Once considered the domain of hippies and tree huggers, vegan and vegetarian diets have grown in popularity in recent years and are increasingly becoming mainstream. Over the last couple of years, we have seen more and more people becoming more health-conscious, more aware of the effect animal farming has on the environment and, of course, the animals.

Meat consumption remains a popular choice in many countries around the world, but there are countries where plant-based diets are becoming the norm. Germany has a thriving vegan and vegetarian scene, as does Israel. India is an example of a country that has always had a more vegetarian diet. Even Mcdonald’s the ‘king of the hamburger’, opened two vegetarian restaurants in India in 2013. Curious if this increased Mickey D’s popularity in a country that has not embraced this franchise. With the wide array of delicious and healthy street food options, it’s no surprise that lukewarm burgers were not tickling people’s taste buds!

So what about the vegan culture in The Netherlands?

The Netherlands’ vegan food industry even has backing from the Dutch government. In 2018, the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure — a government advisory body — recommended the country reduce its meat intake to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Almost all supermarkets stock non-dairy milk and a range of vegetarian meat substitutes. Restaurants are also moving in the same direction, and the days of fries or a salad being your only option are long gone. Influenced by the eating culture of its colonies, you’ll find a delicious range of vegan options in the many tokos (Indonesian for shop) in every Dutch city. 

Vegan food scene in Haarlem

Haarlem is no exception! New Vegas, the first 100% vegan restaurant, opened its doors in 2000. With dishes such as Oyster shrimps (tapioca and seaweed) and an artisan vegan cheese platter, the menu is anything but boring. This is just one of many vegan options in Haarlem. 

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