Souvenirs Shopping: 16 Genuine Dutch Things to Buy in Rotterdam

Souvenirs Shopping: 16 Genuine Dutch Things to Buy in Rotterdam

Just as any other major Dutch destination, Rotterdam is associated with sea, excellent cheeses, marvelous beer, good food and, generally speaking, good taste. A set of gifts from Rotterdam will duly reflect any, if not all, of these qualities. Listed here are some of the items that might prove well up to your liking!
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rotterdam)

1. Dutch Cheese

Dutch Cheese
Everyone could agree that it’s hard to describe Holland without immediately picturing green meadows, windmills, grazing cattle and the country's biggest export - cheese. Along with bread and butter, cheese is always present at breakfast and lunchtime in almost every Dutch home for obvious reasons. Cheese making has been part of the national heritage for centuries and has evolved to become a highly prized product around the world. Dutch cheese is simply delicious and with plenty of variations, textures and flavors to choose from; the only difficulty is to decide which one to buy.

Just like in any other town, Rotterdam has his own specialized shop for cheese, called De Kaashoeve (“The cheese farm”) which is stocked daily with authentic cheeses from the region. Here, you can pick up your favorite young or old cheese in any of the popular variations: Boerenkaas, Edam, Maasdammer or the famous Gouda, which is also available in a baby wheel version from half a pound to a pound, making it very convenient and portable for those who prefer to travel light.

Price: Starting €6.50
Where to find it:
De Kaashoeve
Oude Binnenweg 95a, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 413 86 44
Monday: 12am – 6pm
Tuesday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Sunday: Closed
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2. Contemporary Dutch Jewelry

Contemporary Dutch Jewelry
A modern interpretation of the internationally renowned goldsmith tradition linked to the history of the Dutch jewelry design, contemporary handmade jewelry incorporates both modern and classic materials, such as precious and non-precious metals, stones, pearls, crystal, rubber and paper to create gorgeous, one of a kind, timeless pieces. Simple, pure and wearable are the fundamental characteristics of the Dutch designs which, in turn, make any of these pieces an exceptional and excellent gift choice for that special person.

Gallery Puur is a gallery and atelier specialized in modern handmade jewelry with an extensive and changing collection featuring the works of several Dutch jewelry designers alongside their own creations. The owners, who are likely to be seen working in the atelier through the shop windows, are very welcoming and offering their clients a possibility to develop custom made jewelry for themselves; they also perform reparations upon request. The gallery/atelier is centrally located, close to the Rotterdam Library and the Blaak station. Another non-conventional choice of jewelry is that by Ralph Bakker who craftily combines gold, silver and gems with enamel and other rather unusual materials. "My inspirations are the material, [and] the symbolism of a traditional shape or the beauty of a technique" says Bakker, who is equally proficient in traditional goldsmith techniques and the symbolism and minimalism of modern times.

Price: €8 - €800
Where to find it:
Galerie Puur
Botersloot 50a, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 213 67 96
Tuesday: 10am – 5:30pm
Wednesday – Friday: 11am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday – Monday: Closed

Ram Foundation
Blekerstraat 10, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Thursday – Sunday: 1pm – 6pm
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3. Dutch Sweets

Dutch Sweets
Dutch people, no doubt, enjoy their sugary confections, and Drop (salty or sweet liquorice) is the most popular of them, which is no surprise, considering that Holland boasts the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world. It is common to buy this and other oud Hollandse snoepjes (Old Dutch candy) by weight, usually packed in Puntzakken, a cone-shaped plastic bag. All Dutch sweets evoke a distinct old-time feel; in case of Drop, it is also known for having healing properties, particularly useful for soothing a sore throat. Other old-time sweets feature unusual ingredients, such as aniseed, bay leaf and butter, and even nostalgic names like Oma's snoepmix (Grandma’s candy mix).

Blaak market is well known for its stalls displaying all kinds of traditional Dutch confections. Another special shop is Jamin, first opened 125 years ago and still remaining a prime choice with the locals for variety, fun decor, packaging and mixing options. You can never go wrong with these sweets: they are portable size, nice looking treats and make great gifts from Rotterdam.

