The 'snackmuur' is not typically Dutch!
‘Let's get a frikandel or kroket from the wall!’ Had you seen the snack machine anywhere before? The Dutch think this is a typical Dutch invention. But is that really the case? We explain where this phenomenon comes from and how it works.
Originally, the machine came from Germany. The concept quickly spread through Western Europe. In 1902, the machine also came to the United States. It mainly sold pastries from the wall and became very popular there in the 1950s, but then fast food restaurants came along, making the machines extinct.
Still popular in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands we still remained big fans of de snackmuur Here the walls are mainly known because of Febo. It opened its first branch in Amsterdam in 1960.The company now has 22 branches in our capital. In the rest of the Netherlands we find these walls too, especially in the city center, but also at train stations.
How does the machine work?
There is a heating system in each compartment. The temperature of the snacks stays around 63 degrees, which is required by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. The vending machine also knows when to take the snacks out, because they can only be left for three hours. Green or red lights indicate whether a snack should be taken out of the machine.
You often have to pay in cash at the ‘snack walls’. This is annoying sometimes, because you don't always have the exact amount of money you need and the machine often doesn't return the money. Fortunately, there are now many machines where you can pay contactless.
So now you know: the snack machine is actually not a typical Dutch invention. But since we're the only country that still uses them so much, it's actually part of our country after all.