my favorite. They usually have products from over all of Asia. They sell good quality fresh fruits and vegetables.
I got requested to make a video or blog post about this topic. So I took the time to gather information and share my personal knowledge with you about how to eat Vegan in The Netherlands. If you are coming here for travel I hope this was helpful to you and you learned something.
Please ask me anything in the comment section down below if you want to know more or let me know your thoughts. Make sure to watch my video down below too. Thank you very much for reading and I hope to see you here soon again!