Having a glass of wine at the hair salon and at some clothing shops in Amsterdam started as an experiment in January 2016. Rotterdam started in February and called it ‘Project Blending 010’ (why in English, don’t know – 010 is the area code for Rotterdam) and other places in the country called it ‘blurring’ (why in English, still don’t know) because the law says serving alcohol without a liquor license is illegal. So yes, the whole thing was illegal but tolerated – sound familiar?
The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) kicked off the experiment, but the Union of Liquor Store Owners (Slijtersunie) recently decided they were done being tolerant and decided to officially report the VNG to the authorities for breaking the law. The VNG is ‘surprised’ because talking it out is usually the Dutch way, but you can imagine there’s a lot more selling of alcohol at salons and shops than there is selling non-alcohol related products at the wine store. The experiment let shops serve and sell alcohol, while establishments that usually sell alcohol could sell shop products.
A lot of us were already having a drink with the lovely people who patiently cut our hair before any of this became a thing. And yes, it would probably help to make any kind of shopping more enjoyable. Maybe it’s time to change the law instead of forcing one group of Dutch businesses to have their turf invaded by another.
Or they could have a drink and talk it out till the cows come home Dutch style, who knows.
(Links: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, www.z24.nl, www.telegraaf.nl, Photo of Hair salon by Travel Salem, some rights reserved)
Tags: alcohol, Amsterdam, hair salon, law, wine
Dutch frozen fish company Iglo’s search for the new Captain Iglo (Kapitein Iglo) continues with 30 candidates wanting the job, including 10 women and even a 9 year old girl. The rest were men, young and old, with and without beards. The candidates were subjected to a jury of children during a boat trip around Amsterdam.
Tiemen, the oldest man who applied, was 72 and resembled the already existing bearded captain, but one of the favourites with the jury was 30 year old Samira, a Dutch-Moroccan woman. Part of the selection process included handing out fish sticks to kids, and Samira went one further and brought her own homemade dipping sauce.
Knowing that the Netherlands has never had their own Captain Iglo, going with Tiemen would mean nothing new for the brand and although a safe bet, would reinforce the idea that women and men without beards were wasting their time applying. However, choosing a woman could really spice up the brand’s image and give the marketing people lots of new angles. Let’s see how that plays out.
(Link: www.deondernemer.nl, Photo of Volendam by quantz, some rights reserved)
Tags: fish, job, sea, women
According to BN De Stem, food giant Unilever is pulling the plug on the longest running ice lolly in the Netherlands, the Raket (‘Rocket’).
BN De Stem suggests the Rocket is too Dutch for its own good. Unilever was only producing them for the Dutch market. The company, operating under the Ola brand in the Netherlands and Wall’s and Algida elsewhere, wants to streamline its production of ice cream flavours by reducing them from 450 to 90. As one observer said: “How much more streamlined than a rocket can you get?”
RTL Z claims that the story is an April Fools’ joke, citing “sources within Unilever”. Unlike any other April Fools’ joke I’ve seen, this one doesn’t refer to April however. The original source talks about May instead. Elle smells a rat, because why would a brand ditch a product that sells so well? So I decided to find out for myself, picked up the phone and called Unilever: turns out, their press department is conveniently unavailable for comment during the four-day Easter weekend.
Everybody agrees that if this really is an April Fool’s joke, it’s one of the lamest ever.
If Unilever is really abandoning the Rocket, then you’re in luck. Cheap knock-offs are still being made by competing brands as Z24 helpfully pointed out two years ago .
The news that Unilever is going to discontinue its traditional Dutch treat follows recent news that two major ‘bitterball’ manufacturers, Mora and Van Geloven, are now in foreign hands, and news from 2014 that aniseed cubes were discontinued by De Ruijter because the machine that made them could no longer be kept in repair.
Tags: April Fools, ice, ice lollies, Ola, Unilever
During the Dream and Dare festival on April 22 through 24 at the Eindhoven University of Technology to celebrate their 60th anniversary, they’ll be tech, innovation and debates as well as art, music and food. The food part will have drones acting as waiters, happily combining tech and drinks.
At the drone café, visitors will be able to order drinks from one drone while its drone colleague brings the drinks to you. It sounds way easier than it is to have drones flying indoors instead of outdoors. They need to fly much more accurately, they need to make way less noise and they need to not clip off any fingers when you grab your drinks from their talons. As well, the drones can only handle 300 grams of weight at a time.
Tessie Hartjes, of the student workgroup Blue Jay Eindhoven, says the combination of navigating and grasping is a big deal. She explains that although the drones use speech recognition software (and I’m assuming it only understands Dutch), the café is too noisy for that to work properly so you can order from the bar, old school. The drones also fly a certain route that you cannot walk into for fear of causing an accident. You can also pay to the drone, and tipping them might actually make them tip. I’m kidding.
(Link: www.tue.nl, www.bright.nl, Photo of Drone by Karen Axelrad, some rights reserved)
Tags: drones, Eindhoven University of Technology
It’s one thing to be allergic to foods like peanuts, shellfish, gluten or lactose, but it’s another to say you’re allergic to something and really mean you just don’t like it. There are people violently allergic to certain foods who have to watch everything they eat, especially at restaurants. It seems at the very least disrespectful for anyone to pretend they have an allergy just to get attention like a child having a tantrum.
A secret group of Dutch chefs on Facebook claims there is an increasing number of people in their establishments who don’t have allergies but enjoy getting attention by going to a restaurant and only once they’ve ordered do they ask if the food has peanuts, shellfish, gluten or lactose in it. Then, later on they order and eat something they said they were allergic to, as if it didn’t make a difference. These patrons are giving the disgruntled chefs major headaches and so chefs have started swapping stories.
