Celiac Disease In The Netherlands
Posted 25 November 2011 - 02:49 PM
The Netherlands isn't the most ideal country for people with celiac disease when compared to the UK, France or Italy, but there are still a lot of possibilities for gluten-free travellers. Luckily, most Dutch people have an acceptable knowledge of foreign languages, most people are reasonably fluent in English, especially the younger generations. We won't force our horrible language onto anyone. Seriously, to the untrained ear, the average Ducthie sounds like an orc choking on a fishbone
[shameless regional pride] If you're visiting us and are up for something a little different, come visit Twente. Most people only visit the west of the country (North and South Holland) and skip the rest of the Netherlands. Twente has lots of things to offer like beautiful nature, historical towns and castles, regional delicacies and all sorts of countryside activities like horse-riding or visiting farms and cheesemakers. The city of Enschede also has a lot to see and do for art-lovers and history enthousiasts.[/pride] Sorry, really let myself go there. No, I don't work at a tourist office, I'm just a proud "Tukker" from Twente. If people ask me if I'm from Holland, the answer is always "no". Every Hollander is a Dutch person, but not every Dutchie is a Hollander. Hopefully this will clear up some things Right, were was I again?
Hotels and restaurants
Gluten-free products are fairly easy to come by, especially in the larger cities. If you're staying in a rural area, best stock up on basics. The main problems with eating gluten-free in the Netherlands are hotels and restaurants. Many of them aren't well-prepared for coeliac guests, so it's best to inform them at least a day in advance that you'll require a gluten-free meal. You can find a list of restaurant reviews here: http://livaad.nl/zoekenhorecaeng.php Diet information cards can be downloaded from the Dutch coeliac organisation NCV: http://www.glutenvri...tinformatie.pdf (In Dutch).
On the go
Fries are a popular snack, you can buy them everywhere at small eating houses called cafetaria's. Always ask if the fries are baked separately from the snacks, because all other snacks will contain gluten. Also check your sauces, and try not to be spooked: most Dutch people eat mayonnaise with their fries Ketchup is also widely available and so is "curry" sauce, which is a lot like ketchup but with a lot of spices.
"Pannekoeken" or pancakes are so popular that entire restaurants are dedicated to them, those restaurants are favourite resting points on family daytrips. Call them a day before you go on a trip and discuss your diet with the cook. Some offer gluten-free pancakes, you can find them on the Livaad website linked earlier in this text.
It's always wise to bring a small amount of snacks like fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, nuts, rice wafers and gluten-free muesli bars. It can be difficult to find gluten-free food on the go.
Gluten-free products are available at supermarkets, organic food stores and fit&health stores like "de Tuinen". Albert Heijn is the biggest chain of supermarkets in NL, they all have a gluten-free shelf filled with mostly Schär products and a Dutch brand called Consenza. Albert Heijn also has a gluten-free logo on all its gluten-free products from their own brand. Don't be surprised to find a gluten-free logo on a bag of apples here Jumbo is also a big favourite with Dutch coeliacs, they sell Consenza and Lhian's Kitchen but also have a great assortment of frozen goodies. Check out typical Dutch delicacies like frikandellen (spiced meat roll to be baked or deep-fried) and kroketten (crispy roll filled with a creamy ragout, to be deep-fried). Always search for the logo on products, and don't buy flours without such a logo from a supermarket. They'll usually be contaminated.
Under Dutch law, all products that contain less than 20 ppms of gluten are considered gluten-free. However, and here comes the big BEWARE: gluten-free is not automatically wheat-free. Some brands like Damhert and Fria have a weird obsession with wheat starch, nearly all of their products contain wheat starch. Sensitive coeliacs, beware here. The approach towards wheat starch is very different from surrounding countries. When I was on vacation in France I never needed to check a label on a gluten-free product because I could always eat it safely. Hopefully they'll turn around soon in the NL, because 44% of Dutch coeliacs can't eat wheat starch, not even when under the 20 ppm limit. If you're sensitive, always explain to cooks that you can't have products with wheat starch.
Some words in Dutch:
Tarwe - wheat
Rogge - rye
Gerst - barley
Haver - oats
Gluten - gluten
Coeliakie - coeliac disease (also called gluten-allergie in daily speech)
Zetmeel - starch
Bloem - flour
Paneermeel - breadcrumbs
Griesmeel - pudding made from milled wheat. Traditional Dutch dish but not safe for coeliacs.
Kan sporen van ..... bevatten - may contain traces of ......
Bevat (sporen van) ..... - contains (traces of) .....
Glutenvrij - gluten-free
Tarwevrij - wheat-free
The Dutch kitchen is a farmers' kitchen. Expect simple yet hearty meals. Main ingredients are potatoes, pork, beef, cabbage, fish and dairy.
Dutch delicacies for coeliacs:
Dutch cheese of course. For best cheeses, visit a market or a cheesemaker. Dutch cheeses are hard and especially the mature and old ones have little lactose in them.
Stamppot: a dish of potato and vegetables which are mashed. With curly kale for the classic "stamppot boerenkool", carrots and unions for "hutspot" and lots of other varieties. These include sauerkraut, sprouts, spinach, endives, lettuce and even beets. The Dutch sure love their stamppot
Sausage and meat products: no stamppot is complete without it. Especially our smoked sausages like "rookworst" are popular. These will usually be gluten-free, but remember to read labels. Apart from these rookworsten there are a lot of dried sausages in all their regional varieties.
Meatballs and stewed beef are also served often but will often contain breadcrumbs (meatballs) or flour (beef).
Pannenkoeken: mentioned in the article above. A favourite dish for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. It always hits the spot when the weather is... being Dutch again.
Symptoms started in 2007, but no link to celiac disease was found until 2009. I learned of celiac disease through the internet, my doctor never recognized it. She put me on a diet before tests were done, so the initial tests failed. My GI advised me to do a gluten provocation, which had to be stopped too soon to take a reliable biopsy. Based on symptoms such as vitamin deficiencies, GI problems and osteopenia my diagnosis now is: glutenintolerant, suspected celiac disease. This diagnosis was in march 2010, and I've been so much better ever since.
Posted 25 November 2011 - 04:50 PM
I'm bookmarking it for future reference.
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Misdiagnosed for 25+ years; finally DXed on 11/01/10. I figured it out myself. Double DQ2 genes. This thing tried to kill me. I view Celiac as a fire breathing dragon --and I have run my sword right through his throat.
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