Popular Dutch Cheeses
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So, you're in the Netherlands and you're going to buy some cheese. Of course you're going to buy cheese, you can't miss that in our tiny'cheesehead' country. But where are you going to buy it? Like elsewhere, Dutchies buy their cheese in the supermarket, in the local cheese shop, straight from the farm or on the local market but even for us it's sometimes confusing to pick cheese. Below you find the most most popular cheeses in the Netherlands listed. Some of these cheese are available in different ages:

  • 'jong', up to four weeks
  • 'jong belegen', eight to ten weeks
  • 'belegen', sixteen to eighteen weeks
  • 'extra belegen', seven to eight months
  • 'oude kaas', ten to twelve months
  • 'overjarig', twelve months or older
Gouda

Gouda cheese is the most famous and important Dutch cheese. It has a flat-round shape and convex sides, weighs around 12 kilos (26 lbs) and must contain 48% fat. It is a semi-hard cheese, firm in shape and mild in taste. The older the cheese, the firmer it becomes. But with age also the taste changes as it becomes increasingly drier and spicier.

Besides the flat-round shape, Gouda cheeses are also square and rectangular. In addition, there is Gouda with cumin, Gouda herb cheese and boeren ('farmer') Goudse. With farm cheese, the milk is not pasteurized, so that all flavor-giving bacteria are preserved.

Grass cheese

Grass cheese is cheese that is made when the cows are back in the meadows at the beginning of the year after eating the fresh grass.

Edammer

Edammer cheese has a striking spherical or bullet shape (1,70 kg / 4 lbs) and contains 40% fat. Edam is semi-hard, firm in shape and can be eaten at different ages. Here, too, the following applies: the longer the cheese ages, the firmer and spicier it becomes. In addition to the spherical shape (often colored red abroad), there are also baby Edammers (up to 1 kg), square Edammers, Edammer in "bread form" and Edammers with cumin. Commission cheese is a so-called double Edam cheese with an orange color. This cheese is mainly sold in France and is called Mimolette there.


Maasdammer

The Maasdammer has large holes and a sweet, nutty taste. This cheese also has a flat round shape with a curved top. The holes, typical taste and shape are caused by gas formation of the so-called propionic acid bacteria during maturation. Maasdammer, or Dutch hole cheese, is often sold under the Leerdammer brand.

Fresh cheese

Fresh cheeses are not pressed and barely ripened. Fresh cream cheese is made from milk with cream added to it. It is a soft-sour, spreadable cheese (Mon Chou). Fresh cheeses also include Fêta, cottage cheese (Hüttenkäse) and fresh goat and sheep cheese (usually from the farm).

Spreadable and smoked cheeses

Spreadable and smoked cheeses are so-called melting cheeses, whether or not made with the addition of other milk constituents (such as butterfat). This molten product is heated and has a long shelf life.

Less fat, less salt

For cheeses with a lower fat content (20-30%) and/or a lower salt content (for example Milner, Slankie) other acid types are used to retain the taste. There is also Goudse with less salt (including Maaslander). For people who pay attention to their weight, there are also cheeses with almost no salt (low in sodium).

Sheep cheese

The cheese made from goat's or sheep's milk is slightly whiter in color and has a spicy aftertaste. Most Dutch goat and sheep cheese is of the Gouda type: a flat-round, semi-hard cheese with a fat content of 48 percent. You can also buy fresh goat cheese, which is soft cheese that has matured briefly.


Hopefully this helps when you're selecting your cheeses to bring home. Perfect as a gift! Just make sure that you buy either waxed cheese or vacuum packed cheese if you're flying out of the EU.

Cheese Making Workshop with Tulip Day Tours

Want to learn more about cheese during your stay in the Netherlands? Why not book our private tour to an authentic cheese house farm where you can make your own cheese and watch a live-demonstration of the making of wooden shoes. A super traditional experience. And during the workshop you get to try all sorts of different Dutch cheeses. Interested? Drop us a line!

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