Price: depending on weight, starts at €2
Where to find it:
Lijnbaan 57, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 411 78 98
Monday: 11am – 6pm
Tuesday – Thursday & Saturday: 9:30am – 6pm
Friday: 9:30am – 9pm
Sunday: 12am – 5:30pm
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4. Ceramics

Visiting old and modern cities across The Netherlands, you will notice how contemporary ceramic designs prevail over classic, of which the most vivid example is the iconic Blue Delftware pottery. Their focus is on clean, minimalistic and organic lines. Color is cleverly used to add interest and more often than not, orange – the color of the Dutch Royal family - is employed. Designers across the country have an inclination towards creating items that are more than mere decorations; they are also made functional, most of the times, and although simplicity is the rule, they ultimately represent original, splendid decorative pieces.

Royal Goedewaagen is known for crafting the stunning Gouda pottery; their collection is available at exclusive stores, like De Bijenkorf. With a wide range of items, like vases, Bonbonnieres, platters, jars, ceramic figures and more, you can rest assured to find there some truly unique gifts of various shapes, sizes and prices. The latter vary from a few euros to several hundred.
Where to find it:
De Bijenkorf Rotterdam
Coolsingel 105, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Monday: 11am – 6:30pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 10am – 6:30pm
Friday: 10am – 9pm
Saturday: 9:30 – 6:30pm
Sunday: 12am – 6pm

5. Nautical Decorative Oil Lamps

Nautical Decorative Oil Lamps
Rotterdam is best known as one of the world’s biggest ports. Water and the port have always played an important role in the city. Nautical references reminiscent of Rotterdam's maritime history are seen throughout: old inner city harbors, historic warehouses and other characteristic paraphernalia of the time. Among the latter are nautical decorative oil lamps - traditional oil-fueled brass lamps, handmade to commercial ship standards manufactured since 1922 by Den Haan Rotterdam, a world famous company specialized in fabrication of marine accessories. Many of these lamps are actual replicas of the old models used on seagoing vessels a hundred years ago in Europe, and as such, are a sure guarantee to make a distinctive and valuable gift for collectors and history lovers.

Egge Maritiem is one of the largest marine-décor shops in The Netherlands and is coincidentally located close to the Rotterdam Maritime Museum, the Maas River and opposite the Open Air Maritime Museum. Visiting this store and surroundings is a great way to experience a bit of the city’s history, so be sure to pack your camera and take some photos; they would make a nice anecdote to share when giving this special gift.

Price: €100-€300+
Where to find it:
Egge Maritiem
Schiedamsedijk 70-71, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 433 08 97
Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 11am – 3:30pm

6. Coffee Set & Cookie Jar

Coffee Set & Cookie Jar
Coffee-drinking is a ritual for the Dutch with such a strong social significance that it provides a perfect context for the use of the crucial Dutch word "Gezelligheid" which combines several meanings: “cozy”, “friendly”, “pleasant”, “sociable”. And no coffee-drinking ritual is complete without an ever-present cookie (take just one if you want to follow the Dutch etiquette!) which is nicely presented in a koektrommel, the regular cookie tin container we all know. Every household in The Netherlands has at least one decent coffee set and one cookie jar, and certainly, you can have one, too, given the wide variety available these days, proudly designed and manufactured by local designers.

Blond Amsterdam is one popular brand with a big collection of hand-painted, unique and fun pottery items, including coffee pots, cups and saucers, cookie tins, sugar bowls and more. They even have Dutch-themed series appropriately named “I love Holland” and “Delft Blond”, homage to the Delft pottery with a modern twist. All items are sold individually, so you can mix and match to create your own perfect set, fitting personal style with the budget. These are sold at the prominent department stores V&D and De Bijenkorf, both located in the city center.

