It’s hard to get excited about a supermarket but the new Foodmarkt did cause a bit of a stir in Twitterland and Facebook country when it opened on Wednesday. So much so traffic stewards were on duty in the car park.
Foodmarkt opens in Amsterdam Noord
The new concept includes food stalls specialising in various international dishes: pizza from the oven, sushi and wok dishes to one side with the usual supermarket aisles to the other. The metal structures, brick walls, with painted signs and high skylights certainly do not create the ambiance of the average neighbourhood super. In fact the natural materials give it quite a rustic look and an industrial feel in keeping with its location. The old Stork machine factory on ‘De Overkant’ (the other side, as North used to be known) now houses Stork fish restaurant, Dansmakers dance studios, DAT theatre school and Jumbo’s new concept food market.
This is the second Foodmarkt to open in the Netherlands. The first is in Breda where Jumbo, which is rapidly dominating the high streets up and down the country, comes from. But you will not see big yellow Jumbo letters anywhere, as this site would not have been allocated to a normal supermarket. Like the Landmarkt in Schellingwoude, it has to be more than just a supermarket – Landmarket endevours to sell regional produce from within a 40 km radius. The Foodmarkt boasts low prices and local producers. Albeit local producers from the southern provinces.
Many people in North Amsterdam will never have passed further than the Dirk on the Meeuwenlaan, never mind ventured into this industrial estate. So the amazing thing is that a supermarket has been located here anyway. It’s a sign of the success of North Amsterdam and it draws the district closer to the riverside, which has been the domain of (heavy) industries for decades. It is also a trend, in Rotterdam, the up-market recently opened Markt Hal has proven to be an enormous success – attracting hoards of shoppers to the city.
The nearest neighbourhood has up to now been well served by Dirk with prices that match the average pocket in the Vogelbuurt. In fact, the store must be feeling the pinch as I have never seen as many red Dirk flags flying before. As shopping for groceries becomes more and more of a happening, maybe the other supermarkets will be forced to follow suit.
This area of north is developing fast. New creative companies like TV company, Niehe Media, architects, artists, designers and iFabrica have set up in the complex of old factory buildings on ‘De Overkant‘. De Kromhouthal is an expo hall for regular exhibitions and fairs. So there is plenty of passing public to nip in for some groceries, although I suspect the Foodmarkt has its sights on attracting shoppers from further afield. Let’s hope they make use of the East and IJplein ferries as the shop is half way between the two and not the motorway.
The reason behind a concept like this is that in the age of internet shopping, supermarkets have to do a little bit more to get punters passing their tills. It is not good enough to just have a presence in the high street. The weekly shopping has to become an experience, a meeting place, a tasting session. People want to know where their food is coming from and maybe even where it is going.