Dutch Reading


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In my quest to cover Dutch food, culture and cuisine accurately, I do a lot of reading and researching. Many of the cookbooks and historical books are in Dutch, but there are also many translated or written in English. I would love to share with you what I am reading nowadays, which books have already safely found a spot on my book shelf, and other Dutch favorites, like children's books. 

I will post what I can find in English and/or Dutch, but they may not always be available in both languages. The list is not complete, and it's a work in progress, so check back every now and then to see what's been added.


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Dutch Children's Books 

Probably Annie M.G. Schmidt's most popular children's book, about Pluck and his little red tow truck. He drives it all over town looking for a place to live. Then Dolly the pigeon tells him that the tower of the Pill Building is empty. In the Pill Building, Pluck meets Mr. Penn and Zaza the cockroach.
Pluck makes lots more friends and solves all kinds of problems. 

Click here to order your own copy: 
When winter finally brings snow and ice to their Friesland village, nine-year-old twins Evert and Afke and their classmates are delighted when their teacher announces that the class is going on an all-day ice skating picnic. A beautiful book for reading to the kids or grandkids, with Dutch words, and adorable drawings by this Dutch author throughout the book. 

Click here to order your own copy:
A Day on Skates (English)

Dutch Cookery Books

The book contains a wealth of indispensable information for any starting or experienced home cook: up-to-date product information, basic culinary techniques and no fewer than 1400 tasty recipes and variation options. The ample amount of illustrations (including step-by-step photos with complicated cooking techniques) also makes Kook the ideal kitchen helper. The catering trade school uses it as a textbook during their lessons.

Click here to order your own copy:

Janny de Moor is a freelance culinary writer and photographer. She has written 29 cookbooks, is extremely knowledgeable about Dutch historical and contemporary cuisine and approaches the traditional recipes with the research and respect they deserve. Recipes to try from this book: Zeeland mussel soup, meat croquettes, South Holland cheese dip.

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Another Dutch recipe book from Janny de Moor worth its weight in gold, this time sharing its pages with that delicious cuisine from our neighbors down south, the Belgians. Leave it to Janny and Suzanne vanDijck to not only bring you authentic recipes, but also share plenty of background information and ingredient identification and techniques.

Click here to order your own copy:
150 Dutch and Belgian Recipes (English)

The croquette is a typical Dutch delicacy, is often thought. So it is strange that only a few people make their own croquettes, and hardly anyone has studied their history. Dutch culinary expert Johannes van Dam (1946-2013) did, and noted that there are few products about which so much historical nonsense is debated. This book was completed posthumously by Jonah Freud and Joosje Noordhoek. Includes recipes.

Click here to order your own copy:

Dutch History and Culture Books

Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison—an American and a Brit, both married to Dutchmen and raising their kids in the Netherlands—report back on what makes Dutch kids so happy and well adjusted. Is it that dads take workdays off to help out? Chocolate sprinkles for breakfast? Bicycling everywhere?
The deeper history of Amsterdam, what makes it one of the most fascinating places on earth, is bound up in its unique geography-the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay and the democratic philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered.

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In a riveting, groundbreaking narrative, Russell Shorto tells the story of New Netherland, the Dutch colony which pre-dated the Pilgrims and established ideals of tolerance and individual rights that shaped American history.

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Schama explores the mysterious contradictions of the Dutch nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence, and lived in constant dread of being corrupted by happiness. He tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. 

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In "The Past on Your Plate", Christianne Muusers has selected and adapted more than 45 recipes from the interesting and varied collection of historical books on cooking at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek for the modern kitchen. Whether you want to put a medieval meal on the table or present a dinner through the ages, this book brings the flavors and smells of the past to life.

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Het Verleden op je Bord (Dutch)

Michael Wintle provides a comprehensive account of Dutch history in the "long" nineteenth century. In this fascinating and instructive period the country saw extremely rapid population growth, awesome death rates, staggering fertility, some of the fastest economic growth in the world, a uniquely large and efficient service sector, a vast and profitable overseas empire, and relative tolerance. (I know, I need to get a life - but this is such interesting information!)

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In the past decade, Amsterdam has undergone a culinary metamorphosis. There are special addresses to discover in all neighborhoods and the city is home to a variety of (international) restaurants and culinary specialty shops. Jonah Freud - owner of De Kookboekhandel, culinary expert, cookbook critic of Het Parool and Amsterdammer - will show you the way in this culinary guide, together with her daughter Cijn Prins.

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There is a story behind many objects. Harry Stalknecht expertly unravels the fascinating history of thirty very ordinary Dutch things: from house plants to barbed wire, chewing gum and brassieres. For lovers of 'In the past, everything was different'. (In case you were wondering, that's Rob de Nijs en Ronnie Tober on the cover as young lads on the beach, sneaking a smoke). 

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The true adventures of David Fairchild, a turn-of-the-century American food explorer who traveled the globe and introduced thousands of diverse crops. He worked with Frank Meyer, the Dutch plant explorer, who also appears in the book. 

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The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist...(English)
Kindle Version

Danny shows how rich the Dutch street food culture is and that making snacks - croquettes, homemade fries and homemade frikandellen - is a craft. In the book you will find the recipes of all known snacks from the display case of the snack bar. Everything homemade, from the puff pastry of the cheese soufflés to the stock of the croquettes and even the famous raket. 

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“In 1952 I shared a vacuum cleaner with my mother-in-law.” “In 1961 the television broadcast 24 hours - a week.” “We had to call the neighbors in 1965.” Annegreet van Bergen tells the story of the unprecedented post-war growth that has changed our Dutch lives on all fronts. The weekly basin became a daily shower, the paper pay bag became a digital bank account and the sandwich with "satisfaction" a healthy sandwich.

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  1. Thank you for this reading guide! I love the sound of ‘tow truck Pluk’ for my grandson, whose Opa is Dutch, but it’s only available second hand and very expensive.
    Do you have other suggestions? I’d like to buy both Dutch and English versions. ( He loves trucks etc)

    1. Sue-Ann, I looked again at Amazon and the Dutch version is new, but will have to be shipped from the UK, which adds to the total expense. I am pretty sure the book has not been published in the US. Just check back with Amazon every now and then to see if anybody is offering a new version of the English one. I will also keep my eyes peeled - this is such a great book for kids, especially if they love trucks like your grandson! With almost 200 pages and plenty of illustrations, it will be a treasure for many years to come.


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