Price: from 6 to 50 Euros
Where to find it:
Hoogstraat 185, Rotterdam, Netherlands
0900 2358363
Monday: 11am – 6:30pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30am – 6:30pm
Friday: 9:30am – 9pm
Saturday: 9:30 – 6pm
Sunday: 12am – 6pm

7. Stroopwafels (Syrup Waffle)

Stroopwafels (Syrup Waffle)
The ubiquitous syrup waffle is a traditional Dutch treat consisting of two thin layers of baked batter with a caramel filling in the middle. They were first made in the city of Gouda during the late 18th century and its invention is commonly attributed to a baker named Gerard Kamphuisen. According to the oldest recipe ever found, crumbs and leftovers where baked to make the cookies that were next sweetened with syrup. Because they were so cheap to produce, they were commonly regarded as “poor men’s cookies”. Today, stroopwafels are more than just a tasty snack for the Dutch; visitors to the country find it just as delicious, and thus, the once humble and sticky cookie has found many fans around the globe.

Markus stroopwafel bakery has been baking syrup waffles for over 30 years now in a strict accordance with the original recipe; their kiosks are found all over the country at typical Dutch markets where you can buy syrup waffles nicely gift-wrapped in vintage tins and Delft pottery jars. In Rotterdam, you can buy them at the Blaak open-air market, and also at a permanent kiosk downtown which can't be any easier to find - just follow the caramel scent and it'll take you to this special little stand. Once there, be sure to have a freshly baked stroopwafel and then buy enough of them to take home with you.

Price: 6€ - 12€
Where to find it:
Markus Stroopwafel, Rotterdam kiosk
Hoogstraat Street, between the streets Coolsingel and Blaak, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Monday: 12am – 5:30pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5:30pm

Blaak Markt
Binnenrotte, Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 267 54 55
Tuesday: 8am – 5:30pm
Saturday: 8am – 5pm
Sunday Market on April 3 to 25 September 2011 from 12am – 5pm
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8. Sambal

Dutch cooking has been greatly influenced by Indonesian cuisine that was introduced to the country via former colonies and settlements in Asia and the Caribbean. Sambal is a perfect example of such influence. The basic version of the spicy multipurpose condiment consists of a mixture of chilies, brown sugar and salt, known as Sambal Oelek. There are many variations thereof, from mild to extremely hot, depending on the ingredients added. The Indonesian Rijsttafel, a culinary Dutch invention translated as “rice table”, cannot be complete without the presence of some kind of spicy sambal paste accompanying the other usual small dishes.

Several years ago, Sita Danser, a local cooking enthusiast native of Surinam, started making her own sambal totally from scratch, just like her mother used to. She did it mainly as a hobby and to share with friends during the many dinners she loved to host. Today, she is the face behind “hottie Sambal”, an award winning organic sambal made with 100% natural, organic and locally-sourced ingredients. She has created several spicy concoctions, adding her own twist, of course, and it worked: health food and delicatessen stores alike sell her colorful jars that have become extremely popular with the locals seeking new ways to incorporate it in their meals - from bread to soup to mashed potato - sambal is for sure taking care of adding a hot dash of flavor.

Price: Jars starting at €2.95
Where to find it:
Gimsel Natuurvoedingssupermarkt
Mariniersweg 9, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 404 73 42
Monday – Friday: 8am – 8pm
Saturday: 8am – 6pm

Alles komt van buiten
Nieuwe Binnenweg 100, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 436 00 42
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm
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9. Candles

Most people would probably think of candles as a plain gift until they visit The Netherlands and become aware of the fact that, beyond being just everyday household items, these are used to deliver that cozy, gezellig ambiance to an otherwise ordinary room. They make great decorations as well, since they are available in numerous colors, textures and sizes fit to complement every decorative style. There is simply no excuse to add a little warmth to your space and make others feel welcomed. The Dutch know this all too well: the country is the leader in the use of candles during Christmas burning about 3.3 kg per person every year.

Dutch candle making dates back to 1858 with the establishment of the Gouda Candle brand which enjoys outstanding international reputation to this day. Regardless of their simplicity, the candles are a pretty, colorful and very cheap gift to bring back home and share with the family.

