Lifestyle trends for 2019

Edition 1 February 2019, by U.Cathy Leung

Let’s have a look at some of the lifestyle trends that have been identified for 2019, globally and locally in the Netherlands. Some of these trends are certainly new developments, whereas some have been building for a while and are just continuing to grow in popularity. But we shouldn’t just assume trend spotters are spot-on. Some international trends might not take in the Netherlands, for example. And frankly, some so-called trends are simply marketing guff, aren’t they? Still, the reality is that big retailers will most likely adhere to global trends. That can explain why all of a sudden everyone is wearing a certain shade of green, and that’s all you can find in the shops. Although, there’s a certainly a tradition of ‘doe normaal’ in the Netherlands, so if a certain thing becomes popular, you can expect it to become really popular. Just because something is trending, though, should we all jump on the bandwagon? I’ll leave that up to you.


Smart speakers

Smart speakers do more than stream music: these devices allow voice commands and usually have an associated virtual assistant that carries out those commands. The most high-profile smart speakers include Amazon Echo (virtual assistant: Amazon Alexa), Google Home (virtual assistant: Google Assistant), Apple HomePod (virtual assistant: Siri) and some Sonos models. There was a lot of buzz about smart speakers in the run-up to Christmas 2018, but assuming everyone actually went out and bought smart speakers, 2019 will be the year they really start using them to consume content. So expect to see more podcasts and news media exploring this route to their audience. We should also see more devices that will integrate with them, using the virtual assistant-speaker set-up to control your lights or coffee machine using just your voice, for example. But not all smart speakers can speak or understand the Dutch language yet. Google Home speakers may be the best bet: they can handle Dutch, but you can also make them bilingual if that’s more appropriate for your home.


ELLE magazine (NL) believes that gold, velvet and bold wallpaper murals will be trends this year. Together with, they also give a heads-up for round shapes and tables, jungle themes, natural finishes and a new paint shade, Spiced Honey (by Flexa), a kind of dirty camel. Interior brands certainly seem to be in sync with each other for 2019, but the question is: can you see any of these styles in your own home?

Cacti vs pineapples

In recent years (according to, the cactus has overtaken the classic pineapple as a stylish home decor motif. In the shops, we’ve been seeing cactus-patterned wallpaper and clothes for quite some time. However, the pineapple has some staying power (it’s been a status symbol since the eighteenth century) so we might see a battle for prominence in 2019. Particularly because Dutch journalist Lex Boon has just written an intriguing new book on the pineapple, Ananas (ISBN: 9789029092364). Full of sensational stories about the pineapple, from its local pioneers to exotic locations around the world, will his book catapult the fruit back into national consciousness? Just maybe.


Electric and speed bikes The Netherlands already has a highly developed electric bike industry and client base, an area where other countries seem to be playing catch-up. But the use of electric bikes and speed bikes (pedelecs) is expected to grow, nonetheless. As people face longer commutes to work, they often turn to electric bikes to make the journey a little easier. Also, in Amsterdam this year, scooters/mopeds will be banned from the majority of the city’s cycle lanes, so it’s possible people might swap over to an electric bike when that change comes in. But remember, pedelec bikes (which can reach speeds of 45 kilometres per hour) are also classed as scooters/mopeds in the Netherlands. Luxury brands like Van Moof win out in the style stakes and speed control, but they also have strong anti-theft credentials. For further guidance on whether an electric bike is the right choice for you, consult


According to Dutch health and fitness website Gezondheid&Co (, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is expected to be a big hit for 2019. The short bursts of very hard exercise provide a cardio workout that is claimed to be particularly good for fatburning and cardiovascular fitness. HIIT classes usually last 30 minutes or less, so they are also a good option if you don’t have a lot of time to exercise. In Amsterdam, one new fitness centre, Hiit-Fit, has dedicated itself entirely to this type of workout (

Lunch big

The Dutch health website has picked nine health trends, from crystals in the bath to ‘plant walls’. The most sensible item on the list is establishing a good sleep routine. They also think Ayurvedic nutrition will really take off in the Netherlands this year, which will challenge the standard eating patterns of most natives, as Ayurveda advises you to make lunch the main meal of the day. If you need a little help convincing colleagues or family, perhaps consult the cookbook, Vicky Hampton’s Working Lunch (ISBN: 978-94-91499-12-8). It seems she saw this trend coming a few years ago.


