Netherlands - Typically Dutch - Bitterbal

Netherlands – Typical Dutch – Bitterbal

The latest stamps from the Typical Dutch series depict the traditional bitterbal. This round version of the croquette used to be eaten with a bitter, a strong alcoholic herbal drink like gin.

The design of Typically Dutch – bitterballen is by graphic designer Edwin van Praet of Total Design from Amsterdam. The issue is the last that PostNL will release in the Typically Dutch series this year. Stamps appeared earlier with the smoked sausage (January 2), carrots (February 24), sprinkles (March 23) and the tompouce (April 6).

“Seasoned meat stewout”

Bitterballs are very popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. The bitterbal is also known in Suriname and Indonesia, but not elsewhere. The first mention of the bitterbal in a dictionary dates from 1946. In the Dictionary of the Dutch Language, the bitterbal is described as a “deep-fried ball of seasoned meat schragout, with breaded, crocodile outside, usually served as a snack with drinks”. There are now also plenty of vegetarian bitterballen available.

Current zeitgeist

In the development of this concept, designer Van Praet initially used stock images. However, that worked less well because the photos found differed too much in quality and style. That is why Total Design called on the specialized food photographers and stylists of the agency Scrambled Media from Amsterdam. Van Praet: “The bitterbal is really a tradition, at a party or in a café. In addition to that tradition, we wanted to return something of the current zeitgeist. That is why we have opted for vegetarian bitterballen. You can’t tell from the outside, but they are. We tested endlessly with the amount of bitterballen we wanted to photograph for the stamp. It shouldn’t be too many, we wanted a nice number for one person to eat. ”

Wink at the bitter

On the top part of the sheet edge, the bitterballen return, but now in a much larger number and located on a square dish with a raised edge. A small bowl with mustard has also been added and some skewers with the Dutch flag. The designer first wanted to put a little bit of bitterness on it, but the relationship between bitter and bitterbal has long since disappeared. Van Praet: “That is why we chose the well-known bowl with skewers. But in a glass as a nod to the bitterness. ”


Jun 15 2020
The Netherlands


The Netherlands

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