Flessenlikker, flessenschraper…!? A typical Dutch device!

CLICK HERE to subscribe to my Youtube channel

The Netherlands is a relatively small country. But with a lot of people living in a small area, we have managed to develop our own little culture, our own way of living with typical things and events.

To see how well integrated the students of the BLC summer school were, we gave them something that is seen as typically Dutch.

This thing was a long handle with a small flexible semi-circular leaf-shaped thing at the end of it…

What is this typical Dutch item?

So we showed the students in the video this item and said it was something that symbolizes  Dutch culture and the Dutch people.

Is it for torture? Is it for the garden? To clean the mirror maybe?

As a result foreigners have no clue… and their guessing in the video above is just hilarious.

But what is it then? What could you do with it?

It’s a flessenlikker

The word we are looking for is: flessenlikker!

If you look at the word you see ‘fles’ and ‘likker.’ You can translate these words to ‘bottle’ or ‘jar’ and ‘licker’, so it would be a ‘jar licker’. It sounds a bit strange and – maybe – Dutch. But what is it really?

What’s the history of the flessenlikker?

Before the sixties, milk was not sold in cartons or plastic bottles, it was delivered in glass bottles. During that age, dairy companies came up with new products, such as yoghurt and vla (custard). And not only these products, also manufacturers of other products, such as peanut butter, jam, sauces, were inspired by the glass packaging of dairy products.

They used the successful packaging of the milk bottle for this as well.

The only problem, there was a lot left in the bottle after pouring!

How does it work? 

The way that this Dutch device works is simple:

  1. You put the flessenlikker in the bottle and thanks to the long handle, you can get to the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Put the scraper against the glass, under the food you want to reach
  3. Carefully pull the handle out of the bottle.

Now enjoy your bonus food!

Greedy and dairy: only the Dutch could come up with something like this

As you might know the Dutch are known for being economical. And this flessenlikker shows how they value the things they buy.

But maybe it’s more of a Dutch device because it’s all about dairy products. The Dutch love dairy product, just think about their lovely cheeses!

Is de flessenlikker popular?

Yes and no.

Maybe nowadays not every Dutch person owns one. But it used to be in every household. Most people still know it, but you won’t find it everywhere.

On the other hand. During the financial crisis a few years ago, people had to live a bit more zuinig (economical). During that time, there was an exponential growth in the sales of flessenlikkers in the Netherlands.

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School