Price: €2 - €10+
Where to find it:
Dille & Kamille
Korte Hoogstraat 22-24, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 411 33 38
Monday: 12am – 6pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30am – 6pm
Friday: 9:30am – 9pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 12am – 5:30pm
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10. Pelgrim Beer

Pelgrim Beer
It's no surprise to anyone that The Netherlands ranks high among the world's top beer drinking nations. The Dutch love their beers and have worked hard to consolidate their brands and make them famous internationally, as in the case of Heineken and Grolsch - both enjoying global recognition.

Quite expectedly, in Holland you can find regional and even seasonal brews, and Rotterdam, of course, has its own strong say on the subject in the form of local brewery, called De Pelgrim, producing award-wining beers using Rotterdam water and the best sourced ingredients, including aromatic hops and pure yeast. The result is a robust, artisanal beer with unique and strong flavors attained through the process that often involves neither pasteurization nor filtration in a bid to ensure the utmost purity of the product. Two varieties are brewed here permanently - Pelgrim 1580 and Mayflower Tripel. The former is a fresh bitter based on Altbier from Düsseldorf, Germany, while the latter has a full spicy flavor thanks to the special hops added. These and other seasonal beers are available in 0.75L and 3 liter bottles. It is also possible to make your own brew, just ask the store’s knowledgeable staff about the available options. Afterwards, make sure to get your precious purchase properly packaged for a long trip back home.

0.75 L bottle: €6.95
3 L bottle: €19.95+
Where to find it:
De Pelgrim Brewery
Aelbrechtskolk 12, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 477 11 89
Wednesday-Sunday: 12am – 4:30pm
Monday and Tuesday: Closed

11. Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw Puzzles
Why not diversify your game night a little bit by completing a good old jigsaw puzzle, just like the Dutch do? Most challenging, colorful and crowded, but also rather humorous are the jigsaw puzzles created by Jan Van Haasteren, a local artist whose illustrations have been featured in the popular jigsaw puzzles, manufactured by the Dutch toy company Jumbo, for several decades now. Jan’s illustrations are best known for being highly detailed, cluttered and, above all, hilariously illustrative of the typical events of the Dutch society. With a huge collection of puzzles available, some ranging from 500 to 5000 pieces, and other special editions, depending on an individual’s puzzling abilities, there is always something for everyone - kids, adults, novices and hard-nosed puzzle-solving experts. And don’t forget to look for Jan’s trademarks, once finishing the puzzle: "shark’s fin" – present in every single one of his jigsaw puzzles - and other favorites, such as "hands", "dentures" and last but not least, Jan’s obsession, "Saint Nicholas" (The Dutch version of Santa) which is always hidden somewhere in the crowd and epitomizes the “Made in Holland” character.

Price: from €12.99 to €29.99+
Where to find it:
Coolsingel 60B, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 240 90 57
Monday: 11am – 6pm
Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30am – 6pm
Friday: 9:30am – 9pm
Saturday: 9:30am – 5pm
Sunday: 12am – 5pm
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12. Soccer Jersey

Soccer Jersey
Rotterdam is the home of the professional football club Feyenoord, which is one of the three clubs dominating the Dutch national league and one of the most successful Dutch clubs ever. Since establishment in 1908, the club has won 14 nationals titles, and was the first Dutch club to win the European Cup in 1970 and also the first to win the UEFA cup in 1974. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the Club has the largest group of supporters in the country and fan shops even in the remote places outside The Netherlands, such as Japan and South Korea.

Even if you’re not a die-hard fan of Feyenoord, a visit to De Kuip (the tub) stadium might be rather entertaining and informative in terms of familiarizing yourself with the team’s long history in winning major European trophies and also appreciating the sense of pride and devotion shared by the local supporters. After purchasing the Club jersey at the Feyenoord fan shop, you can move on to visit the stadium itself by taking a tour that is always finished with a trip to the Feyenoord museum.