One chef tells of a painstakingly put together lactose and gluten-free wedding buffet for 65 people only to see the guests go to town on bitterballen and beer later on. “I should have asked for a doctor’s note”, the chef jokes. Of course a wedding party should have the food they want, but why lie about having allergies? They could have simply told the chef what not to prepare instead of coming across as either liars or ignorant.
Lying about having a food allergy is a lot of work for chefs from buying ingredients to properly cleaning the surfaces where food is prepared. Another chef reassures his colleagues by saying that people with allergies check with the restaurant beforehand, and usually not when they show up and order. That’s how you can tell these two groups apart.
One chef who, upon being told that someone was allergic to gluten, politely asked if they had celiac disease (in Dutch he asked with a term that omits the word ‘disease’), which is not the only form of gluten intolerance, but a serious and rare one. The answer he got was “sounds great, I’ll have some”, indicating the person probably fell in the ignorant category. At least that chef didn’t have to scrub down his kitchen.
Tags: allergies, gluten-free, lactose intolerance, restaurants
The latest junk food hit in the Netherlands comes from Nijmegen, Gelderland and it’s called a ‘discodel’ (photo), a wrinkled hotdog called ‘frikandel’ with mayonnaise on top of it and topped off with small multi-coloured sugary balls that you would normally find on ice cream or cupcakes.
Three Dutch students came up with this one after a night of drinking – what a surprise. They’ve always mixed things up at the snack bar, and one day they went for the frikandel with mayonnaise and coloured balls and the ‘discodel’ was born.
Tags: discodel, fries, frikandel, junk food, Nijmegen
It’s time for another holiday controversy, one that revolves around chocolate Easter eggs sold at Dutch chain store HEMA. The store calls one type of its milk chocolate Easter eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for the purpose of an egg hunt, but omitting the word ‘Easter’ has led to hate-filled comments from Dutch Twitter conspiracy theorists living in their own echo chamber. ‘The H in HEMA stands for Halal instead of Holland’ and other hateful nonsense is doing the rounds, effectively helping the rest of us weed out the nutters just in time for some online spring cleaning.
Part of Dutch Twitter went down the rabbit hole claiming, with no proof whatsoever, that HEMA was pandering to Muslims by removing the word ‘Easter’ in their ‘eggs for hiding’. HEMA claims it has been calling one type of its milk chocolate eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for 10 years now because there’s a gold one and that makes them great for Easter egg hunts. After one ‘offending’ picture on Twitter, people jumped on the bandwagon because it sounded plausible if you ignore the pesky facts that get in the way of blind hate.
HEMA sells pork products, Christmas stuff, Easter stuff, Sinterklaas stuff, even head scarves that offends absolutely nobody.
(Links: nieuws.nl, www.volkskrant.nl)
Tags: chocolate, Easter, Hema, Twitter
I’ve recently noticed an increase in popcorn flavours besides salty and sweet at my local supermarket, such as fancy popcorn with cheese and chives and what not from the UK as well as Dutch attempts at making popcorn that reminds me of American Cracker Jack.
This time Italians are bringing the popcorn to downtown Amsterdam, with the opening of FOL Gourmet Popcorn, the first ever popcorn shop of the country. Flavours will include bacon, chili pepper and white chocolate with pretzel. You can also sit down and have a beverage with your popcorn.
I love popcorn and every time I reach for some I say ‘popcorn!’ and picture of James Brown getting down.
(Links: nieuws.nl, www.vastgoedmarkt.nl, Photo: Popcorn Monsoon by Dutch designer Jolene Carlier)
Tags: Amsterdam, popcorn
The Plus supermarket in Winterswijk, Gelderland has a cook on staff that makes meals from the food close to its best-before date and sells it to customers, a Dutch first according to the supermarket.
While France has been making headlines with its legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away food (a great idea that doesn’t quite work yet), the Dutch have been giving away their expired food to food banks for a long time, not feeling the need to legislate what seems like doing the right thing. French supermarkets can also get rid of their food in a way that it becomes animal feed and compost rather than feed people.
In the Netherlands, even if food is expired and OK to eat, it has to be thrown out by law, and that didn’t sit well with supermarket owner Jeroen Bruggers. He got creative and hired a cook last autumn, Sander-Jan Bats, who makes meals with food that is about to expire. Bats, 32, who has been cooking food since he was 15, cooks in an open kitchen with his colleagues and says he enjoys the challenge. The meals cost no more than 4 euro and are freshly made, a big hit with customers. Bruggers hopes other supermarkets pick up the idea.
(Link: www.achterhoeknieuwswinterswijk.nl, Photo of an endive potato mash with meatless sausage by Jasja Dekker, some rights reserved)
Tags: Gelderland, supermarket
To save some money while on vacation, a twentysomething Dutch guy decided to bring 160 kilos of meat into Switzerland, a country that only allows you to bring a kilo with you. He could have looked it up before trying to play bluff poker with Swiss border guards.
Customs found a veritable butcher’s shop in the boot of the car: spareribs, roasted pig, steaks and cold cuts. After claiming to have nothing to declare, the guy was fined a few thousand Swiss francs. Since we like price tags, 2,000 CHF is about 1,814 euro, 3,000 CHF is 2,721 euro), which means he probably ate dry bread for the rest of his vacation.
There’s nothing wrong with the Dutch bringing cheese, drop (Dutch liquorice sweets) and coffee on vacation as comfort food, but don’t pull stunts with the Swiss – they’ve seen it all. They’re not part of the EU or the European Economic Area like Iceland or Norway, and they don’t do Schengen. They will search the shit out of your car and fine you quicker than James Bond skiing away from the baddies down the piste at Gstaad for speeding.
Tags: customs, meat, Switzerland