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Food Culture

Does a Danish and a Dutch lunch look the same?

Last month we had the pleasure of having Erik van Bommel from our Dutch IFR-A partner DUPP visit us here in Aarhus. Erik was here as part of our recruiter exchange program, and we got to learn a lot about both the differences and similarities in the way we do business. But it was also a great opportunity to learn more about the Dutch food culture and food trends now.

Thoughts on Danish food culture
Before Erik’s arrival we asked him to consider what he knew about Danish food culture.
“I have been fortunate to have visited your country, but it has been a while. And my experiences are mainly based on restaurant visits. What I remember for dinners is rye bread with herring in various sauces, salmon, lots of aquavit.”
What Erik didn’t know at the time was that we had already make reservations at Kähler Spisesalon here in Aarhus so that he could try their famous “smørrebrød”. Funnily enough, this was already his expectation!

Rye bread is not as common in the Netherlands as it is here, and the taste is also quite different. Not such a big surprise, as Denmark is one of the countries in the world that eats the most rye bread. A traditional Danish lunch is almost always based on rye bread with different spreads or deli meats. In the Netherlands a typical lunch looks like this – not too far off from a Danish lunch plate.


“Microbreweries in the city in small, cosy bars. I do not recall having eaten lots of vegetables. So, my feeling is that meals are centred around the animal protein component, not so much around vegetable proteins like beans and so on. I can only imagine that there is a trend towards eating less meat.”

Again – very accurate. We Danes do love our meat, but there are strong tendencies towards cutting down on meat, eating meat alternatives or simply eating better meat. The meal is typically centered around the meat, where vegetables and salads are often considered the “side order” and not the main dish.

“Then there is the fantastic Danish bread and pastry, cheeses. Those seem to make a nice typical Danish lunch. And I remember somebody having their birthday and treat the office with really tasty bread with butter and jam.”

True – again! Danish pastry is world famous, and of course we treated Erik to two different types of typical Danish pastry. The “Kaj-kage” and “wienerbrød”. Bon appetite!


“I absolutely enjoyed the rye bread. In fact, I made rye bread a regular component of my lunch now, here at our office in The Netherlands.It just adds more flavor and diversity to what I am used to.  But the Wienerbrot we had was spectacular! I just had to have second piece!!