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Dutch tourists no longer bring own food along on trips

Potatoes disappear from suitcases and trailers

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - For decades it was very common for Dutch holiday travelers to take along food that could be categorized as ‘typically Dutch.’ Especially those loading up their cars and trailers for a trip to France, Spain and Italy, were known to take potatoes - often as much as a sack full or more - cheese, and items such as chocolate sprinkles in their luggage, often to the dismay of fellow travelers.

This trend finally seems to have ended completely. People now enjoy going to grocery shops at their foreign destination to buy local food unavailable back home. In a reversal, such groceries often are brought back to the Netherlands as well, allowing the tourist to continue to savour the holiday spirit.

Although potatoes no longer are part of a tourist’s luggage, many travelers still take along other food items, especially to tie them over at campgrounds, trailer parks or bungalows, whether in France, Spain or Italy. The take-along food generally consists of coffee and tea, bread and butter, sugar and salt and cheese, sprinkles, peanut butter and other sandwich spreads or fillings.

The reversal of the ‘grocery exodus’ in large part can be explained by the age and sophistication of the travelers themselves, and by the more exotic destinations offered by tour operators. While in the 1960s, very few stores abroad offered products ‘just like at home’, meals traditional in the Mediterranean countries now have become part of the fare in the Netherlands as well. Since then, people have traveled more and ever further from home, especially to explore exotic locations. Food always is an intricate part of such an exotic travel experience.