For the screw head shape, see Cheese head (screw).

Cheesehead (Dutch: kaaskop) is a nickname which began as a slanderous term towards Dutch people,[1][2][3] and later in the US became a general name for a person from Wisconsin (see: Wisconsin cheese).[4] It is also the nickname for the fans of the Green Bay Packers NFL football franchise.


World War II German soldiers were known to call the Dutch "cheeseheads".[1]

The term "cheesehead" was also used in a derogatory manner in the 1969 novel Papillon to describe the jury that sentenced Papillon to life in prison.[5][6]


The current use of the term "cheesehead" as a derogatory word for Wisconsinites originated with Illinois football and baseball fans to refer to opposing Wisconsin sports fans. The term, however, was quickly embraced by Wisconsinites and is now a point of pride.[7]

The Cheesehead Hat

A Packers fan wearing a "cheesehead" hat

Deena Bruno first saw a cardboard "cheesehead" hat at a Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago White Sox game in Chicago in 1987 worn by fellow Milwaukeean Amerik Wojciechowski.[8][9] Ralph Bruno later made the first one out of foam while he was cutting up his mother's couch. It was made popular by center-fielder Rick Manning, who saw the hat while playing.[10][11] Bruno started a business to sell the hats as novelties. The "Cheesehead" trademark is owned by Foamation, Inc. of St. Francis, Wisconsin, which began manufacture of the wearable, foam "Cheesehead" in 1987. It has also been referred to as a "Cheese Hat" since it is legally a hat.[12]

In 2013, losers of Chicago replied to their rivals by wearing cheese graters.[13]


  1. 1 2
  3. By Pat Goodheart, "Canto, Volume 3", p. 1
  4. Kapler, Joseph, Jr. "On Wisconsin Icons: When You Say 'Wisconsin', What Do You Say?" Wisconsin History Spring 2002; pp. 18-31
  5. Prescott, Peter, Encounters with American Culture (1963-1972), Transaction Publishers, p. 210, ISBN 1-4128-0496-5. "... and the stupiditiy of a dozen "cheesehead" jurors who couldn't care less."
  6. Charrière, Henri. Papillion. France: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon Ltd. p. 3. ISBN 0-06-093479-4. "Look at them, there in front of you. Can you see them clearly, those dozen cheeseheads brought to Paris from some distant village?"
  7. Foamation: About Us.
  8. Foamation, Inc. v. Wedeward Enterprises, Inc., 947 F.Supp. 1287 (E.D. Wis. 1996)
  9. Cigelske, Tim (September 8, 2005), "When I was 30: Michael Bednar: Cheeseheads were spreading", MKE, archived from the original on August 1, 2007.
  10. Greg Garber (February 3, 2011) "All that, with cheese on top", ESPN
  12. Prunty, Brendan (January 19, 2008), "The Origin of the 'Cheesehead'", The Star-Ledger.
  13. Cheddar shredder - Chicago Tribune, 26 December 2013
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