Visit Grocery StoresPosted: April 26, 2011
The history of the small store
Grocery shops, they seem a forgotten species. At various locations in Amsterdam there are exhibitions about the present and the past of the grocery shop. The Amsterdam Historical Museum has an exhibition, but there is also plenty to see in Mustafa’s coffee house in the Javastreet. Several neighborhoods are highlighted and there is a lot of attention for personal stories. Thus, a woman who has lived her whole life in the district Kattenburg has seen her cozy neighborhood with nearly one hundred shops change into an area with only one supermarket. This is the case in many neighborhoods. In 1930, there were still 906 grocery shops, now there are only 83. The milkman has been changed to “my Turk ‘on the corner. The life-course of the local shops says a lot about our way of life. With advent of factories and hence the supermarkets with low prices, there was a decline in the small shops in the 1060’s. The guest workers who couldn’t get used Dutch cuisine opened their own shops. These shops are still around and were seen as very old fashioned. But what the exhibition makes very clear is that the local shops for a feeling of togetherness is gone. The daily chat, personal advice or home delivery, has become rare. Perhaps the concept of the little shop or that crazy Turk is not such a bad idea. A store where you encounter your neighbors and make you feel more involved with your environment is a nice thing to have around.