Genever, not gin, is protected



It’s called jenever in Dutch, referred to as ‘genever’ in English and the rest of the world calls it ‘gin’.

Jenever can only be made in the Netherlands, Belgium and a few German and French provinces. The ministers of agriculture granted jenever the status of protected geographic indication last Monday.

The Netherlands traditionally has a number of large jenever distilleries, in Schiedam (shown here), Amsterdam and Groningen, to name a few. In Belgium, Hasselt is the best known city for this strong alcoholic drink.

Read more about this underrated drink and if you want to visit Schiedam, the town with the five biggest windmills in the world, check out, a site I did some work on.

I read a few articles that said that the Dutch introduced gevener (gin) to Ghana through the slave trade some 150 years ago. It is still used for special occasions, but then the real Dutch variety, not the local moonshine.

A glass of jenever is at least 35% alcohol. Young jenever is the most commonly drunk spirit in the Netherlands: 170,000 hectolitres in 2005, according to figures from the Commodity Board for Alcoholic Drinks.

‘Jenever’ was discovered in the Middle Ages during the search for medicines: the medicinal juniper berry was added to brandy wine. These days grain or treacle from the sugar industry is the basis for the alcohol in ‘jenever’.

Agriculture minister at the time Cees Veerman suggested to his EU colleagues last year that ‘jenever’ be declared a protected product. There were no objections.



  1. That’s madness. The E.U. is supposed to make trade more free and equal between member states, and instead they introduce forms of “protection.” How odd that there should be euroskeptics, eh?

    Comment by Branko Collin — December 3, 2007 @ 9:18 am

  2. It’s normal to do that with products, to protect their origin. It is only to the advantage of the Dutch to have such an “appellation controllée”.

    I don’t hear you complaining about when drinking wine or champagne :)

    Comment by Orangemaster — December 3, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  3. I don’t hear you complaining about when drinking wine or champagne.

    Oh? I seem to remember doing just that, about a week ago, when I mentioned to you that cava and other champagnoises are just as good as cheap champagne, and often a lot cheaper.

    Comment by Branko Collin — December 3, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  4. You know nothing about champagne :) Dutch peole say that because champagne is expensive. The effect is nowhere near the same, but sure they taste fine.

    I spent 3 days in Champagne tasting the difference. You can buy real Champagne for 5 euro a bottle. Why buy Cava or Prosecco then?

    Comment by Orangemaster — December 3, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

  5. Fifteen years ago you couldn’t get a real champagne for less than 15 euro, so even if the champagnoises did not taste as good (your claim, not mine), they have at least helped drive the prices down.

    Comment by Branko Collin — December 3, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  6. The prices are never going to go down because they are kept artificially high! Hellllooo!

    Champenoises are quite good, Cava and Prosecco are another story.

    Comment by Orangemaster — December 3, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

  7. “Cava and Prosecco are another story.”

    Be careful:Prosecco does not stands for Italian “Metodo Classico”;they are very different “bubbles”..

    Comment by oranje — June 15, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

  8. […] like to add jenever (aka gin), but it already has protected […]

    Pingback by 24 oranges » Food and drink could use a national boost — December 12, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

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