Coffee? - Understanding Dutch culture

Understanding the Dutch coffee culture 📷 SchotkoffieUnderstanding the Dutch coffee culture 📷 Schotkoffie
In the Netherlands, coffee is the thing you get offered practically anywhere you are invited to. However, coffee isn't always coffee. Standing outside, it's often times reasonably easy to see what the place you have been invited to actually sells. But before you accept an invitation from your new Rotterdam bestie, here is a lowdown on what you can expect.

Coffee shops

As you most likely know, the Netherlands is one of the few countries in the world that has legalized marijuana. Which means, some places sell it to you in high quality by the gram for your own use and entertainment. These places are called “coffee shops”. Their primary function is thus the sale of marijuana to the consumer, and not as the name might lead you to expect, coffee. In most of these establishments, drinks, like coffee, are certainly an option but don’t expect the quality to be impressive.
Coffeeshop Nieuwe Binnenweg 📷 Anna SoetensCoffeeshop Nieuwe Binnenweg 📷 Anna Soetens


A café is almost certainly also not the standard place for your artisan coffee; what you mainly do here, is drink. In the Netherlands, a café is actually a pub. A bit confusing, yes, but at least now you know why you are invited by your Dutch date to go to a café at eight p.m. in the evening. 
Café Aan Zet in Delfshaven 📷 Anna SoetensCafé Aan Zet in Delfshaven 📷 Anna Soetens

Coffee bar

If you are looking for good coffee and a piece of cake any time before dinner, this is where you’ll find it. Some recommendable places for coffee and cake in Rotterdam centre are Jordy’s Bakery, Man met Bril coffee, Heilige Boontjes, Koekela, Hopper and Urban Bakery. There are undoubtedly more, but these are tried and tested. Most of them have play areas and can be recommended if you need caffeine because you have kids and you want to take them along.
Heilige Boontjes in RotterdamHeilige Boontjes in Rotterdam
Lil Delfshaven 📷 Anna SoetensLil Delfshaven 📷 Anna Soetens

Snack Bar

Technically, this has nothing to do with coffee but has an equally confusing name. It’s not a bar, as you might be inclined to think where you can get snacks. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find any alcohol here. What you do get are fried fast foods. Typical ones that include chips, called friet, and also kroket, which is a meat mush with a crispy breadcrumb batter on the outside. Personally, I am no big fan, but some swear by it. So much so, that there are even snack machines where you can purchase said 24 hours a day, so you never have to go without. Especially handy if you have the munchies or come out of a night club.
Snack machines in the NetherlandsSnack machines in the Netherlands


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