Kids: €60
Adults: €70
Where to find it:
Feyenoord FanShop Stadion
Van Zandvlietplein 15, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 432 44 40
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 10am – 4pm

Feyenoord FanShop Centrum
Lijnbaan 32, Rotterdam, Netherlands

010 280 00 25
Monday: 12am – 5:30pm
Tuesday – Thursday & Saturday: 10am – 5:30pm
Friday: 10am – 9pm
Sunday: 12am – 5pm
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13. Jenever

Known throughout the English-speaking world as Dutch gin, Jenever is a pure distillate from grains with distinctive flavors and aromas resulting from the addition of a Juniper berry. It is believed to be invented by a Dutch chemist in the late 16th century as a medicine to treat lumbago and other associated pains. Although its origins are still subject to a heated debate, Jenever is considered quintessentially Dutch and is, no doubt, the most popular drink in the country. The range of official Jenever classifications includes grain, old, young, and korenwijn types with tasting characteristics ranging from neutral and slightly perfumed (for the young varieties) to smooth with smoky and malty flavors (for the old varieties) that are sometimes left to mature, for a few years, in oak barrels. This old liqueur holds the appellation d’origine controlee status since 2008 and can only be produced in The Netherlands, Belgium, and some German and French provinces.

Orlanda, the liqueur store located on Oude Binnenweg, the shopping street, holds an impressive selection of alcoholic drinks along with its own-produced Jenever, aptly named the “skyline of Rotterdam,” which is specially brewed and packaged to be sold exclusively at this store. The shop's friendly owner is a liqueur connoisseur and would proudly show you to this and other famous Jenevers on sale. He is also an avid collector which is evident from the amazing collection of beer cans neatly stacked all way up to the roof and giving the store its unique, old-fashion feel.

Price: bottles start at €12
Where to find it:
Wijnhandel Orlanda
Oude Binnenweg 111-B, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 413 64 98
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Monday & Sunday: Closed

14. Designer Shoes

Designer Shoes
No visit to Rotterdam is complete without a dose of Dutch fashion. If you are still wondering why, just take a walk through the famous shopping streets of Nieuwe Binnenweg, Witte de Withstraat and van Oldenbarneveltstraat and see for yourself: "unique", "colorful" and "irreverent" are perhaps the best terms to describe Dutch design in general and the locally-made shoes in particular. Contemporary yet somewhat retro-looking, with high attention to detail, materials, colors and craftsmanship, you may rest assured to find at least one pair that appeals to your sense of style and, while these are not the average type of shoes, they will certainly make a fresh addition to any wardrobe.

Jan Jansen is a celebrated Dutch shoe designer whose exclusive creations are commonly regarded as being “ahead of time, yet timeless”. Luckily, his shoes can be found at one of the exclusive shops on Nieuwe Binnenweg where you will find a selection of his and other Dutch designers’ footwear. For a better impression and a wider choice, you can always visit other popular fashion streets on the city.

Price: €125-€400+
Where to find it:
Dorine Christ
Nieuwe Binnenweg 60, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 414 20 25
Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Thursday: 11am – 6pm
Friday: 11am – 7pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Sunday: 1pm – 5pm
January and February: Closed on Sunday

15. Poffertjes (Dutch Miniature Pancakes) Kit

Poffertjes (Dutch Miniature Pancakes) Kit
Poffertjes, the Dutch miniature pancakes, thick and sweet, made of yeast and buckwheat flour, were first baked around 1800 in France and brought to The Netherlands by merchants during the French revolution. While totally unknown in France these days, in Holland, poffertjes are considered a truly Dutch delicacy that only a small group of professionals traditionally make, a proof of which is seen in the many poffertjessalons (restaurant specializing in poffertjes) spread across the country.

In Rotterdam, Poffertjessalon Seth has been serving this treat - based on a secret family recipe - for over 25 years. Walking down Hoogstraat Street, you will easily spot this restaurant as their baker is usually outdoors making fresh poffertjes with a special copper pan, as the old tradition dictates. Bringing this Dutch favorite back home is possible these days: all you need is a) poffertjespan, a specially cast iron plate with indentations to hold poffertjes and thus give them their round shape while cooking; and, of course, b) the poffertjes dry mix to make the batter. With these basics in hand, all you need to do is just follow the instruction (written on the box) and bake yourself mini pancakes using your brand-new poffertjespan, and then serve them like the Dutch - warm and with a dollop of real butter, dusted with sugar powder.

