Drop is the Dutch word for licorice, and the Netherlands truly loves this candy snack. It's on our list of 10 Dutch foods you should be sure to sample!

The Netherlands boasts the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world, with each person eating more than 4 pounds per year! So what’s the deal with the Dutch and drop?


Dutchies truly love their licorice or drop as it is known in the Netherlands. You can find it in nearly every shop from Albert Heijn to Hema, as well as the ubiquitous Jamin candy shop. There is a flavor or type of drop for every taste from sweet to salty, hard to soft. Drop comes in many shapes and sizes from small Groente Erwten (green peas) to large Muntdrop chewy coins.

The Netherlands boasts the highest per capita consumption of licorice in the world, with each person eating more than 4 pounds (2000 grams) per year!

Although the Dutch (as well as Scandinavians and Germans) love black licorice, many people do not enjoy the taste, especially the salty varieties.

Have you tried drop and do you like it?

Liquorice or licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavor is obtained. This extract is mixed with sugars and other flavorings to create drop candy.

Drop is not only a tasty treat, licorice is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and other medicinal properties and has been used to treat ailments for centuries. However, excessive consumption of licorice or licorice candy is known to be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may produce high blood pressure.

In 2008 the European Commission reported that eating too much licorice can raise blood pressure or cause muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, headaches or swelling, and lower testosterone levels in men. Like all good things, drop is best in moderation. Don’t try to reach that 2000 gram per year level!

Some interesting drop flavors include:

  • Salmiak flavored with ammonium chloride for a salty, tangy flavor
  • Honingdrop (honey) said to ease a sore throat
  • Scheepstouw (ship rope) salty hard candy pieces that look like brown ropes
  • Apekoppen (monkey heads) combine chewy sweet licorice and soft banana candy – my favorite!
  • Griotten are light brown chewy squares that look like sugar cubes
  • Katjes (kitties) are cat shaped drop very popular with kids
  • Schoolkrijt (school chalk) look like their namesake with a minty shell on the outside and licorice on the inside
  • Zakkenrollers (pickpockets) includes tiny licorice keys, cell phones and watches
  • Oceaandrop are starfish, sea horse and sea shell shaped candies covered in sea salt
  • Paardenkoppen (horse heads) and Macho Maffioso have to be some of the weirdest varieties of drop, just for those Godfather fans…

When in Amsterdam, shop for drop at the charming Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje in the Jordaan, an old-fashioned shop with glass jars of candies lining the walls. Mariska, the friendly owner, will help you find the perfect drop to suit your tastes. A visit to this shop is like a step back in time. It’s a must-see in Amsterdam, especially for kids (and adults) who love sweets!

What's the deal with Drop? All about Dutch licorice

For more fun, check out these hilarious videos of people around the world trying drop for the first time.

What is your experience with Dutch drop? Do you love it or hate it? Do you have a favorite flavor of drop? Tell us about it!

Do you live outside of the Netherlands but want to try Dutch licorice? You can find it online!

10 more Dutch foods you should try

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