If you spend much time in a Dutch grocery store, you’ll notice the American Flag can be found scattered throughout the shelves, freezers, and bins. Certain foods here have a reputation of being “American” foods, and are usually marketed with the familiar stars and stripes. Hot Dogs (and hot dog buns), pizza (not the “authentic” kind, but the kind loaded with toppings), popcorn, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise (though only when it’s called “mayonnaise” is it American. It’s also known as “Fritesauce”, for putting on your fries, and then it lacks the American packaging), and the confusing “Fillet American”. This last one is what Americans would call Steak Tartare, and I don’t know a single American who eats it, so I have no clue why the Dutch think it’s an American food.
Albert Heijn has recently started carrying “Big American” pizzas. These are usually thick crust pizzas, with topping combinations such as “Hawaii”, “Supreme”, “Deluxe”, “Texas BBQ”, etc, as well as a host of other combinations that I would never even consider.
The local Aldi markets have started carrying a few items from their “Trader Joe’s” corporate sister. TJs are only found in the US, so the page in the Aldi circular is filled with the red, white & blue, and trumpets how “American” these products are.
A few weeks ago, we were out with some of Roxy’s colleagues, and 2 of them ordered Hot Dogs. They arrived, fresh out of the microwave, in a cardboard box with a giant American flag on them. The Dutch among them asked us “Is this really what hot dogs in America are like?” “Yup”, we assured them, “except we don’t microwave the bun with the hot dog.” I tried to then explain a “foot-long” hot dog to them, but that was just met with disbelieving stares.
Finally, we went to see Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night, and the popcorn tubs were, of course, emblazoned with the American flag.
I don’t see much of the British Flag here, in stark contrast to Budapest, where it seemed like every block had a “British Second Hand Store”, selling used clothing, presumably from the UK. I have yet to see anything like that in Amsterdam, probably because it’s only a 45 minute flight to London from here, so people can just go buy their own British clothing, were they so inclined.