Hagelslag, Drop & the Dutch

*This post is first published on my RIP Travel Blog, I apologize for some missing comments

Besides Raw Herring, the Dutch has another unique concept on bread. Meanwhile the rest of the world eat bread topped with peanut butter, jam, Nutella,  butter and slices of tomatoes or bacon, honey or salad. The Dutch eats bread topped with Hagelslag.


Choco sprinkles is called hagelslag in the Netherlands. And don’t be surprised, eating bread with sprinkles is not only in the Netherlands. Indonesia and the Netherlands share a special relationship during their colonial interaction for centuries, so, it also applies in Indonesia.

In Indonesia, we don’t call it Hagelslag, but we called it Meises derived from muisjes word in Dutch which means little mice. Little Mice?? The Dutch named it. Sounds weird, huh?? It’s Dutch, by the way … If it’s just normal and not weird, then it is not Dutch, Whooopsie!!!!

However, I have a unique hagelslag experience on this Dutch/Indonesian way. When I moved to Singapore for continuing my study in 2004, I became so confused, how come it seemed so hard to find Choco Sprinkles in Supermarket or grocery store, especially on Bread or Breakfast section. I had to ask the shopkeeper then they led me to the baking aisle, not too far from the flour, chocolate chips, cocoa and sugar.

I found it is funny, so, only in Indonesia and the Netherlands we can find sprinkles on bread section along with jam and nutella?? Even German, the closest neighbor don’t have this habit, they have their own version of eating bread. Outside Indonesia & the Netherlands, people use sprinkles for ice cream, cake or donuts, for Indonesian and the Dutch, we eat sprinkles with bread and butter for breakfast or meal.


My Dutch friend, Alia, who lives in Breda, the Netherlands captured this picture special for this post. Bedankt schatje!!!

My bread and Indonesian version of  Hagelslag (choco sprinkles)


Then,  Drop, Dutch Liquorice


Back in the day, when a Dutch medical student  I met in Singapore introduced me to his national sweets, drop. Since then, I became noticed that the Dutch really proud of this candy. I like candy, but I said Hell no for this one. I can say, only the Dutch who understands the taste of this candy. My Dutch friend even ever said like this; to be the real Dutch or live in Holland you must know how to like our drop.

It is like a must or unwritten requirement to get a Dutch citizenship :p

Okay, Drop is Dutch Liquorice. And I thought we stop consuming candy as we get older, but it doesn’t like that way for the Dutch. You know, my Dutch friend brought his national candies (drop)  from his home, Holland to Singapore.

And the funny thing, besides for their own supplies while overseas, they love to give non Dutch their drop, and laughing out loud when they see people’s reaction when Dutch’s liquorice seems not acceptable for non Dutch.

I was once a victim of my Dutch friend, he offered me his national candy, and he waited for me putting drop into my mouth, and laughing out loud when I really dropped this fucking drop to the floor straight away. “Yikes.. What the hell is this, are you poisoning me?? It tastes like a toilet cleaner, or  liquid chemical.”

Since he’s a medical student who was doing his internship I assumed he was trying to test me a medicine from hospital. No, it wasn’t. He brought Dutch Liquorice from Holland, and kept many supply in his room, different taste and shape, the shape is cute, but the taste… Oh My!!!

Foreigner or Non Dutch don’t like the Drop, and we would never understand why do the Dutch like this?? It’s still a mystery for me!! I guess Dutch has different tongue than the rest of us. Just different.

In 2010, I joined Summer Course in Utrecht, The Netherlands, we learned about Dutch Culture and Current Issues, interesting topic to see the Dutch through the eyes of foreigner like me. Then, at the end of the course, our Dutch teacher brought this National Candy to the class, and my heart jumped when I saw a packet  in my Dutch teacher’s palm!! Oh No!! I recognized that!!

There were no Dutch in our class except the teacher, I whispered to my friend who sat next to me. Don’t eat that, you would regret, I tried it before… and it tastes like a toilet cleaner.. or poison-flavored.

Then, I could see the smirking face through my Dutch teacher’s facial expression when he was sharing the Drop to each of us. They were Indonesian, Indian, Mexican, Taiwanese and Spanish. All of us, just a group of innocent foreigners who didn’t have any ideas what it taste like. They thought it’s just like a normal candy.

