What Are and Aren't I Allowed to Import from the Netherlands into the U.S.?

Stroopwafel is Commonly Imported from The Netherlands
••• Stroopwafel is Commonly Imported from The Netherlands. Irina Marwan/Getty Images

From tulip bulbs to cheese, travelers often want to know which products can be taken as souvenirs back to their home country, and which won't make it past the door. This list covers some of the most typical products that travelers want to import into the United States, plus any restrictions on their amount.

Food Products

Good news: most of the Dutch food products that visitors come to know and love on their trip are allowed to be imported into the United States.

This includes baked items such as stroopwafels (syrup wafers); sweets, like the classic Dutch drop (licorice), and chocolate; peanut butter, or pindakaas; coffee, from the rare and exotic kopi luwak to favorite Dutch supermarket brands; and even cheese. Cheese must be vacuum-packed, a service that most cheese shops offer for international visitors. Unpasteurized or raw milk cheese are prohibited, but the popular cheese varieties in the Netherlands - Gouda, Edam and others - are fine.

Prohibited items include meat (and products that contain meat; fish, however, is permitted), fresh produce, absinth, and alcohol-filled sweets. So be sure to have that last kebab and finish up your farmer's market finds before you depart!


Travelers 21 and over are allowed to import up to one liter of alcoholic drinks into the U.S., free of duty and taxes. This doesn't take into account the alcohol content of the drinks; for the purposes of U.S. Customs, wine, beer, liquor, and typical Dutch spirits such as jenever, kruidenbitters and advocaat all count the same toward the one-liter limitation.

Anyone who wishes to import more than one liter can do so; however, duty and taxes will be levied on these items.

Note that some states impose stricter limits than the federal one-liter limitation, so be sure to check your state's laws in case of uncertainty.


200 cigarettes (one carton) or 100 cigars can be imported into the U.S. free of duty and taxes.

However, Cuban cigars are still under embargo and therefore prohibited.

Flower Bulbs

Pre-approved flower bulbs are allowed into the U.S., but under strict conditions. These must include a sticker that reads, "To the Plant Protection Service of the United States and Canada", complete with the botanical name of the flower and the date of issuance of the sticker. Without a valid sticker, the bulbs will not clear U.S. Customs. Read more on ​how to import Dutch flower bulbs into the U.S.