Dutch Herring (raw)

A very unique Dutch delicacy is Dutch herring. If you come to visit Amsterdam you should really try it at least once. As raw herring is eaten raw the taste can be compared with sashimi. So if you’re in to sashimi, you have a good chance of liking Dutch herring as well. Herring has a very strong peculiar taste though. Thus Dutch herring is usually served with unions and pickles, but they can be left out on request. Traditionally herring should be eaten by holding it by tail and eating it at once. If it’s the first time you try herring it might be a good idea to have it cut in pieces though.

Where to buy Dutch Herring

You can find Dutch herring in one of the many fish stalls and fish shops or on the market. Occasionally you can find it in supermarkets and on the airport as well. We Dutchies however believe that raw herring should never be bought prepackaged. The filleting of the fish should be done only moments for eating to have the best taste.

Serious herring business

We Dutchies take herring very seriously. There are a number of rules and traditions concerning this delicacy. During the fishing season herring is called ‘Hollands Nieuwe’ it can only be named this if the fish is caught the same month it’s sold. The fishing season can be opened in May or June, but only when the herring contains at least 16% fat. The season is opened with a festival called ‘vlaggetjesdag’. The first catch is traditionally being sold in a cask on ‘vlaggetjesdag’ at an auction for an extraordinary high price. The money collected goes to a charity of choice. Besides the fat percentage of the fish there are more rules that have to met such as;

  • It has to be traditionally filleted. The pancreas should be left in order to give the herring its taste
  • The herring has to be salted
  • The herring has to age at least five days in oak casks
  • The bones have to be removed except for the tail
  • It has to be frozen for at least 24-hours


Did you try Dutch Herring yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Beware off sea gulls when eating herring


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