Poffertjes Mix: starting at €1.29 per 400 gram box
Poffertjespan: €14.99 - €39.95
Where to find it:
Poffertjes Mix can be found at most grocery stores.
For the poffertjespan:
Hoogstraat 196, Rotterdam, Netherlands
010 280 73 40
Monday: 11am – 6pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 9am – 6pm
Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 12am – 5:30 pm

16. Dutch Process Cacao

Dutch Process Cacao
Chocoholics and the Dutch have at least this one thing in common - addiction to chocolate. Hot chocolate prepared with the Dutch-process cacao is the favorite local drink during winter months. Van Houten is the famous Dutch brand of cacao powder and cacao-based drinks, named after Coenraad Johannes van Houten, the Dutch chocolate maker who invented this particular kind of cacao in 1828. Droste and Blooker are also popular cacao brands outside The Netherlands and, surely, both cooking lovers and gourmet enthusiasts would know the difference between natural cacao and the Dutch-process cacao (also known as Alkalized Unsweetened Cacao) that is often required in European desserts and other recipes.

This multipurpose ingredient ensures great results in every recipe it is called for, be it a simple cup of hot chocolate or a decadent chocolate cake - just go ahead and stock up on these little boxes full of rich and dark goodness while you can! Share them with your family and friends back home and then sit back and wait a bit, because it won’t be long before somebody - unable to resist the temptation - would decide to bake something scrumptious and gooey containing (of course!) your authentic Dutch cacao.

Price: Boxes start at €2
Where to find it:
Available at most groceries stores and supermarkets
Jumbo Supermarkten
Vijf Werelddelen 33, 3071 PS Rotterdam, Netherlands
413 380 200 
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Other Interesting Souvenirs from the Netherlands

If traveling to the Netherlands is not on your immediate agenda, or you simply can't afford an extra space in your luggage, fortunately, these days, you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting Dutch souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the Dutch products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.

1. Dutch Clogs - Cute-looking clogs, or “klompen” as they call it, are the wooden shoes from the Netherlands that have long become one of the key symbols of the Dutch culture. They are quite safe and comfy to wear, allowing sufficient room for foot and secure from any penetration, be it sharp objects or concentrated acids. Nowadays, clogs are seen mostly as a souvenir item, adorned with themed ornaments, befitting a multitude of decorative or gift purposes.

2. Popular Dutch Snacks - These are numerous and include various items, subject to one's preference. Among the most popular Dutch snacks are: Speculaas – the traditional Dutch crumbly spiced cookies, baked to a traditional family recipe; Bolletjes - crisps with a hint of sweetness, good with fruit or sweet spread or cheese, butter or eggs, and coupled with breakfast coffee; they also make great ingredient for meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs; Honigkoek - a traditional Dutch Honey Cake, rich in sweet flavor reminiscent of honey, ideally taken sliced, toasted, and spread with butter or, for a traditional twist, topped with a slice of Nokkelost or Leyden cheese.

3. Droog Design - Droog is a Dutch conceptual design company, emerged in the 1990s, working with independent designers and renowned for its innovative approach to interior products. They commonly adapt prefabricated materials into knowingly sober items with a distinctive sense of playfulness, taking a pragmatic, and often cheeky, approach to design lighting and home furnishings with an inherent abundance of content, reaching far beyond pure aesthetics, in a bid to create products “with a soul”.

4. Tulip Bulbs - Tulips and the Netherlands are inseparable from one another. Tulip bulbs are ideal for a lazy man's garden of outdoor spring flowers or indoor winter cheer! These can be planted in pots on patios, decks or window boxes. Just dig a hole in the fall, bury the bulb, and see the miracle of nature emerge in early spring, without fail, year after year after year. A sure way to bring some spring inside!

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Walking Tours in Rotterdam, Netherlands

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Create Your Own Walk in Rotterdam

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