But they’re late!!! They tried it and I saw several different expressions from disappointment, confusion and frustration through my classmate faces. Poor them. The Dutch, really proud of their Liquorice, Drop. They don’t care foreigner like it or not, and they love to punish non Dutch to taste it, and what an excitement for them seeing agony on our face.

Dutch has Autochtoon and Allochtoon terminology, Yes, I learned Dutch Culture in this course, remember!! Autochtoon means you are the Dutch, and it means here, you love the Drop, then..Allochtoon is the outsider who never understands the Drop. So, I don’t like the Drop, and I’m just an allochtoon for them. If someday, I changed my mind and start to like the Drop *which I think it’s impossible!!!*, I’d considered to be Autochtoon.

Do you believe that??? Drop rule!!

Well, Autochtoon and Allochtoon vs Dutch Liquorice are just kind of Joke. I learned these terminologies back then in the summer course, and it’s a bit political thing, it reminds me of Harry Potter book, you are muggle or non Muggle.


Drop from our Dutch teacher in class.

So, I think this rule is like ; You’re NOT Indonesian if you don’t like Durian!! What do you think, do you have such a weird rule like this in your country, You are not X [mention your country] if you don’t like ……. “fill in the blank”

authorRahma loves writing & reading before she knows how to write and read. A geek who loves her spirit of individuality and has traveled solo since her early age.

5 Responses to “Hagelslag, Drop & the Dutch

  • looks like you are really fluent with “holland spreken” ya?
    That bread and hagelslag colors, it looks tempting. I want to try it. :p

  • Have you tried eating bread topped with bread and sprinkles during your one year stay in Indonesia, Derek?? you should try it, that’s the way we grew up, I remember when I was in elementary school, I had always that for my lunch box, brought it from home.
    And I never knew it’s from the Dutch culture till I lived in Singapore, realized it, only Indonesian who eats bread with sprinkles.
    When you said Poutine, the first thing pop up in my mind .. what!!?? Canadian eats Russian leader.. lol, and I checked on google, ohhh, Poutine is a meal…
    American vs Cheeseburger, ah ya ya.. we know that!! Indonesia is somewhat Americanization actually, especially in Jakarta. Sizzler, McDonald and the likes are everywhere there..
    Similar to American, Indonesian also love their food. Did you know this country used to have cyber war, or sentiment to Malaysia regarding who belong to Rendang??
    Because Malaysian claimed They have rendang too, hahaha… And Indonesian is very proud when CNN made a list, Rendang is one of delicious food in the world.

    Indonesian, really proud of their food either, bragging about the variety of their food throughout archipelago.
    The differences between American and Indonesian, why we dont face obesity like your country, because American eat in Super Jumbo portion.

    If you compared between Indonesian and American portion, you might say… oohhhh, Our portion is your Kiddy meal portion. Or cat portion, Hahahaha…
    Ooops, what a long comment!! Thanks for your inputs, really glad to hear comment like this. It is very interesting to hear cultural identity every nation …
    Rahma recently posted…Colorful China: Exploring Xi’an, The Original CapitalMy Profile

  • Interesting, never knew that side of the history and certainly haven’t either heard of the drop. But you know me, always eager to try new things
    To answer your question, you’re not Canadian if you don’t like poutine. And you’re not American if you don’t like cheeseburgers. Or a good medium rare steak. Or ribs. Or a buffet. Hmmmm guess I could really ramble on here. Americans love their food. No wonder they are so obese. Freakin’ childhood obesity is not just a thing in the USA but a serious problem affecting 1 in 4 kids.

  • Interesting blog post, your writing style is funny
    I never heard this Drop, Dutch Licorice??? But, I can’t imagine with its taste, as you said, tastes like toilet cleaner. ha ha ha

  • niet, niet, ik kan niet.. een beetje!! Haha
    Thanks.. Yup, I also bought Hagelslag when I was there for oleh-oleh for my 2 yo niece, she loved it. Kiddy really loves hagelslag.
    Uuuuuh, really wanna come back there, and explore the country.. uh, oh.. NESO,could you sponsor me again pleaseeeee… hihihi…

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