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Typical products and dishes from Noord-Holland

When people talk of Holland, they usually mean the Netherlands. Officially, however, Holland only actually refers to the two Dutch provinces of Noord and Zuid Holland, which together formed the province of Holland up until 1840. Holland was once the most powerful and dominant region of the ‘Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden’ (the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), and as such made a major contribution to the nation’s culinary traditions. Below is a list of some of the most well known Noord-Holland products and dishes.

Droste cacao and chocolate

Haarlem cocoa manufacturer, Droste, enjoys worldwide fame, not only for its delicious range of chocolate pastilles and cocoa powder, but also for its iconic cocoa boxes and tins that feature an image of a Dutch nurse in traditional uniform. The nurse is famously holding a tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box of cocoa that perpetuates the very same image – this unusual effect of a picture appearing within itself is now known as the ‘Droste effect’.


Duivekater, or ‘deuvekater’ in regional dialect, is a traditional white bread that is particularly popular in and around Nieuwendam, Ijmond and Zaandam. The bread, which is elongated and extremely sweet, is typically enjoyed on special occasions such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas.


An exceptionally thin and crispy biscuit that consists mainly of sugar, kletskloppen are delicious with a cup of tea or served with ice-cream dishes and vla (Dutch custard pudding). If you don’t fancy making them yourself, you can purchase authentic kletskloppen from Dutch online supermarket Holland at Home.

Jan in de zak

This tempting bread dish takes its name from the way in which it is prepared: the ingredients (mostly flour, yeast and raisins) are first kneaded into a firm dough and then wrapped in a ‘broederzak’ (a muslin bag) and boiled in a pan for two hours. Once cooked it is sliced using a string ​​and served with delicious Dutch syrup.


A delightful dessert, based on barley, currants and raisins, that can be enjoyed either hot or cold and is traditionally served with a generous splash of berry juice. Watergruwel is also a favourite in the east of the Netherlands where it is known as krentebrij, slierie or kaasjebrij.

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

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