Biertje anyone? Here’s some key facts about Dutch beer

Biertje anyone? Here’s some key facts about Dutch beer

Beer brewing in the Netherlands dates back to the 9th century, though craft beer has recently experienced a considerable resurgence. Ever since Heineken won the gold medal for its pilsner at the World’s Fair in 1889, the Dutch have been known for that brewery and style, but there is much more to Dutch beer than that. Here are some facts.Beer was not more common than water It’s commonly said that beer was more popular than water in Medieval Europe and the reason often given is that the water was contaminated and beer, which had to be boiled during the brewing process, was cleaner. While this is a great story, it isn’t true. It is true that people living in Medieval Europe, including the Netherlands, did consume a considerable amount of beer. Beer was inexpensive (unlike wine, which was for the rich) and significantly lower in alcohol than what we consume today. It also had an advantage over water - it contained calories. For the average Medieval labourer, it was akin to cola.The oldest brewery Brand is the oldest continuously operating Dutch brewery. It has been in operation since 1340, though it wasn’t purchased by the Brand family until 1871, when the then owner, Jan Hendrik Hubert L'Ortye, sold it to Frederik Edmond Brand. The original brewery was part of the charter of Wijlre which gave the city aldermen the sole right to appoint a city brewer.The big brewers Brewers in the Netherlands produce 2,300 million litres of beer per year, mainly at the large macro breweries like Heineken, Amstel and Grolsch. Of this, nearly 50% is exported, a larger proportion than any other brewing nation. This makes the Netherlands the second biggest exporter of beer in the world, after Mexico. More than 37% of Dutch beer sent abroad went to the US.Craft Brewers Not all the beer produced or consumed in the country comes from one of the big breweries. Brouwerij 't IJ in Amsterdam is the oldest of the new wave of craft breweries and was started in 1985. There are now over 250 small breweries operating commercially within the country with names like Oersoep (primordial soup), Oedipus Brewings, Frontaal and Brouwerij de 7e Hemel.Trappist and Bok The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance are more commonly known as Trappists or Trappist monks, members of a religious order founded in France who produce goods to support the monastery, including cheese, wool and, of course, beer. Most of the trappist breweries are located in Belgium but two are in the Netherlands: Brouwerij de Koningshoeven, more commonly know as La Trappe and and Zundert, which was introduced in 2013.The Dutch also have their own version of bok beer, which originally hailed from Germany. According to the official rules, bok must only be for sale between September 21 and December 21 each year. It is so popular in the Netherlands there are bok beer festivals in Amsterdam and Utrecht.How much beer do the Dutch drink? The Dutch drink, on average, 77 litres of beer per person per year, ranking them 14th in the world in terms of beer consumption. The largest portion of that (nearly 95%) is the pilsner style, popularised by Heineken and others.-Je If you walk into a bar in the Netherlands and order a biertje (little beer), you will be served a beer which will probably be the house beer (whichever major brewery they have a contract with.) That beer will probably be served in a .20l fluitje (little whistle) glass. Or it may be served in a vaasje (little vase) which can come in a variety of sizes, most commonly .33l. Unlike the English and the Americans, the Dutch don’t commonly serve pints. And unlike the Belgians, they don’t have a special glass for every beer.Bruin Cafes Your typical bruin cafe (brown cafe) is aptly named. The wooden floors, furniture and walls (either from wood panelling or years of smoking) will all be some shade of brown. This is your typical Dutch haunt and there are thousands all over the country. You can order a normal beer or perhaps some bitterballen. Don’t forget to pay your bill at the end of the evening; the bartender will normally keep track of your drinks on a scrap of paper behind the bar.Beer proverbs There are many sayings involving beer but most are never used and frankly we think that beer enthusiasts make them up as they go along. The best-known are 'Wanneer het bier is in de man dan is de wijsheid in de kan' which roughly means that you mustn't expect a person with a belly full of beer to explain the theory of relativity with any clarity. Another one is Bier na wijn geeft venijn, wijn na bier geeft plezier.  It means drinking beer after wine will give you a headache whereas drinking wine after beer will make you jolly and hangover-free. Cheers.  More >

