Dutch Language Blog

VLA is Dutch – all you need to know Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Culture

VLA – what do these three letters mean in the Netherlands? A mysterious secret service? A shortcut for a big city in the Netherlands? Maybe something… astronomical?

No, New Mexico’s Very Large Array (VLA) is not what I am referring to! (Image by Diana Robinson at Flickr.com)

All NO, NO, NO! I am talking about something delicious here. The Netherlands is famous for its Heineken beer, its cheeses, bikes, marijuana, dykes and flatness. But not for the toetje (dessert) vla, weirdly!

Vla is an exclusive to the Netherlands, and not widespread in the world. I think that is because it is fresh zuivel (dairy), and can therefore not easily be transported… And maybe it is also a matter of taste?

Well, it is a warm recommendation from me: the next time you are in the Netherlands, go get some Vla! It is not a dessert you can find in restaurants usually, so just walk into a supermarket and head right to the refrigerated zuivel section. Next to the kwark (quark) and yoghurt (Yogurt).

So what is vla exactly?

The law has something to say about this, actually! In the Warenwetbesluit Zuivel (Product Law Decision Dairy), Article 14, it is specified that a dairy product may only be called Vla if it contains:

  •  zetmeel (starch) as an important ingredient and at least 50% cow milk;
  • a milk fat level of at least 2.6%;
  • other ingredients needed (like a flavoring, sugar, etc.).

This should result in a dikvloeibaar samengesteld zuivelproduct (thick liquid, composed dairy product).

This all sounds a bit scientific and not very telling – what is it actually? It has a consistency between yogurt and pudding, and is very smooth.

Vla in de Schappen!


It also comes in a lot of different flavors, always with a good amount of sugar, to make it nice and sweet. Very popular are Vanilla and Chocolate. There are many, many varieties, from those where chocolate balls are added, real pieces of fruit, where two or even more different flavors are mixed (VlaFlip, Dubbelvla…). Of course there are also light versions, with less sugar and added sweetener, for example. Or another type of lightness: luchtig toetje. This is vla with added air, to make it fluffy.

It is mostly eaten as a toetje (dessert), but can also be eaten as a tussendoortje (snack).

Adding some ingredients yourself can be nice too. For example, vanilla vla with jam or fresh fruit is great. Or add some yoghurt to give it less of a sweet taste. Adding some hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) is of course also possible. Well, the possibilities are endless!

I am a super big fan of it!

Where can I get this?!

Since vla is not much available outside of the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of far west Germany, I found some recipes for you. Below a video in Dutch, which explains how to make vla quickly yourself!

If that all went too quick for you, this English explanation might help you!


Have you heard of vla before? Have you found it in your country?

In case you have had it before, what do you think about it?


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Bill:

    I had vla while in the Netherlands with my wife’s family, and the best way I can describe it is almost drinkable pudding. I will show my wife the recipe, she may be interested in having vla again.

  2. Andy:

    We first had Vla on our first holiday to The Netherlands. We couldn’t translate it and thought it was milk. It doesn’t taste or look nice in coffee.

  3. irene leeuwenkamp:

    my oma was german/polish opa was dutch and great opa Indonesian and mother English we would go for holidays each summer to den haag to stay with oma and opa I had forgotten all about VLA but we loved it and bought it from the milk man brings back such fond memories

  4. Barbara:

    Oh my goodness, thank you for the recipe for Vla. My Dutch husband said yesterday, “the one thing I really miss from the Netherlands is the Vla.” I never thought I’d find a recipe for it, to surprise him and there you are. Thanks so much. I miss Holland so much, lived there ten years after marrying my Dutch beau but now we both live in California.

  5. Adam Muyt:

    Last year I visited the Netherlands for the first time (Dad had migrated from Holland after the War).
    I stayed with my cousins in Zegveld who served up Vla every night. Oranje Vla was a bit of a favourite, made especially for Koningsdag.
    I would liken Vla to a custard, which is a similar dairy product here in Australia (also in England and New Zealand).

    • Sten:

      @Adam Muyt True, custard is a bit like it, though I thought custard still resembles pudding more.
      Yes! Oranje vla! Really doesn’t get more Dutch 🙂

  6. Sheri:

    LOVE love love vla! Oh..and everything about Netherlands.