Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Verkade Museum (Het Verkade Paviljoen)




Last summer I have visited with my parents and kids the Verkade museum. It is a section of the Zaanse Museum and is located in the Zaanse Schans in Zaandam.

The Verkade products are very popular in Holland and many are found in other European countries. Specially famous in Holland are the Verkade chocolate letters you find in supermarkets during November and December.

In the 125 years of its existence, Verkade has produced 48 different cookies, several types of chocolate, toffees, bonbons, waffles, cakes, snacks and... candles.
Below, some of the old machines used in the factory.

The Verkade museum also displays a huge quantity of adverstisement produced during the years. Some are quite popular and you can buy such vintage metal plates at Loods 5, in Zaandam.
  I love them !
(photo above: The Verkade Museum archive)

At the end of the XIX century, Verkade was one fo the first industries in the world exploiting employing women. The "girls from Verkade" were hundreds of young Amsterdam girls who went every morning to work in Zaandam by train. In the museum, I have read a testimony of a woman working as secretary for Verkade in the beginning of the XX century. She found unbelievable how hard the girls had to work, hour after hour during many long days. She herself was very happy and feeling lucky for doing administrative work and not being one of "those (blue collar) girls". There are also written testimonies of the Verkade girls, how they were gathered in Amsterdam every morning at the Central Station in Amsterdam, how they bonded with each other singing in the train,  how they had to perform domestic chores at home after factory hours, and how they tried to steal cookies to take home during the World War II.   Life was tough !
The last years you watch now and then on the TV commercials from featuring "the girls from Verkade" - mostly naif, young & sweet girls who make cookies at the company. Hey, but apparently on Fridays they get "a bit naughty" because they make salty cookies with herbs. (Check vid below). Talk about eroticizing products...

Well, that was it. My kids loved visiting the museum while my parents got a little bit disappointed because nothing was in English. The absence of translations in the museum is really a negative aspect. Anyway, next to the exit/entrance to the museum there is a lunch room and a souvenir shop. You can also visit the shop without having to pass by the museum first.

Above: wooden molds (in the shape of a windmill and dolls) for speculaas cookies. I think such molds are also funky when used as decoration items hanging on the walls of a kitchen.


The museum shop is a large one, and has a wide range of  items such as reproductions of vintage posters, illustration cards (with themes such as butterflies, flowers, fruits and the Dutch landscape), books, tea sets, trays, kitchen utensils, cookies, chocolates. Very lovely and pretty.

Below, a parody of Verkade girls made by the comediants from the program Koefnoen.

At Verkade we know what delicious means...
You just put blushy blond ladies next to a pack of cookies
and it sells itself.
Thus our sweetenes in a tasteful jacket.
They are de Verkade girls !
A delicious combination of boobs and cookies.

And while you get distracted by them,
the real Verkade ladies are working hard making cookies
in order to deliver to whole Holland
something that is good to dip (in tea)
according to tested recipes.

(voice off) Old Cookie - by Verkade

2 comments:

Jaboticaba Preta said...

Ai eu trancada num museu desses...:D

Anita said...

Mas não tem choc à venda.
Só na lojinha.