Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Business
Live, Work and Study
What's on
See and do
Travel and stay
City Card and tickets
Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Business
Live, Work and Study
Image from By Broersen pluktuin

Seasonal summer produce in Amsterdam

As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, Amsterdam and the surrounding area prepare for the most exciting season foodwise. From the celebrated Hollandse Nieuwe herring to juicy forest fruits and ripe tomatoes, the city offers a rich tapestry of flavours that epitomise the essence of summer. Don’t miss these Dutch seasonal specialities on your trip to Amsterdam during the sunnier months.

Irene de Bruijne
Irene is a freelance food, culture and travel writer. She's always looking for new, interesting stories, places, and the people behind them.
Follow Irene

Herring

Plate of Hollandse Nieuwe haring herring
Image from Unsplash

Although haring (herring) is available year-round in Amsterdam, there is a specific time for the freshest catch, Hollandse Nieuwe. The season generally kicks off in mid-June and is eagerly anticipated by locals. Hollandse Nieuwe refers to the first batch of herring of the year cured in the traditional Dutch way. These young herring are caught, cleaned, and quickly brined, ensuring their tender and flavourful profile. Eat them with pickles and raw onion, but as they say at De Zeevang on Haarlemmermeerstraat: “If the herring is really good, especially at the beginning of the season, you absolutely don’t need all those ‘accessories’.  

  • Herring parties - The start of the herring season is celebrated with many events across the Netherlands. The first day of the season in mid-June is called Vlaggetjesdag (Flag Day) and marks the arrival of the first herring. These festivities often include music, markets, and, of course, plenty of herring tasting. One place to celebrate is Café Hoppe on Spui, famous for hosting a herring party.
  • Culinary uses - Traditionally, herring is eaten raw, often served with chopped onions and pickles. However, Amsterdam's restaurant scene has also embraced the use of the fish in more sophisticated and creative dishes. From herring tartare to smoked herring pâté, many chefs are exploring innovative ways to incorporate this local favourite into their dishes. For example, try the herring with grapefruit and dill at Restaurant Rijks.
  • Haringhandels - Finding the best herring in Amsterdam is a subject of much debate. One highly recommended spot is Haring & Zo, located behind Dam Square and known for its quality and freshness. Yes, really, there is good food to be found behind Dam Square! But of course, there are many more spots to try the local delicacy dotted around the city. 

Tomatoes

The Lobby, Hotel V Fizeaustraat signature dishes
Image from Hotel V

Whilst we might not see tomatoes growing in the city centre – for obvious reasons – that doesn’t mean the Dutch don’t grow this summer staple. The Dutch tomatoes have a relatively short season in which they are their absolute best, but you can always spot them on the restaurant menus when they are. And even more fun: you can watch them grow nearby and pick them yourself.

  • Zorgkwekerij Groen - For those interested in seeing where their food comes from, visiting Zorgkwekerij Groen in Nieuw-West is a wonderful experience. This farm not only cultivates a variety of tomatoes but is also a social workplace where people from all different backgrounds can come and help out. The farm focuses on sustainable practices, ensuring every tomato is grown with care and respect for nature. You can visit the greenhouses once a month on Saturday (exact dates via Facebook).
  • Fruittuinen van West - Even though the name may suggest a fruit garden, Fruittuinen van West also offers great seasonal salad items, such as tomatoes. This urban farm allows visitors to pick their own tomatoes (and other fruits and veggies), making it a fun weekend activity for families and foodies. The farm also hosts events and workshops, offering insights into organic farming and sustainable living.
  • PLUK! - PLUK! is an urban oasis where you can enjoy fresh, locally-grown produce right in the heart of Amsterdam. Their selection of tomatoes is top-notch, and their café offers a variety of dishes that showcase these vibrant fruits. Visitors can pick their own here, or they are welcome to simply come by and watch all the action. Read this guide to the best pluktuinen (pick your own gardens) for more.
  • Restaurant De Durgerdam - A must-try is the tomato tartare on the menu at De Durgerdam. Located just a bike ride from Amsterdam Noord in the green Old Holland region - known for its windmills, cheese farms and lush polder agriculture, this restaurant offers a unique twist on the classic tartare, highlighting fresh tomatoes' rich, umami flavours.

Forest fruits, cherries and strawberries

Coba taqueria signature dishes
Image from Mirthe van der Schoot

The Dutch love their berries and cherries, especially Hollandse aardbeien (Dutch strawberries), a highly anticipated local summer fruit. Whilst Amsterdam may not be renowned for its forests, there are places in the city and surrounding region where you can pick your own fruit. The Amsterdamse Bos, for example, offers berry-picking workshops during the summer months. Here, you will find blackberries, other wild summer fruits and even some fresh herbs—all the perfect ingredients to use in a summer jam. 

  • Preserving - For those who love to preserve the taste of summer, participating in a confiture (jam) workshop is a fantastic idea. These workshops teach you how to make your own jams and preserves using fresh forest fruits. This skill allows you to enjoy the flavours of summer long after the season has passed. Eigen Krachtvoer, for example, will teach you the basics of making your own jam (and compot, so you also don’t waste your tomatoes). 
  • Cherry beer - Summer is also the perfect time to enjoy cherry beer, known as kriek. Originally from Belgium, this fruity beer has also gained popularity in the Netherlands. Although it can be enjoyed year-round, its refreshing taste makes it especially appealing during the warmer months. Brouwerij 't IJ offers a delightful cherry sour and a raspberry special, both of which can be sampled at their windmill brewery in Oost. 
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries - Looking for picture-perfect strawberries? Find them at Polaberry on Prinsengracht. Each strawberry is meticulously hand-dipped in premium chocolate and adorned with beautiful decorations, ranging from edible flowers to intricate designs. These chocolate-covered strawberries are a visual delight and a burst of flavour.
  • Beschuit met aardbeien—This traditional Dutch treat is a beloved home staple that you rarely find on restaurant menus. It's a simple yet delicious snack consisting of a buttered biscuit topped with fresh strawberries and a little sugar. It's the perfect way to enjoy summer's sweet, juicy strawberries. Keep your eye out for it in one of the city’s best cake shops and patisseries.
Irene de Bruijne
Irene is a freelance food, culture and travel writer. She's always looking for new, interesting stories, places, and the people behind them.
Follow Irene