6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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The Netherlands is known for many delicious things, such as cheese, stroopwafels, bitterballen, chocolate sprinkles on toast (!!), beer… the list goes on. Food discoveries and inventions in this country include staples such as gin, orange carrots, and cocoa powder. If you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands, and are looking for culinary delights, here are 6 day trips from Amsterdam to satisfy your foodie side.

6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam
Photo Maggie Burr ten Berge, adapted by Wandering Educators

Let’s start with cheese, naturally.

Edam

Edam: cheese, of course! You'll want to visit the Edam museum, which showcases the history of the Dutch Golden Age, and De Kaaswaag, the cheese weigh house, where the art of making cheese is on display (tastings!). If you visit in July and August, be sure to come on Wednesdays, when there is a market recreation of the cheese trade in town.
Edam. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Gouda

Another cheese town - you're welcome. You'll want to visit from April-August, to experience the cheese market on Thursday mornings. Gouda (the cheese) is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. Stop by the Gouda Cheese and Crafts Museum (you'll find the Gouda Tourist Information office here, too). There are cheese shops galore.  Interested in local beer? You're not the first - in the Middle Ages, there were over 200 brewers producing the best beer in Holland.
Gouda. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Alkmaar

On the Waagplein, make time to see the Hollands Kaasmuseum (cheese!). Here, you'll learn the history of Edammer and Gouda cheeses, as well as rural life in the area. You can see the Alkmaar cheese market, held on Fridays from April through September (one of four traditional cheesemarkets still running), and promoting local cheeses. Take time to visit the National Beer Museum (De Boom). Located in a former brewery, after the tour, you can enjoy a beer at the tasting cellar.
Alkmaar cheese market. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is an historic village, and one of the most visited attractions in the Netherlands. You'll want to explore the windmills, historic buildings, museum, wooden shoe workshop, and more. Of particular note to culinary travelers are the Catharina Hoeve, a 17th century cheese farm (with tastings!), the de Gecroonde Duyvekater Bakery Museum (with bakery), and the Museumwinkel Albert Heijn - the site of the first Albert Heijn grocery store in the Netherlands, now a museum. Be sure to stop at CacaoLab, a chocolate shop with amazing tastings and incredible hot chocolate- surprisingly necessary in the Dutch summer, which gets cold!
Zaanse Schans. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam
Cacaolab in Zaanse Schans. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam
Photos Maggie Burr ten Berge

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second most populous city in The Netherlands, after Amsterdam. This town also has the largest Chinatown in the Netherlands, relocated to the Kruisplein area from the docks in the 1980s. Rotterdam also boasts the largest indoor market in the country, Markthal. It's a market that boasts over 100 food shops and stalls, as well as cafes. The building is extraordinary, with modern design and art splashed all throughout the interior. You know what? There are even apartments in here (lucky people!). 
Markthal, Rotterdam. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Utrecht

Utrecht boasts some of the best restaurants in the Netherlands. Why is such an ancient city, the fourth largest city in the country, a hotbed for foodies? It's a university town that has a diverse population, which means all sorts of global eats, including some of the best gyros outside of Athens. Utrecht is known for its canals. Historic wharves have been turned into restaurants, all along the canals - what a great place to dine – and then go for a romantic stroll after dinner, and if you’re lucky, to the sounds of the Carillon bells from Domtoren. In nice weather, you'll also find a plethora of outdoor cafes - stop by for a beer, or coffee. You'll love Dutch snack bar food - frites with mayonnaise or curry ketchup, frikandel (sausage), or bitterballen. No wonder Utrecht was named one of the happiest places in the world.
Canal-side dining in Utrecht. From 6 Delicious Culinary Day Trips from Amsterdam

Details

Getting around:

While the Netherlands has a smoothly-running train system, it’s lovely to rent a car and explore at your own pace, on your own timetable. EasyTerra is an excellent option, and has locations at the airport, as well as around town.

Currency:

The Netherlands uses the euro. Many shops accept credit cards, but be sure to carry some cash around with you, just in case.

Tipping: 

Tipping is customary in restaurants (as well as bars and taxis). Aim for 10% max.

What to Wear:

Most places are Euro-casual – more dressy than American casual, but not fancy. Bring layers, as the weather in the Netherlands can change quickly.

Take Your Time:

Waiters in restaurants are attentive. That said, it is culturally appropriate to prolong and enjoy your meals, and take the time to talk and pay attention to the food and your companions. 

Reservations:

After doing your research and finding places you’d like to eat, be sure to make reservations. Because diners take their time over meals, tables aren’t flipped as quickly as you might be accustomed to. If you're going to pick a place last minute, make sure to go early - even to offer to leave once the first reservations arrive.

 

What's your favorite culinary day trip from Amsterdam?

 

 

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