The history of Dutch cheese

How long has Dutch cheese actually existed? And has it always been prepared in the same way? A brief history of our cheese.

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800 BC

Earthenware pots with holes have been discovered dating from roughly 800 BC. They were probably used to strain the curd (= the initial form of cheese).


57 BC

The Roman emperor Julius Caesar wrote in 57 BC that ‘cheese is eaten in the low countries’. The cheese was already famous even then …


Middle Ages (approx. 500 to 1500 AD)

Cheese has been produced on a large scale in the Netherlands since the Middle Ages, when the first cheese markets and weigh houses were opened and exports started.


Golden Age (approx. 1600 to 1700 AD)

Exports of Dutch cheese grew explosively during this period. The Netherlands earned a global reputation as ‘a cheese country’. Until 1900, cheese was only produced on farms using the traditional methods.


From 1900

The cheese and dairy factories began to emerge after 1900. In 1913, a quality label was introduced for Dutch cheese.


Present day

There are only a few cheese factories remaining in the Netherlands. Together they produce almost 800 million kilos of cheese every year. Two-thirds of the output is exported to other countries.