Bilingual People jobs for internationals

Bilingual People: language recruitment fairs for international job-seekers Thanks to its strong economy, the Netherlands is certainly becoming a European hub recruiting for bilingual and multilingual candidates in Europe. The high quality of life standards in most cities throughout the country, also makes the Netherlands one of the most attractive location for candidates with language skills looking for an international career. (source: BILINGUAL PEOPLE FAIR: AMSTERDAM, 10th SEPTEMBER – NH GRAND KRASNAPOLSKYRegister HERE(Please see below for a list of future events or visit the Bilingual People fairs, companies based in-country are offering Bilingual / Multilingual job-seekers a chance to find their ideal job either for career progression or to kick start a new career. However, the Bilingual People fairs are not just about local opportunities but also about offering candidates (especially for German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and French speakers) a chance to look for global opportunities.An...  More >

'No circles at my own birthday party'

‘I draw the line at sitting in the circle at my own birthday party’ Photographer Vinita Salomé was born in Japan to Indian parents and has lived in the Netherlands for 16 years. She lives in Gouda with her husband and nine-year-old son, would like to meet the members of rock bank BLØF and says she has lost the nuances associated with Asian cultures.How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my Dutch husband at a friend’s wedding in Bombay. He was a friend of the groom. I fell in love and moved to the Netherlands where we ‘settled down’ in Gouda.How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc ? I’d say I am an international or a world citizen. I speak five languages, enjoy travelling, and hosting family and friends at my home in the Netherlands.Compared to other Dutch cities, Gouda has less expat traffic and, by necessity, the expats who live here tend to be well integrated. I am a member of the group Living with a Dutchie, which started locally and now has 120 members coming from many nationalities.How...  More >

Yuri the Terrible

Yuri the Terrible and Maurits the Humourless Comedian Youp van 't Hek thinks Olympic hopefuls should be able to get away with a tipple or two.I can’t resist another look at that hilarious YouTube clip that showed the NOC*NSF  a completely sozzled Erica Terpstra in the studio with Edwin Evers. Vancouver 2010. Erica had just had a liquid lunch with the then still heir to the throne Prince Pils. I liked her for it and I liked her even better when she drunkenly explained what the great and the good are up to during the Olympics. Not a lot, it turned out, except entertaining each other. Cheers. Was Terpstra put on the next flight home? Perhaps, but my bet is she never managed to explain to the taxi driver where she was headed.But Yuri did have to go home, all because of a night on the tiles. Nine days before the final he had a couple of beers away from the stifling atmosphere of monomaniacal sport psychologists, fanatical fat percentage monitors and other weird folk.Perhaps he made a little noise when he came in. Perhaps...  More >

11 key things to know about Dutch weddings

11 things you need to know about marriage in the Netherlands Planning to marry a Dutchie or attend the wedding of Dutch friends? Here's a few key facts and other things you ought to know first.1 How many weddings? Around 64,300 couples tied the knot in the Netherlands in 2015 (of which 1,259 were same sex couples). In addition around 13,000 people agreed a registered partnership, which is legally like a wedding but without the ceremony and cake.2 How old are the happy couple? The average age for a man to tie the knot is 37 while women are 34. By this time, they are statistically likely to have at least started having children. The charming, if biologically incorrect title for the second family of a man who has married before is tweede leg or second lay - referring to hens and eggs not two sexual encounters.3 Church or registry office? In the Netherlands church weddings have to be preceded by a registry office wedding by law, otherwise you are not married at all. Unlike a registry office marriage, which is easily dissolved, a union...  More >

A G&T please, but hold the ice

A G&T please, but hold the ice and all the rest of the trimmings One of the great pleasures of summer in the Netherlands is sitting in the evening sun on a cafe terrace watching the world go by with a nice G&T, writes editor Robin Pascoe.Gin and tonics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The Gordons in its dark green bottle was a permanent fixture in my parents' drinks cabinet and the tonic was Sssh you know who Schweppes, without exception.As a student, cider was my drink of choice - it was cheap and I hated it, so a pint would last all night - but when I started working for the BBC in London, a G&T in the BBC club or a nearby pub was the order of the day.In the Netherlands too, gin has been my favourite tipple for years - although the impossibility of finding a decent tonic anywhere did somewhat spoil the moment. That wretched Royal Club in every AH or Gall & Gall is just too sweet.So when the G&T craze first hit the Netherlands I was delighted. For a start, it gave me a veneer...  More >

