Dutch Quirk #107: Eat food from a wall vending machine

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #107: Eat food from a wall vending machine

Yes. You read that right. The Dutch have taken the concept of street food to a whoooole new level. Wall vending machines contain an array of classic Dutch fast food at your beck and call — and Nederlanders love ’em.

The idea is definitely questionable, to say the least. Imagine this — you’re wandeling (walking) down bustling streets filled with the strong aromas and chattering crowds that could conjure the scene of a traditional street market. 

Yet instead, you come face to face with a wall vending machine selling everything from kaassoufflés to kip krokets

READ MORE | Dutch cities may soon have the power to say ‘nee’ to fast food restaurants.

Now, we know the Dutch love their traditions and this one is, definitely, no different. It also seems to adhere to the frugal and impatient nature of the Dutch. But WHY?

What is it?

There are several renditions of the whole hole-in-the-wall doodah but the one that’s stuck the longest is FEBO.

READ MORE | The Dutch food dream: 13 unmissable dishes in the Netherlands.

FEBO is a franchise fast-food restaurant (if you can even call it that) that was founded in 1941. It’s notable for an automatic format that allows you to purchase frites and frikandellen from a locker-like hole in the wall without a second’s hesitation.

The Dutch baker-turned-entrepreneur, Johan de Borst (1919-2008), named his creation after a street in Amsterdam. Ferdinand Bolstraat = FE + BO. Get it? 😉

Today, almost every Dutch city is decorated with at least one much-beloved and frequently used FEBO vending machine.

Why do they do it?

We don’t know why the Dutch do a lot of things. We’ve also learnt not to ask questions where they are not due, in case a bitterballen gets flung at our heads.

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Our guess? Perhaps, because FEBOs kroketten’s are just tooo darn good! 

Why is it quirky? 

Around the world food automats closed down when fast-food joints, such as McDonalds, started opening up. However, the Netherlands enjoyed its food walls so much that they couldn’t part ways. 🤤

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As a result, the wall vendors became a typically Dutch sight. Glowing, inviting lights of the wall vendors await you at every corner shopping street, luring you in like flies to 💩.

Or a truly scrumptious frikandel, depending on how you see it. 

Should you join in? 

If you’re ever feeling lazy and the McDonald’s queue is too long. We’d suggest that you take yourself down to a traditional Dutch vending machine. 

You may be disappointed, but at least you’ll have unlocked (and easily retrieved) a new experience!  

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Eva Gabriella
Eva Gabriella
After calling Malaysia her home for 19 years, Eva moved to Amsterdam to study literary and cultural analysis. Well, that was the academic theory — in reality it was more like “cultural shock.” Eva’s mastery of life in the Netherlands involved initiation into the richness of nocturnal hangouts, canals, cuisine, and upright and forthright cyclists (who she now rings her bell back at.) When she is not speeding her way through books, she is winding and weaving down endless straatjes, often finding herself, not so quite by chance, in a gezellig music bar!


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