How do you fancy a typical Dutch cheese-and-butter sandwich for lunch? Or a damp, squishy ‘broodje kroket’? Office lunch habits of the Dutch may appear shockingly boring and unhealthy at a first glance.
Working in the Netherlands within an internationally oriented company implies working with people from different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. It’s interesting to see that many have their peculiarities when it comes to lunch at the office.
Lunch habits from around the world
Your typical Asian or South European colleague may bring a Tupperware box to the office, containing a full hot meal with rice, or pasta, vegetables, and meat. You’d be surprised to know how often those meals are cooked freshly, early that very same morning. Quite traditionally, Dutch natives tend to stick to their sandwiches with some slices of meat, cheese, spread, or peanut butter, which they brought from home and eat behind their desks.
Some diets go beyond nationality or ethnic background, though. Nowadays, devoted vegans and vegetarians are everywhere, sworn carnivores just the same. Also the Dutch are becoming more aware of how their typical bread-based diet may not be the best option for lunch.
Food and Employer Branding
More and more companies go out of their way when providing office lunches. Especially tech-heavy companies who depend heavily on their employer brand when it comes to attracting and hiring tech talents. The one thing they have in common is that they realize the importance of taking good care of their employees. Of course, that stretches way beyond finances and other benefits.
Lunch is an everyday mandatory occasion, apart from good coffee (some companies even have their very own in-house coffee bar and trained baristas working full time), and tea. Fresh fruit every day and frequent ‘Fry-day afternoon drinks’ with beer, wine, and typical Dutch snacks such as bitterballen, vlammetjes, borrelnootjes, French fries, and kroketten seem to have become the standard of today.
Offices located around train stations and in big cities, mostly have a lot of take-out lunchrooms or snack bars nearby. Many employees use their daily lunch-walk to just go and buy whatever they’re into that day, whether it be döner kebab, a hamburger bun, or a salad bucket from the supermarket. They mostly pay out of their own pocket.
What would you prefer?
If it were up to you, would you rather have your employer arrange for daily lunches, or do you value the possibility of bringing your own? Maybe a combination of both, on altering days?
Would you thankfully use the lunch break to steal away from your co-workers for some time alone? Or do you enjoy hanging out with your colleagues in a more casual setting, over video games, a round of table tennis, throwing darts, or at the foosball table?
Have you experienced any peculiarities related to lunch habits that made you laugh? Let’s hear from you in the comment section below!