A group of students at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam is currently working on making leather out of fruit and possibly vegetables for their graduation. The ‘Fruitleather’ project claims to deal with ‘one of Rotterdam’s biggest social issues, food waste’.
The group claims that market sellers in and around Rotterdam throw away approximately 3500 kilos of rotten or other unsellable fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The goal of the project is to repurpose all that food that isn’t trash in their view by producing large-scale amounts of fruit leather and turning them into different products.
Do the products smell of fruit? Won’t they be eaten by bugs or animals? How sturdy are they? What about actual vegetables? It would be nice to know more.
The manager of a drugstore in Etten-Leur, Noord-Brabant was caught selling a pallet of baby formula out the back of the shop before the product hit the shelves. However, this apparently happens often around the country, as managers receive their bonuses based on their turnover rather than their margins. If they are always able to sell their pallets of formula in one go, it’s no surprise some of them will move product this way. Almost everyone in the Netherlands has noticed that baby formula can only be bought one or two tins at a time due to a constant shortage.
The media tends to blame the Chinese who buy up baby formula, but that’s only half the picture. The shortage is not caused by individual Chinese buying up units or even a pallet out the back, but mainly by Dutch producers of formula who can sell it at three times the Dutch price on Chinese websites where only a select handful of foreign companies are allowed to do business. According to the Telegraaf in 2013, Chinese resellers can make millions selling Dutch baby formula to the Chinese whether it comes directly from Dutch companies or Chinese selling it themselves. I’ve read that ambitious traders who buy pallets get the product into China through Hong Kong, even a few tins at a time if need be.
Sure, the Chinese can buy domestic formula, but since the scandals of 2008, expecting parents would rather buy quality foreign products, and big European companies know this all too well.
On 10 July the Dutch Vegetarians’ Union will attempt a world record: getting 1900 people to eat together at a very long table and score the longest vegetarian dinner table record. Last year the world record was set at 1750, and the year before that Mechelen, Belgium had the honours with 1000 participants.
The big banquet will be held at the Museumplein in Amsterdam, a big park surrounded by the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum where large events often take place. Some 20,000 volunteers will be dishing out kilos and kilos of vegetables and tortilla wraps for the dinner party and everybody who wants to eat is invited. The union wants to point out that ‘meat production is the second major polluter of the environment after heavy industry’ and that ‘food can taste great without meat’.
The city of Ede, Gelderland, working towards profiling itself as a food town (Dutch), has produced Vincent van Gogh ice cream that it said to taste like potatoes for its Vincent van Gogh year 2015. The special taste was inspired by Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters, which hangs in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
Earlier this year the mayor of Ede presented Vincent beer. Vincent beer, Van Gogh ice cream and tons of other food will be available during the two-day event Food Unplugged on 26 and 27 June, with 600 food professionals in attendance.
Cafe Averechts in Utrecht has been around since the 1980s and continues to flourish amidst dwindling profits in the hospitality sector. The cafe’s ‘reverse’ approach to profit-making is the key to their brand of success: it is entirely run by volunteers.
Before anyone thinks ‘why would anyone work for free’, it is important to know that all pop venues in the country rely on volunteers. If you were to remove all pop venues that make a loss in the Netherlands, not a single one would be left standing and the country would be a cultural desert. Even the Paradiso in Amsterdam is subsidised by the city and in order to enjoy a favourable tax rebate as such, patrons pay a membership fee with their tickets. That’s right, the most famous Dutch club in the world needs government money.
During the week Averechts features a small stage with music, poetry and the likes as well as vegetarian food (vegan on demand) at a low cost. It also has lots of beers and more than 20 kinds of whiskey. All profits made go straight to charities and any tips are doubled (you put in one euro, the house matches it, we imagine) to send even more money their way.
Averechts is also a great place to celebrate King’s Day if you’re in Utrecht.
Swedish marketing agency Universum has been polling Dutch students on who they want to work for after graduation.
A whopping 12,000 students from 32 universities and polytechnics were asked about their career preferences. Major Dutch companies such as Philips, Shell, KLM, Heineken and Endemol were named, but large American companies such as Google and Apple also made their appearance.
Both law and arts & humanities students named the national government as their preferred employer, followed by Google for the former and KLM for the latter. Business students like KLM and Google the best, engineering and physics students prefer Google, followed by Philips.
Compared to last year, TNO, Coca-Cola, IKEA and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek failed to make the top 5 in any of the categories.
The Chinese cosmetics company Perfect has recently sponsored 4,500 of its employees to vacation in the Netherlands, making it the biggest group visit to the country ever, according to Dutch media.
Their entire visit has brought in close to 8 million euro. The Chinese visited places such as the Hoge Veluwe National Park, Roermond outlet centre, the congress centre in Utrecht, and the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, while having to stay in different cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.
Many of them were spotted enjoying Chinese food the most, which could be the typical Chinese-Indonesian food the Dutch usually serve. The group will most probably help attract even more Chinese visitors to the Netherlands with their word of mouth advertising.
Last month we told you about beautifully crafted marzipan handbags from chocolate maker Jordino in Amsterdam who had received a nasty letter all in business French telling them to stop making Louis Vuitton handbags with the threat of being fined 40,000 euro for trademark infringement.
This week as I walked passed the shop to see if the bags were still there, Jordino did one better: they have now branched out into Gucci and Chanel bags as well. They were too busy dishing out ice cream to ask them why they continued crafting bags after the threat, but my best guess is Louis Vuitton was either told to get stuffed in Dutch or were completed ignored. I’m happy Jordino decided to keep making their beautiful sweets.
After having Americans try sweets and foods from many other countries, the Dutch held their breath to find out what happens in the recently released ‘Americans Try Dutch Sweets’ video.
Sometimes you know the panel is going to hate it, but it’s tough to find anyone that hates ‘stroopwafels’ (‘syrup waffles’). When I travel abroad and need to bring a small gift, stroopwafels are my best bet. You should warm them up on a mug of coffee or tea and then eat them or buy mini-stroopwafels and eat the whole bag.
Haribo is a German company and Germans as well as other nationalities also enjoy drop, so even if drop is more of a Dutch favourite, it’s always fun to see people’s reaction to trying it for the first time, like babies biting into a lemon and wincing their cute little faces.
‘Boterkoek’ (‘butter cake’) is easy to like, so no weirdness there, just a buttery taste. ‘Autodrop cadillacs’ (‘gummy pink cadillacs’) are nice because the strawberry flavour is not artificial and you can do wonders with the caddies on cupcakes. And yes, gummy products are originally German. The rum beans are bean-shaped chocolates filled with rum, although you need to pop them into your mouth in one go or else. I have no idea who came up with the brilliant idea for this type of sweet, but chocolate and rum is an international combo of deliciousness.
I say we need at least a second video with many more types of cakes and cookies (hey look, a Dutch word that made into English, from ‘koekjes’) and possibly a few other regional delicacies.
The site shows you what can be done with lab grown meat. Why would anybody create a restaurant for food you cannot eat yet? “Before we can decide if we ever want to eat lab grown meat, we need to explore its impact on our food culture”, the FAQ says.
Some of the dishes on the menu are cubes of celebrity, in vitro ice cream (made from polar bear DNA), undead fish teppanyaki and “the grey area between a sea anemone and a sex toy”. The project clearly tries to explore what it is exactly when we say ‘meat’.
The site appears to be a continuation of the crowdfunded The In Vitro Meat Cookbook which was published in 2014 and which won a Dutch Design Award that same year.