The Netherlands

A Journey Through Three Unique Food Traditions in the Netherlands

The Netherlands, a country renowned for its massive windmills, tulip fields, and picturesque canals, is also a treasure trove of unique and delightful food traditions. From the sweet treats exchanged on birthdays to the hearty New Year's Day pork feast, Dutch culinary customs are as diverse as the landscapes that define this European gem. Let’s explore together the fascinating world of Dutch food traditions, with a particular focus on wholesale candy and the vibrant confectionery market that adds a sweet touch to these festivities.

Dutch Birthdays: The Sweet Gesture of Candy Sharing

In the Netherlands, birthdays are celebrated with a distinctive and heartwarming tradition. Instead of receiving gifts, the person celebrating their birthday is the one giving presents—small, individually wrapped candies. This tradition reflects the Dutch emphasis on generosity and the joy of giving. From classic licorice to mouth-watering wholesale candies and chocolates, these sweet tokens create a shared sense of happiness among friends, family, and colleagues. Quite a few popular imported confectionery brands have found a place on the shelves of Dutch stores, adding a global touch to the country's diverse confectionery landscape. Some of the most popular FMCG brands imported by global candy wholesale distributors include:


The British brand Cadbury is famous for its chocolate bars and various confectionery products. Cadbury chocolates, with their distinctive purple packaging, are commonly found in Dutch supermarkets and stores.


Hailing from the United States, M&M's, owned by Mars Inc. are globally recognized colourful chocolate candies. They have a strong presence in the Netherlands, with various flavours and packaging options to cater to different preferences.


The Swiss chocolate brand Toblerone, known for its distinctive triangular shape, is a popular choice among chocolate enthusiasts in the Netherlands. Its unique design and high-quality Swiss chocolate make it a sought-after treat.

Ferrero Rocher

The Italian brand Ferrero Rocher is synonymous with luxurious hazelnut chocolates. These golden-wrapped delicacies are widely available in the Netherlands and are often chosen for special occasions and birthday gifts.


Lindt, a Swiss chocolatier and wholesale candy company, is recognized for its premium-quality chocolates. Lindt products, including the famous Lindt truffles and chocolate bars, are appreciated by Dutch consumers with a taste for high-end confectionery.
lindt wholesale


Originally from Switzerland, Milka is a brand that has gained popularity globally. Milka chocolates, known for their distinct purple packaging and Alpine cow symbol, are readily available in Dutch supermarkets.

Ritter Sport

This German brand is recognized for its square-shaped chocolate bars, each divided into smaller, equally sized squares. Ritter Sport imported by various sweet wholesale suppliers offers a variety of flavours and is well-received in the Netherlands.
The act of distributing confectionery on birthdays has evolved into a cultural norm, with individuals often preparing special candy bags to share with those around them. This unique tradition not only satisfies sweet cravings but also fosters a sense of community and togetherness.

New Year's Day Feast: Pork, Prosperity, and Tradition

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, the Dutch usher in the new year with a feast that is believed to bring good luck and prosperity—the consumption of pork. Pork is considered a symbol of progress and wealth in Dutch culture, and families across the country partake in a hearty meal featuring pork in various forms.
From succulent roasts to flavorful sausages, the Dutch embrace the rich and savoury taste of pork as they bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one. This tradition not only satisfies the taste buds but also symbolises a hopeful and auspicious start to the year ahead.

Oliebollen: The Irresistible Dutch Doughnut

No exploration of Dutch food traditions would be complete without mentioning oliebollen, a delicious treat that takes centre stage during the New Year festivities. Oliebollen, often referred to as Dutch doughnuts, are deep-fried balls of sweet dough, generously dusted with powdered sugar. These delectable delights are a staple in Dutch households during the winter season.
The preparation of oliebollen is a cherished family activity, with recipes passed down through generations. Whether enjoyed at festive markets or homemade with love, these delightful treats capture the essence of Dutch culinary craftsmanship. The word "oliebollen" itself translates to "oil balls," a testament to the deep-frying process that gives them their irresistible texture. New Year’s is also a wonderful time for confectionery distributors and sweet shop wholesale suppliers, as the consumption of imported candy during that period is also on the rise.

A Bonus Non-Food-Related New Year’s Tradition That Is Also Unique for the Dutch: Refreshing Cold Water Dive

The Dutch also have a unique tradition that involves diving into icy waters on January 1st. Known as the Nieuwjaarsduik, this annual event attracts thousands of participants who gather at various coastal locations to plunge into the cold North Sea.
While not directly related to food, the New Year's Dive is a testament to the Dutch spirit of embracing life and seeking joy even in the face of chilly challenges. After the refreshing dip, participants often warm up with hot beverages and, of course, some delicious treats, including packaged sweets provided by wholesale candy importers and the beloved local oliebollen.

The Thriving Confectionery and Wholesale Candy Market in the Netherlands

Wholesale candy distributors like Contest Distribution play a crucial role in supplying the diverse array of sweets that make their way into Dutch homes during birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. International candy wholesalers, B2B candy wholesale companies, and confectionery distributors contribute to the rich tapestry of Dutch confectionery culture. From classic candies to innovative sweet creations, these businesses ensure a steady supply of delightful treats for individuals and retailers alike.

Dutch Culinary Customs: A Reflection of the Country's Rich Cultural Tapestry

Confectionery distribution and wholesale candy markets are integral parts of the Dutch experience, contributing to the vibrant and diverse world of food in the Netherlands. So, the next time you find yourself in this beautiful country, don't forget to savour the sweetness of its unique food traditions and perhaps bring home a bag of candies to share the joy with your loved ones.
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