Boerenjongens, simply called farm boys, are golden and dark raisins soaked in a sugary syrup and brandy. It is a favorite with the older generation, although it is currently experiencing a small revival with the younger crowds. At birthdays, weddings, or funerals, the men would often consume a small serving of boerenjongens, served in a borrelglaasje with a small spoon, whereas the ladies would prefer boerenmeisjes, the female equivalent, made with dried apricots. It was also traditional to share a large bowl with raisins and brandy with guests and the bride and groom at weddings. See this video from a Marken wedding to see what that looks like!

You will also find that boerenjongens have found their way into a variety of other foods: most notoriously as a topping for yogurt, ice cream or pancakes, but also on the market in vla, or as a stuffing in pork roasts. The alcohol fuses nicely with the sugary syrup, and after a week of five of soaking up all those lovely flavors in a dark, cool space, these farm boys are ready to put to work! 

Both boerenjongens and boerenmeisjes are a great gift from your kitchen. They're quick to make, and are open to any personalized flavors: add a vanilla bean or star anise to the meisjes, and infuse the boys with cognac and allspice for a change of taste. If you don't like the taste of brandy, try a flavored liqueur instead, like hazelnut or coconut, just don't use liquors containing dairy or cream. If you do not consume alcohol, flavor the syrup with rum extract instead.

2 cups (400 grams) golden raisins
½ cup (100 grams) dark raisins
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 cups (700 ml) water
1 cup (235 ml) brandy or rum
1 cinnamon stick

Wash and rinse the raisins. Heat the sugar with the 3 cups of water, bring to a boil while stirring. Simmer for a couple of minutes, then set aside to cool. Drain the raisins and add them to a glass jar. Mix the cool sugary syrup with the brandy, stir and pour over the raisins. If they’re not covered with the liquid, make another batch of syrup and brandy. Add the cinnamon stick, cover and let sit in a cool, dark place for four weeks before sampling. 


  1. Ms. Holten,
    My mom told me about a liqueur her Netherlands born dad, VanderVeen, used to make. I searched for the recipe on and off for years. I found a FaceBook page, Stuff Dutch People Like, (, and asked about it. Despite my horrendous spelling and thinking it was made with cherries a helpful person directed me to this page. I wish my mom was still here to taste it but I know my Dutch relatives will love having a taste of their ancestor's concoction. Thank you so much.
    I have a few questions. Could this be made with an equivalent quantity of other dried fruit (cranberries, cherries...)? My mom always referred to Boerenjongens as a beverage. Do folks drink the fluid? How long will it keep? Do you start from scratch every time or do you add to what is left from the last batch?
    I am looking forward to trying more of your Dutch recipes. Once again Thank You
    Sincerely Kay Kaminga (my dad took an m out of Kamminga because he thought his name was too long - smile)

    1. My Dutch grandmother would make this and she would also make a version with raspberries and gin. Both are very good.

  2. I remember Christmastime at my Grandpa and Grandma (Opa and Oma) Moerman's house. Grandma would have made all different kinds of treats, but only she and Grandpa had the Boerenjongens. Grandma ate the raisins and Grandpa sipped the brandy. Grandkids were restricted to anise candy or bobblers,


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