The most popular alcoholic drink in the Netherlands is beer – and for good reason.
The Dutch produce some of the world’s most popular beer and the Netherlands is home to some of the best-known global brands. Household names such as Heineken, Amstel and Grolsch are all produced in this small European country and the Netherlands exports a higher proportion of its beer than any other nation on earth.
Around 95% of the beer produced and consumed in the Netherlands is classified as pale lager. This refreshing beer is extremely popular and if one is to simply order a beer in Amsterdam, this is exactly what you would be served. The oldest brewery in the Netherlands still operating today is the Dommelsch Brewery which has been brewing beer continually since 1744!
But there’s more to Dutch Drink than just beer. The country is also known for its spirits. The most well-known and popular within the Netherlands is Jenever (the precursor to gin) which you will see being sipped from tulip shaped glasses in every brown café in the country. Other lesser-known but equally delicious spirits include Dutch brandy (Brandewijn), Vieux (the Dutch version of cognac), Oranjebitter (brandy flavoured with orange, which is particularly popular during King’s Day) and, of course, advocaat (sometimes referred to as egg nog outside of the Netherlands).
Although this may come as a surprise to you (it certainly did to us!), the Netherlands also has a small number of vineyards! Dutch wine production forms a small industry, largely centred around Limburg and Gelderland (two southern provinces). There are a handful dotted around the country, however, the closest to Amsterdam being Amsteltuin (just a stone’s throw south of the city). Exploring the vineyards before enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon!
So, whatever your favourite tipple, it can be found here! Ernest Hemingway once wrote 'Don't bother with churches, government buildings or city squares, if you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars' and we’d go one step further – spend a night in its bars drinking what the locals are drinking. Trying new things is one of the joys of travelling and when it comes to local drinks, there’s no exception.
As a general rule, local drinks are significantly cheaper than those from abroad in bars and clubs. Ordering a spirit and mixer in a Dutch bar is not a budget-friendly choice! Stick to beer, wine or domestic spirits and you’ll save a bit of cash.