Pancake Houses of the Netherlands

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Since moving to the Netherlands a few months ago, my family has quickly learned that pancakes are a popular staple on the Dutch menu. They’re not just for breakfast either. With extensive menus and welcoming decor, the traditional pancake houses of the Netherlands, or pannenkoekenhuis, are not remotely similar to the popular pancake chain restaurants in the U.S.

Pancake houses of the Netherlands - apple pancake with ice cream

Apple pancake at a traditional Dutch pancake house

The Pannekoekenbakker, Tilburg

A month ago my expat family first experienced the The Pannekoekenbakker, situated in an inn built in 1897 in the nearby city of Tilburg. I was intimidated by how many different choices of pancakes were on the menu so I played it safe and ordered a regular pancake while my husband ordered one filled with slices of apple and topped with cinnamon, whipped cream AND ice cream. It must have been good. I wouldn’t know—he didn’t offer me a taste!

Pancake houses of the Netherlands - savory pancake with bacon, peppers, salami, tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms

My husband out-ordered me again, this time with a savory pancake

Pannenkoekenhuis De Oisterwijk, Oisterwijk

We were pleased to learn about another pancake house closer to us in our adopted town of Oisterwijk. That time I was prepared; I knew the menu was going to be absolutely enormous, and not in English. Thankfully the friendly waitstaff at Pannenkoekenhuis De Oisterwijk was more than helpful when assisting with our navigation of the menu. Items range from sweet to savory and back again. I never knew so many combinations of pancakes were even possible. This time I got the apple deluxe pancake but again my husband upstaged me with a savory delight topped with tomatoes, bacon, peppers, salami, mushrooms, onions, cheese and seasonings.

Pancake houses of the Netherlands - outdoor play area

The beautiful grounds at our local pancake house

To sweeten the experience even more, these pannenkoekenhuis cater to kids. While the pancakes are delicious, children will be even more impressed by the fun offered up at Oisterwijk’s pancake house. The outdoor patio looks out upon a large field on which kids run freely, stopping on occassion to zip down the slide, swing on the swings, bounce on the trampoline or trot on the rocking horses.

If the weather isn’t exactly generous (which is more often than not during winter months), there is an entire second floor play area just for kids with an indoor slide, Twister room, PS2 game area and a disco ball. Oh to be a kid again!

Pancake houses of the Netherlands - indoor play area with slide

The indoor slide beckons at Pannenkoekenhuis De Oisterwijk

As an added bonus, items from the children’s menu are alotted a ‘coin’ that are turned in at the end of the meal to pick out a special prize, or you can save them up for the next time. My boys loved this, and I thought it was a much sweeter idea than a generic character toy in the bottom of a kids’ meal bag.

Pancake houses of the Netherlands - children's mini pancakes with candy-coated chocolate candies

Almost too pretty to disturb—my son tentatively decorates his pancakes

We recently went back on another Sunday in the early afternoon and this time I let my three boys order whatever they wanted. No surprise, they asked for mini pancakes topped with powdered sugar and served with candy-coated chocolates.

Some of these pancake houses of the Netherlands are chains, while others are stand-alone establishments. These classic European restaurants appeal to parents and children alike. They typically come stocked with a full bar boasting every libation imaginable. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can find a pancake house in the Netherlands to satisfy your craving, whether sweet or savory. Bring the kids and your appetite; you will not leave disappointed or hungry!

Which type of pancake would you choose at a traditional Dutch pancake house, sweet or savory? Let us know in the comments!

About Farrah Ritter, The Nomadic Travel Mama

Farrah Ritter is an adventure-seeking mama to a 4-year-old son and twin 2-year-old boys. Her family of five moved to the Netherlands in October of 2012. Originally from Michigan, she and her husband relocated to the South in 2006 and jumped over the pond with their boys in tow. She blogs at The Three Under when she can and is looking forward to documenting and sharing their European journey with anyone interested in travel with multiple small children. An Instagram and Twitter junkie (@Momofthreeunder), Farrah loves to see perspectives of others and experience the beauty of old towns and historic places.

