Dutch simplicity

The Netherlands’ pavilion is inspired by conviviality, what with food trucks and live music

11-05-2015
From the Decumanum it could almost be taken as a s

From the Decumanum it could almost be taken as a simple restaurant area. It is instead the original and cosy Dutch pavilion: no queues to get inside, a varied and fun culinary offer, many spaces in which to enjoy a few minutes of relax

«Our initial idea was to consider this space as a festival area». These are the words of Erik van der Schaft, the director of the Dutch pavilion at Expo Milano 2015. Indeed, the choice made to organise the 2,300 sq. m. rectangle overlooking the Decumanum is absolutely original and makes the “orange” pavilion stand out, granting it a huge success among World Fair visitors.

The Netherlands chose an open-air pavilion, a sort of amusement park (there’s also a panoramic wheel where you can dine) with a large square on which many food trucks overlook. «This is our spirit - Erik van der Schaft continues – during the summer you can find similar situations all across The Netherlands, from the more imposing to the more cosy ones: Dutch people love to stay outdoors and share moments of conviviality».

La Molina, the small panoramic wheel where you can have lunch or supper

La Molina, the small panoramic wheel where you can have lunch or supper

The idea of sharing is also part of the slogan marking the Dutch presence at Expo 2015: "Share, grow, live". “Share”, because the themes of food are both local and global and sharing knowledge between countries is essential in order to find effective solutions. “Grow”, because food has a strong influence from an economic and social point of view too and in this respect The Netherlands are an interesting model in that they are the largest food exporter in the world, even though the country’s extension is certainly not huge. Finally, “Live”, because a good quality of life for everyone is an essential concept and derives from a fair distribution of land and water supplies.

The Alternative Burger Collective food truck

The Alternative Burger Collective food truck

The pavilion – open on all sides, so the audience doesn’t need to queue – covers these themes with a playful and interactive approach. And most of all it offers comfort and a laid-off welcome to the tired passer-by on the Decumanum. Live music enwraps the food truck area where you can eat almost all sorts of food for very moderate prices (compared to the Expo average). For instance, The Frying Dutchman food truck, on top of deserving praise for the fun and creative name, offers tasty meatballs and the traditional fries which, as Erik was playfully keen to point out with a touch of healthy flag-waving attitude «cost half as much [4.50€ instead of 9€ per portion] as the ones in the Belgian pavilion and they are at least as good!».

Inside the green house you can find the restaurant of the Dutch pavilion
Inside the green house you can find the restaurant of the Dutch pavilion
The offer of the Alternative Burger Collective is more original and perhaps even healthier and lighter: in their menu they have a Seaweed hamburger (The Dutch Weed Burger) and a special Tomato Burger. In the latter, the tomato is the main ingredient, instead of the meat, and the result is truly surprising. In particular, this recipe was studied by Israeli chef Moshik Roth, two Michelin stars with his restaurant &Samhoud Places in Amsterdam.

Finally, there’s also space for a restaurant inside the pavilion, the result of the collaboration between De Kas in Amsterdam and Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana ICIF, who supplied many of the guys in the kitchen. The menu is a nice meeting of Dutch tradition and Italian cuisine, to be tasted in a pleasant space, built as a green house (just like the original restaurant in the Dutch capital).


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