Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Summers are For Grilling Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Dutch Vocabulary

The Netherlands-Belgium area has been experiencing a hittegolf or heatwave bringing temperatures to around 28 degrees Celcius which is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Each weekend, grocery stores and slagerijen are sold out (or almost) of all the delicious meats for barbecueën or grilling as well as sides and bread. Because grilling can vary a lot per country, I compiled a list of the most common Dutch grilling dishes and vocabulary to help you make a delicious summer day BBQ!

Photo taken by Mattias Hallberg found in Flickr.com with license CC BY-SA 2.0

BBQ Hulpjes

To warm up your grill, you have several options and aides. You need to look for briketten or houtskoolbriket (coal), as well as aanmaakblokjes that help start the fire faster. An aansteker such as lucifers or matches is a must, and there is also a brikettenstarter that lights up the coals quickly.

Vlees voor op de BBQ

Stokjes, spiesen or skewers are a must in Dutch grills (as I can imagine everywhere else!). You can buy all sorts of stokjes like kip, varken and vlees. There are also the seafood versions with shrimps, groentenstokjes and mixed ones. Most slagerijen sell these already gemarineerd or marinated.

Bacon is not exclusive to Dutch cuisine, but the way it is presented in the Netherlands is quite new to me. One very popular grilling meat is bacon cut in a similar way as a steak. These are also sold natural or gemarineerd. In addition to the speklapjes, you can find at the store entrecotelapjes, rosbieflapjes, and filelapjes.

Worst or sausage is another common dish in Dutch BBQs. There are many varieties, much to do with how close Germany is to us, such as bratworst, and also many marinades.


Photo taken by Suzette found on Flickr.com with license CC BY 2.0

Bijgerechten or side dishes are also useful to know. A rundvleessalade is like a potato salad with some shredded meat. In Limburg and Brabant, this is commonly known as koude schotel or literally cold dish, but it isn’t the exact same thing as the rundvleessalade. A koude schotel is a lot more generous in the meat department than the Holland version. Albert Heijn has a delicious recipe online which you can check out here.

A popular appetizer during a BBQ is, of course, stokbrood with kruidenboter or butter with herbs. I personally like zeezoutboter better.

In regards to vegetables, aubergine and courgette are staples in the Dutch kitchen as well as potatoes and paprikas.


No good grill would be complete without a good variety of sauces or sauzen. While I was doing some research for this post, I found a video of a chef who said that in the Netherlands, most sauces and marinades are sweet. I am not an expert on sauces, so I cannot agree or disagree with him. The sauces I see most often are your regular sauces such as satesaus, sambasaus, knoflooksaus, and curry kruiden ketchup. The Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce tzaziki is also a popular dip/sauce.

Other Useful Words

When buying ingredients, you might run into words like biologisch which translates into organic, vegetarisch or vegetarian, and beter leven which is usually for free-range chickens and pigs. If you are ever in doubt of what to call certain things or want to expand your food vocabulary, I would suggest a visit to the grocery store websites such as Plus and Albert Heijn and just look through their product list. My mom likes to learn eating habits in the Netherlands by looking through the grocery store magazines that have recipes and tips. In these magazines you can also learn a lot of new vocabulary related to food!

In the following video, top chef Julius Jaspers gives 5 really handy tips!

What other tips would you add? How does grilling in your country differ from the Netherlands?

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Papa Van Twee:

    I just came back from the Netherlands, but while I was there I got to partake in a neighborhood party (buurtfeest!) Yes, I got asked a lot about Trump, but I also ate a lot of meat. And I got to cook it myself.

    They laid out two big plates with all sorts of BBQ greats, like stokjes, a beef patty, worst, a chicken cordon blue wrapped in thin sliced bacon… it all looked so good, I cursed my stomach for being too small to try it all.

    Top it off with a good beer (Grolsch in this case) some wine, and some juice (although nobody had to drive home, so drink up) music, and lively conversation and you had a party.

    I also got to play charades in Dutch, which I did well at since we had a Dutch culture guru on our team. I had fun, even though I forgot my, “Yes, I’m from the USA, no I didn’t vote for Trump”, t-shirt on.