Veggie burgers

You must have already noticed the growth in veganism and vegetarianism in the Netherlands, surely? Well, all the trend watchers are telling us this will continue in 2019. Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, for example, recently stopped serving meat products in their restaurants, reserving them for the animals only. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, as word gets around that their veggie burgers are delicious (I can vouch for that). And one company, Dutch Weed Burger (, is currently sweeping across the whole country with its seaweed-based burgers. Over 200 restaurants serve these sustainable vegan burgers, with the main ingredient sourced locally in Zeeland.

Gut health

Digestive health relates to what is going on in your gut, and the rise in interest in this area should continue in 2019. As far as lifestyle choices go, expect to see a growing variety of products that support gut health in the shops. Kefir, a fermented milk drink, is already available in many high street supermarkets. And if you’re interested in finding out more about why fermentation is good for our stomachs and overall health, there are several kimchimaking, kombucha and fermentation workshops available in the Netherlands ( and mediamatic. net). Kombucha is a kind of fermented tea using a yeast and bacteria culture, and seems to be taking a hold in the Netherlands already: ‘Christina’s Kombucha’ is even sold way up north on the island of Texel, together with regular workshops for those who want to learn how to make it themselves (

South American cuisine

Mexican, Brazilian and South American restaurants in general will be all the rage in the Netherlands in 2019, according to women’s magazine Libelle ( Think fresh tacos, ceviche and a laid-back atmosphere. The Rotterdam restaurant app Restoranto ( is also following this trend and has shared a list of the six best Mexican restaurants in Rotterdam. One of their picks, the Kua Tacobar, runs a sister restaurant in The Hague, Kua Mexican Kitchen. By the way, if you book a meal through the Restoranto app, they will donate a meal to a hungry person on your behalf.

Sumac and preserved lemons

With Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Simple, still on the bestsellers list, expect home cooks and casual dinner parties to start showcasing some of the recipes. They’ll also be following a current food trend. Ottolenghi’s food has a strong Middle Eastern feel to it, and there may be some unusual spices listed in the ingredients, and indeed za’atar has already appeared on the shelves at Jumbo and Albert Heijn.

Luxury treats

Food trends expert Marielle Bordewijk believes that people will still treat themselves to sweets in 2019, but they will tend to be higher quality. So she’s thinking we’ll put away the ‘snoep’ and buy more single-source chocolate bonbons instead. For some good local tips for where to buy better-quality chocolates in Amsterdam, have a listen to a mini-podcast series on the subject by Instagrammer @ damkitchens. She’s really enjoying this trend, for sure.


Is it practical?

Dutch magazine Glamour ( lists a range of trends for 2019, some of which are more practical than others. Will satin really catch on in the Netherlands, like they say, or will clothes buyers steer away from this luxurious- looking fabric? It wrinkles easily, doesn’t breathe easily (so not great to wear while cycling) and should really be dry cleaned. However, both Glamour and Elle magazine say that utility clothing will be a fashion trend this year. By this they mean cargo pants, clothes made of durable cotton drill fabric, boilersuits (basically a workman’s onesie), and military shades such as khaki. They might be right on that: for example, there are several different boilersuits currently on sale with Dutch fashion brand G-Star.

Plant-based skincare

Several trendspotters have picked out plant-based skincare as something to look out for in 2019, broadening the vegan outlook from our diets to beauty consumption. One step further even is the new fad for edible skincare, where you actually ingest products (drinks, powders or supplements) that claim to improve or look after your skin. However, as it’s also advised that eating foods rich in certain antioxidants can be beneficial to the skin, and anti-aging, edible skincare could also just mean eating more colourful fruits and vegetables and green and black tea, for example.



