As neighbouring countries, the Netherlands and Belgium are so close to each other that there is a healthy competitive edge. Jokes fly back and forth, the World Cup is a sore point and there are even programmes such as 'Holland-Belgium' in which the Dutch compete against the Belgians. When talking about Holland vs. Belgium, the emphasis is often on the similarities between both countries. Datlinq is curious about the differences, especially in the field of food, leisure and hospitality. You can read our findings in this news item!

The two neighbouring countries are relatively small compared to surrounding countries such as Germany and France. Belgium has 11.4 million inhabitants compared to the 17.2 inhabitants of the Netherlands. This makes the Netherlands, with 5.8 million inhabitants more, clearly the largest country. We have looked up the number of food, retail and catering outletsinboth countries. It is striking that Belgium is in the lead here. For example, for a population of 11.4 million, Belgium has 20,000 food retail outlets, compared with more than 18,000 in the Netherlands.


The Netherlands vs. Belgium: what are the differences?

However, there are more differences between the two countries. It is striking that in the Netherlands there are more large fast food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The Netherlands also has more Quickservice with international cuisines, such as grill rooms and shoarma shops. In Belgium, the traditional cafeteria and chip shop is better represented. In this category the number of outlets per 10,000 inhabitants in Belgium is as high as 4.9, while the Netherlands remains at 3.2 locations.

Datlinq Places, the location database of Datlinq, also shows that the Dutch are big fans of takeaway and delivery restaurants. In the Netherlands, there are 3206 takeaway and delivery restaurants, while this number is much lower in Belgium with only 935 outlets. Also the sandwich shops, croissanteries and kiosks are much more popular in Belgium. Our southern neighbors have over 2,700 of these locations, while the Netherlands has less than 1,000. However, there are not only differences between Belgium and the Netherlands. The number of ice cream parlours in both countries is almost the same, with 0.5 outlets per 10,000 inhabitants.

It is striking that Belgium has more food locations per capita. The number of restaurants per capita in Belgium is over 30% higher than in the Netherlands, while it even has twice as many cafés and bars as the Netherlands.

Datlinq Places also gives us a glimpse of beer distribution in Belgium. Remarkably, Heineken does not feature in the top of most consumed beers. Jupiler, Maes, Stella Artois, Primus, Cristal and Leffe: Belgians seem to be particularly fond of their own brews!


The Dutch, however, do venture into the beers of our southern neighbours. Jupiler is even the second most popular beer brand in Utrecht. The following brands are also very popular in the Netherlands: Alfa, Amstel, Bavaria, Brand, Dommelsch, Grolsch, Gulpener, Heineken, Hertog Jan, Jupiler, Lindeboom and Budels.

Below is an overview of the most important differences.