The history of Dutch cheese goes back very far. A precise date is difficult to state but there are several facts known which prove that the Netherlanders made cheese hundreds of years before Christ.
Archaeologists found earthenware jars with holes in about 800 years before Christ, which possibly had been used to let the curds drain out and dry. Also Julius Caesar referred in his book “De Bello Gallico” – 57 years before Christ – to the “Law Lords” and that cheese was eaten there. “Karel de Grote” made a referral to the making of cheese.
During the Middle Ages
In the middle ages the manufacturing and trading of cheese got a very prominent role in the daily life of the Dutch population. Cheese was made widely throughout the country and more and more cheese markets were appearing. Especially towns that had “weighing rights” and a weighing house. The Dutch cheese makers developed cheese which had a good shelf life and therefore ideal for export. The cheeses were transported for example to Germany or by sea to the Mediterranean areas.
Netherlands Cheese Land
Although in the middle ages cheese was already being exported, it was in the “Golden Age” that things really took off! Since that time is Holland at home and abroad – known as cheese land. In 1913 a quality mark for Dutch cheeses was established. This mark is mainly to define the fat content of the cheese.
From the farm to the diary
Until the nineteenth century, cheese was made mainly on the farms. Farmers specialised themselves in the preparation of milk to sell it to the towns people. At the end of the nineteenth centre, slowly the first diaries came into being.
Dutch cheese Exporters
With a cheese production of almost 800.000.000 kilos per year, Holland has grown into one of the biggest cheese producers in Europe. And as much as two thirds of this production is exported to foreign countries. Holland may also call itself one of the world’s largest cheese exporters.