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Delighting in Dutch Delicacies: Food Photography in The Netherlands

submitted on 21 May 2023 by
As I sit here writing this, contemplating the Dutch landscape with all its wondrous peculiarities, my thoughts are inevitably drawn towards a lesser known but equally fascinating aspect of this distinct region of the world - the art of food photography. Now, bear with me. I understand that the very mention of the word "food" can be met with a mixture of confusion, disappointment and possibly even disdain when it comes to the culinary reputation of The Netherlands. When people typically think of Dutch food, they think of fried, greasy, and smelly concoctions that adhere ever so lovingly to the walls of your arteries. But, my friends, there is so much more to the Dutch dining experience than merely being a culinary footnote in Europe.

The Visual Feast

Whether it's a hearty, steaming bowl of erwtensoep or a humble, yet mouth-watering broodje haring, there is a certain undeniable charm to Dutch cuisine. It is this charm that has begun to attract the curious lenses of intrepid food photographers from around the world, eager to capture the unique essence of The Netherlands through the medium of morsels. It is said that we feast with our eyes before we ever taste a bite, and there is an undeniable truth to this when it comes to food photography in The Netherlands. The art of capturing the essence of a dish has become increasingly popular in the era of Instagram and Pinterest, but there is a certain je ne sais quoi about Dutch food photography that sets it apart from the rest.

Embrace the Mundane

Let us begin with the basic mantra of Dutch food photography: embrace the mundane. A staple of Dutch cuisine is its overwhelming simplicity, and this must be reflected in the images. Food photographers in The Netherlands have developed a knack for taking what may be considered mundane and transforming it into something truly captivating. The best examples come from the unassuming nature of traditional Dutch dishes, such as the aforementioned erwtensoep - a thick, green pea soup that is both nourishing and comforting, perfect for those cold and windy Dutch evenings. By employing a minimalist approach to composition and lighting, Dutch food photographers can create an image that showcases the dish in all its simple, unpretentious glory. There is an almost Zen-like quality to these images, drawing the viewer in with their uncomplicated serenity, allowing them to appreciate the dish for what it is - honest, wholesome food.

A Sense of Place

Another important aspect of Dutch food photography is the ability to convey a sense of place. The Netherlands is a country steeped in history and tradition, and as such, its cuisine is intrinsically linked to the land from which it came. It is this connection to the Dutch landscape that must be captured in the images, from the windmills and tulip fields to the bustling markets and cozy cafés that dot the country.
  • When photographing something like the classic Dutch appeltaart, for example, consider incorporating iconic Dutch elements into the background of the image, such as a Delftware plate or a pair of wooden clogs.
  • For a more contemporary twist, capture the dish within the context of a modern Dutch setting, such as a trendy Amsterdam café or a bustling food festival in Rotterdam.
By incorporating these elements into the images, Dutch food photographers are able to paint a vivid picture of the Netherlands and its rich culinary heritage, transporting the viewer to the very heart of Dutch culture.

A Dash of Humor and Whimsy

Finally, let us not forget the importance of humor and whimsy in Dutch food photography. The Dutch are known for their self-deprecating sense of humor and appreciation for life's little eccentricities, and this is something that can be embraced and celebrated within the images. Take, for instance, the stroopwafel - a delightful Dutch confection consisting of two thin waffles sandwiched together with a sticky caramel-like syrup. In the hands of a skilled Dutch food photographer, the humble stroopwafel can be transformed into a playful visual narrative, perhaps by balancing one precariously atop a steaming cup of coffee, or arranging a mismatched stack of them like a game of culinary Jenga. By injecting a little Dutch humor and whimsy into the images, food photographers in The Netherlands are able to create captivating and memorable photographs that showcase the true spirit of Dutch cuisine.


So, there you have it - a brief, yet comprehensive, foray into the world of Dutch food photography. While it may not enjoy the same level of reverence as its French or Italian counterparts, there is a certain charm to Dutch cuisine that is ripe for photographic exploration. So, if you find yourself in The Netherlands with a camera in hand and an appetite for adventure, why not take a wander through the culinary landscape and delight in capturing the essence of this unique corner of the world?
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