The Hague - Food shopping
After establishing where you are going to live, there are many other things you will need to solve. One of which is shopping for your food.
Shopping hours in The Netherlands are based with the idea that people who work in the shop will also have time to do their own shopping! Up to only a few years ago, all shops were closed on Sunday and in the evenings, however this has changed and on sunday is now possible to find shops open.
Remember though, most shops are closed on Monday mornings, but have one late evening shopping day, koopavond, where shops close at 9:00 pm.
Supermarkets and open-air markets
Dutch supermarkets carry most grocery products.
The main supermarket chains are: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Konmar, Digros, Hoogvliet, Edah, Lidl and Aldi.
Almost in every main shopping street you will find one of 700 health food stores and reform shops in the Netherlands. Health food stores carry a wide assortment of both fresh and processed organic and natural foods, while reform shops tend to specialize in dry groceries, therapeutic products and food supplements.
In several center squares, once or twice a week there is going to bean open-air market, where you can buy fruit and vegetables, bakery products, sweets and usually cheese.
De Haagse Markt on Herman Costerstraat, is the biggest open-air market in The Hague. with over 500 stalls, ranging from flower bulbs to clothing. Excellent bargains can be found here, but you must have a critical eye for quality. There are several excellent dress and curtain fabric stalls which also sell sewing materials.
More information can be found on the website: www.dehaagsemarkt.nl/ (English is limited but available)
Always remember to take shopping bags with you when you do your grocery shopping. The supermarkets carry their own brand bags which sturdy and which you can buy to keep. You will also need a one EURO coin for a trolley, usaully found at the entrance of each supermarket. Payments can be done either by cash or PIN, a bank debit card. Credit cards are not usually accepted.
On arriving in The Netherlands you will notice that the Dutch do not queue, therefore you must learn how to get served in a shop. You should first look for a ticket dispenser by the cheese counter. This makes it easier for you, but beware, do not get distracted or you will have missed your turn!
It is important to greet the owner of the shop or anyone serving you.
The Dutch are very proud of their milk and milk products. Gouda and Edam are their two most famous cheeses. If you are a cheese connoisseur you must the cheese specialist or Kaasspecialist. You will be surprised at the large selection of cheeses and the owner's expertise.
The bakery shops or bakkerijen, offer all variety of mouth watering fresh breads and also breads from France, Italy and the Middle East. They also have a full range of seasonal breads and cookies according to the time of the year.
Greengrocery, called groenteboer in Dutch are plentiful. Expect to find a stunning variety of fruits and vegetables. Supermarkets offer a big range of choice but you can opt to find your independent greengrocer. Fresh vegetables and fruits are not the only things displayed in the shops, but also nuts and loads of ready made soups, stews and casseroles. In the late autumn and winter, a dutch favourite would be the famous pea soup.