Tap and Go: Albert Heijn’s New Smart-Store Has No Checkouts

Imagine a grocery store with no lines. That means no elderly people counting out their pennies, no harried looking mothers ducking back for one last item, no foreigners getting to the checkout before realising their Visa and Mastercards can’t be used here. What an ideal world!

With a new trial Albert Heijn is undertaking from today, these checkout-less stores could be a reality. Instead, a simple scan of your debit card when walking into the store could be all it would take to complete your grocery shopping. Hello future!

While Albert Heijn already uses self-checkouts and self-scanners as you shop, this new system would remove the need for checkouts entirely. And, you can forget having to register for the service, scanning products on the shelves, or downloading an app – under the new system, anyone can walk in and use the service.

Tapping your card before entering the grocery store. Now we’ve seen everything! Image: Albert Heijn (supplied)

Steps for Grab and Go

  1. The door opens automatically with your debit card or credit card.
  2. In the store, you pack the products you want. The smart-shelves record which products are removed and replaced via sensors.
  3. Walk to the exit where payment takes place automatically and the door opens.

The store is fully autonomous, which means we could be seeing 24-hour versions in the future! Buuut a little concerning about its implications for Dutch jobs.

Watch the cashless store in action! (Dutch only, sorry!)

Where can I use this technology?

Well, that’s the bad news. For the time being, the trial is only being conducted at Albert Heijn’s head office in Zaandam and is only for employees. But if it’s a success, the trial will move to a public location after around two months.

What about privacy?

Ah that age-old decade-old question. Will there be cameras watching my every move? The answer, in short, is yes. But you don’t have to worry about being caught picking your nose in the soup aisle (and later receiving advertisements for decongestants). Instead, you’re reduced to a black bullet-like shape – like a shadow-monster, but less scary.

When will it come to my local AH?

Yeahhh, that’s the other bad news. Despite entering trial phase today, it could be another ten years before it’s implemented throughout the Netherlands. So if you’re keen to get your hands on this cool technology, you might have to be patient. Or, you know, get a job at Albert Heijn’s head office.

What do you think of this new tech? Convenient, or unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Albert Heijn (Supplied)

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺https://gallivantations.com
Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands — and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).


  1. A bad idea. More jobs lost and more profits for the corporation. And for the tourists and visitors that DO NOT have a Dutch bank? Too bad, go away. Find someone else that will take your money.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related posts

Latest posts

Does the Netherlands have Daylight Saving Time?

The tricky thing about the time in the Netherlands is that it's always changing — or at least twice a year, when Daylight Saving...

The 30% ruling might not be cut after all: Here’s what we know

When MPs initially agreed to slash the expat scheme last year, a storm of protests broke out among some of the largest Dutch companies....

What was the Eighty Years’ War? The Dutch War of Independence explained

The Eighty Years' War is also known as the Dutch War of Independence. It stretched from 1568 to 1648 as the new Dutch Republic...

It's happening

Upcoming events

The latest Dutch news.
In your inbox.