The history of liquorice in the Netherlands is quite fascinating. Dutch people have a long-standing love affair with liquorice, or “drop” as it is known in Dutch. The use of liquorice in the Netherlands dates back to the early 17th century, when it was imported from the Mediterranean.
Initially, liquorice was considered a luxury item and was only available to the wealthy. It was used primarily for medicinal purposes, such as to treat coughs and digestive problems. However, by the 18th century, liquorice had become more widely available and was being used in a variety of sweets and candies.
In the 19th century, the Dutch began to experiment with new ways to use liquorice. They created a wide range of liquorice candies, including “salmiak,” which is a salty and slightly bitter liquorice candy that is still popular in the Netherlands today.
During World War II, the supply of liquorice was severely limited, and the Dutch had to find creative ways to continue making their beloved candy. They turned to using sugar beets as a substitute for imported liquorice root, which led to the development of a new type of liquorice candy that is still popular in the Netherlands today, called “zoethout.”
Today, the Netherlands is one of the largest consumers of liquorice in the world, with the average Dutch person consuming around 2 kilograms of liquorice per year. It is a beloved treat that can be found in a variety of forms, from traditional hard candies to soft, chewy varieties.