Due to its rich history of travelling and international trading, the Netherlands’ culinary influences from other countries date way back and most Dutch dishes are in some way inspired from countries abroad.
The recipes that gained popularity and have become traditional Dutch meals were as a rule filling, hot and sturdy dishes that kept you full and warm in winter. Favoured ingredients were generally those that were grown in local farms (e.g. strong root vegetables) and foods were smoked, dried or pickled to preserve them for consumption in the winter.
When agriculture was established, the earliest main ingredients in a Dutch meal were grains and legumes. Potatoes didn’t become a staple ingredient until the 18th century. Many Dutch farms raised cattle, so it's no wonder that dairy became a much-beloved ingredient and why the Netherlands is so well-known for its cheeses.