10 men who helped make the Netherlands

12 men who helped shape the Netherlands into what it is today They've given their names to schools, to squares and to streets - every Dutch town seems to have a Hugo de Grootstraat, for example - but who are the men behind the name plates? Here's a quick profile of 12 masters of war, learning and thought who helped shape the Netherlands into the country it is today.Willibrordus Willibrordus (658- 739), a Northumbrian priest, is the most famous missionary to come to the Netherlands. Called the ‘apostle of the Low Countries’, he had no success whatsoever converting the stubborn Friesians to Christianity. It wasn’t until the end of his life when he had settled in Utrecht that cohorts of missionaries sent into Frisian territory managed to convert some – but not all – Frisians.Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus (1466 – 1536) was a priest, philosopher, writer and humanist whose best-known work is In Praise of Folly (1509), a satire on the follies of mankind, the vanity and frippery of bishops and princes of the church included. The book...  More >

Gay Pride marketing: puns and profit

Gay Pride marketing: all puns and profit The Gay Pride festival is used by many companies to promote their products. But let's have some really gay-friendly policies on the workfloor, says Joep van Zijl, head of The News Makers.There’s funny puns like Power to Joohoo! (Vodafone) and AH to gay (Albert Heijn), and a tasty gaybar in a rainbow wrapping (Tony’s Chocolonely). And let’s not forget those amusing sausage and tompouce t-shirts from the Hema. It’s easy for companies to show a gay-friendly face. But actually having gay-friendly policies in place is much more important.My first reaction on seeing the Hema pride t-shirts (sausage heart sausage, tompouce heart tompouce) was: how nice, and what a fantastic idea! Here we have two intensely Dutch iconic Hema products used in a brilliant marketing campaign for EuroPride 2016, with the added bonus that the profits are going to the Gay-Straight Alliance, an organisation of students and teachers who want their school to be a safe place for everyone.Many companies...  More >

'Amsterdam is the best city I've lived in'

‘As much as I complain about Amsterdam, it is the best city I have lived in’ By day Nick Nugent is an account manager for ACD/Labs and by night he chairs the British Society of Amsterdam and hunts for decent curry. Nick has been in the Netherlands for 8.5 years and says he would never have had friends from so many different countries if he had stayed in Britain.How did you end up in the Netherlands? I have worked for a couple of Dutch companies, first Unilever and then Philips, which actually brought me here. By the time I was offered a job over here the part of Philips I was in had been sold to a UK based company but the headquarters was in Almelo. I spent the first 18 months of my life in the Netherlands in Almelo and eventually moved to Enschede. Almelo is a great place if you have kids but I was single at the time.How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc ? I guess I am somewhere between an expat and international. I have been flying all over the world for my last job and have been to 44 countries. I am trying to...  More >

Dutch ones to watch at the Rio Olympics

From the sprint to swimming: Dutch ones to watch at the Rio Olympics The Netherlands has sent a team of 241 athletes to the Olympic Games in Rio which kick off later this week.In total the Netherlands will be represented in 21 of the 28 disciplines at the games, well up on the London squad who returned with 20 medals, including six golds.So it be medals galore for the Netherlands this year?  Here are some sportsmen and woman who stand a more than fair chance of bringing home the gold, silver or bronze.1 Athletics Dafne Schippers is, of course, among the favourites for the 100m and 200m sprints. Will she repeat her performance at last year’s world championships – silver and gold respectively - or will she do even better? The Dutch women also took the 4x100m relay title at the European championships in Amsterdam, so they too could be in for a prize.In other athletics events, Hassan Sifan is considered to be a contender in the 1,500m while Anouk Vetter and Nadine Broersen have both made names for themselves in the heptathlon.2 ...  More >

10 great things to do in August

10 great things to do in August Here's our round-up of some of the best things to do this August, from a travelling theatre to a house of horror, from having a good laugh to checking out portraits of kings and queens.Botero’s podgy people Botero: Celebrate Life! is a retrospective of nearly a hundred colourful paintings, drawings and pastels by Columbian artist Fernando Botero (1932) plus ‘Caballo’, his giant sculpture of a horse. Botero satirises – religion, the rich and powerful, his country’s violent history- and admires: his podgy version of the Arnolfini portrait, a homage to Van Eyck, is something to behold. In Rotterdam until September 11. www.kunsthal.nlThe circus is in town From August 12 to 28  De Parade touches down in Amsterdam with a preview of what’s on offer in the new cultural season. Performances of music, theatre, dance, opera and mime take place in tents, adding to the circus-like atmosphere. Many of the performances – which last between 3 and 43 minutes – are in Dutch...  More >