Dutch heritage: say Cheese!

Dutch cheese

The Dutch are happy people. Everyday they say: cheese! 🙂 That is our answer to the question: what would you like to eat for breakfast or lunch? Holland is famous for its cheese. And we make much, much, much cheese. Over 800 million kilogram cheese is exported to countries all over the world. Dutch cheese is very popular, because of the constant high quality. No wonder that many copycats try to imitate our famous cheese from Gouda or Edam. But nothing beats the original, right? So do not try making our cheese at your home, and buy only the real stuff.

History of cheese

Did you know that in Holland people ate cheese already in 800 BC? And also Julius Caesar mentioned in his books that cheese was consumed in the lowlands. During the Dutch Golden Age farmers in Holland and Friesland started to export their cheeses. Dutch cheese makers were very good in conservation of their cheeses. For this reason, we were able to sell our cheese all over the world. Even after a long journey over sea the cheese was still good and very tasteful. Imagine this, in a world without refrigerators or cooling the Dutch were able to transport perishable dairy in a perfect condition!

Holland = Cheeseland

For centuries, Holland is famous for its cheese. It truly is part of our heritage. And we take cheese very seriously. Even in the 17th century, institutions as ‘gildes’ monitored the good quality of cheese. We already had quality certificates and guidelines how to produce cheese.
Exporting cheese is also big business. We are one of the biggest cheese exporters world wide. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, you will find our cheese in specialty shops and supermarkets.

Cheese to have and cheese to go

The Dutch love to eat their cheese. We eat cheese for breakfast or lunch. But it is great having a beer with it too! And you know what: many tourists come to Holland and they want to see how we make cheese. Cities as Gouda and Alkmaar are the places to be for cheese-lovers.
In Alkmaar you can find the cheese museum. There, you can find out all about the history of the Dutch tradition and heritage of cheese-making. Of course, after the museum visit – take some cheese to go!

Cheese and heritage in our language

One of the nicknames for the Dutch refers to cheese: we are called cheese-heads (kaaskoppen). Originally, Edammer cheese was made in round, wooden malls. And many well-fed faces of the Dutch are also roundish: there you have the similarity and the reason behind this nickname. By the way: our Belgium neighbors invented this nickname as a joke!

When Dutch say: “you have not eaten your cheese of this”, they mean: you do not have a clue!
So be prepared and eat all your cheese at breakfast. And remember: say cheese every day! 🙂