In 2019, we’re still taking stock of the digital data developments of 2018. The new data protection regulation (GDPR) came into force in the EU and multiple data security breaches occurred across the world. Many trendwatchers have listed privacy concerns as a major theme for the year ahead. It’s expected that people will scale down their public Facebook activity, for example, and switch social interactions to groups, be they private Facebook groups or Whatsapp chats.


With growing dissatisfaction with news coverage in recent years, and challenges for media organisations, something has to change, right? There’s a certain trend for hyperlocal news outlets to spring up and fill in the gaps. For internationals in the Netherlands, and the Holland Times have provided useful resources up until now, but with expats dispersing across the country and people seeking a deeper level of news, we’re starting to see local news platforms in English focusing on regional hubs in depth. For example, the Northern Times has now launched for Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe (, and Broadcast Amsterdam just started a new internet radio station for the capital (, both of which will aim to grow their hyperlocal audiences in 2019.

Reader-guided news

With the fall in advertising revenues that traditional media have relied upon up until now, a different financial model has emerged for delivering news, e.g. a subscription model. An example of this is the Dutch media startup De Correspondent, which is soon to go global. In 2019 it will take forward its English language version, The Correspondent, after a successful crowdfunding campaign in autumn 2018, which saw support from such high-profile names as Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and film director, Judd Apatow. It aims to offer more reader-centric news, interacting with the audience on stories and running no advertising on their platform.


Going green

Many trendspotters have mentioned sustainability as a continued trend for travel in 2019, but how do we identify what this means? The Dutch motoring association, the ANWB, recently shared an interview with the founder of Greenleave (, Erika Berkhof. She set up the organisation many years ago, as she wanted to book her family’s holidays at places that look after the environment, but had difficulty finding useful information. So if you’re jumping on this travel trend in 2019, there’s a resource ready made for you (in Dutch).

Train getaways

Travelling by train is a more sustainable option for getting away, so as the desire for sustainable holidays grows, so too should travelling to your destination by train. To help out with this trend, train aficionado The Man in Seat 61 ( reports that the InterRail train travel passes for European residents will introduce simpler rules for sleeper trains in 2019. But better yet, there’s a brand new night train coming, from Rotterdam and Amsterdam to Berlin. This is no ordinary night train, though: Noordwest Express ( wants to host live jazz concerts on board, with a lively bar and restaurant service. Its hopes to operate Jazz Night Express over two weekends, from 28-30 June 2019 and from 12-14 July 2019 (depending on demand). As well as this, in May 2018, the Tweede Kamer supported the motion by Groenlinks’ Suzanne Kröger for research on how to reconnect the Netherlands to the European night network, so we might see further night train developments in 2019.


Nearly every travel trend list for 2019 mentions digital detoxes, learning breaks and yoga retreats. The Netherlands is no different in this respect, so you don’t even need to travel abroad for breaks like this. For example, Tanja Eisvogel ( offers a threeday yoga retreat at her b&b and clinic next to the Voornes Duin national park. This includes walks on the beach, massages, and of course lots and lots of yoga.

New destinations discovered

On the other hand, according to a recent survey by travel company, several new travel destinations are becoming popular with its clientele, and most of these are long-haul. The top ten includes exotic locations such as Wadi Rum, Jordan (known as a Mars lookalike) and Samarkand, Uzbekistan (a city on the old Silk Road, filled with medieval architecture). A little closer to home is Ksamil, Albania, in the Butrint National Park and close to Corfu. Travellers are flocking there for the crystal clear waters, fresh seafood and historical sites.


Travel blogger collective August & July ( has pointed out that the popular television show Wie is Die Mol will be on location in Colombia this year. They predict that once the TV show has aired in the Netherlands, everyone will want to go there, which is what happened with the Philippines, Oregon and Georgia.

So, whether you think these trends will endure or they’re just flash-in-the-pan ideas of marketing departments, expect to see some of these items in your daily Dutch life in 2019 at least.

(tweets @cathycentral)