  1. Those look incredibly delicious – I had no idea that pancakes were so popular in the Netherlands! I would definitely choose sweet – the thought of an apple and cinnamon pancake makes my mouth water!

  2. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Oh my, Farrah! Last night in prepping this story for today, I got such a craving for pancakes that I made breakfast for dinner! I so want to go check out a real Dutch pancake house now.

  3. Lisa- I had no idea myself! But they’re quite fun and make dining out with small kids a pretty nice experience- all around a win!

    Colleen I am glad I could give you some inspiration 🙂

  4. Looks like a pancake perfect for me, one for my husband and my girls love mini pancakes with powered sugar and candy! We need to book some tickets and get over there!

  5. Kiley Smith says

    I love this post! I would definitely opt for a sweet pancake!

  6. In Vancouver, we have “De Dutch Pannekoek House’ chain, which makes similar-looking, and very delicious dutch-style pancakes. But nowhere near in such beautiful and kid-friendly settings! Planning to spend some days in Holland during our European adventure this summer, and will absolutely be adding at least one of these places to our list of must-dos!

  7. Amber's The Mile High Mama says

    OK, these look AMAZING!!!

  8. Yum, just yum.

  9. Wow, those look mouthwatering! I’ll take a sweet one!

  10. Kristen I wish you would- we could go on a pancake house tour!

    And thank you Kiley- they’re fun and I’m pretty sure your kiddos would love everything to do at these houses.

    Amber, Katie & Gigi-yes. They’re amazing, yum and mouthwatering. It’s a blessing and a curse to have one so close to home though– we want to go far too often!

  11. What a wonderful concept! Has your experience been that the Netherlands is kid-friendly overall? I’d love to read other posts about how it compares to the U.S.

  12. Claudia- yes! You shouldn’t have much trouble finding one. There are these two just within our daily routine here.

    Stephanie- for the most part- yes. Except one thing I am learning is that Dutch children seem to be (overall) more reserved when we see them out. I can’t explain it. When my boys get a little riled up (ahem) we get our fair share of stares and big eyes. I let it roll off though- as I can’t expect them to understand the norms of the culture at this point. School is also where I find this to be true. Most of my personal blog posts have been about our family adjustment so you might glean a little insight there.

    On another note- I am finding a bit of a struggle to find a hotel to accomodate all of us. Seems that 5 people is not really an ideal number when seeking just a regular hotel for ordinary travel.

  13. Looks like an excellent idea for a new U.S. restaurant. I hope the Canadian firm is looking to expand. Yum. I’d be willing to try savory (like a pizza maybe). But most definitely I’d go for sweet. I guess I’m a kid at heart.

  14. Reinier Roozeboom says

    The Netherlands are kidsfriendly overall! Especially in our 200 pancake- restaurants across our country ; The website of our Dutch Pancake Association: with 100 restaurants. Visit Europe ! and welcome in Holland !

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Reinier – Thank you for the link to your website; what a wonderful resource for pancake-loving visitors to your country!

  15. Ellen- pizza is exactly what I thought of- as it seemed a little strange to order a ‘pancake’ with all of those toppings! Sweet is good. I normally don’t go for sweet in a meal- but with these, I made an exception!

    Reinier I agree. The Netherlands has been very good to us thus far and we are loving this experience. Thank you for sharing that link!

  16. Wow. My husband’s family is from the Netherlands and we took our 3 kids there last summer for a month. I had no idea the Dutch ate any kind of pancake except puffertjes (tiny pancake circles with icing sugar ). Shame on me. Thanks for the info.

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  1. What To Do On A Sunny Weekend In Oisterwijk - The Three Under says:

    […] of the bike path in the middle of nowhere. Another 2 miles and we reached our destination- a pancake house I once talked about on Travel Mamas: the Pannenkoekenhuis De […]

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