An Ode to Albert Heijn

I moved out of my place in Amsterdam today, and am currently on the train leaving the city. It’s a little bit heart breaking, as there are a number of things I’m going to miss about this wonderful city. Of course there is the biking and the canals, the amazing friends I’ve made and am going to miss oh so dearly, but maybe most importantly what I am going to miss is Albert Heijn. If you have ever been to Amsterdam, I’m sure you’ve been to an ol’ Albert Heijn to pick up some food at one point or another. The Dutch supermarket chain seems to have quite the grocery monopoly in Amsterdam, with an AH consistently being within at most a 5 minute bike ride away. From where I lived, there were five AH’s within a ten minute walk. It’s an expensive supermarket, and there are definitely cheaper options in the city, but I developed some serious supermarket loyalty. They reel you in to a life-time of loyalty with their bonus-card that gets you (small) discounts (infrequently). In the winter, my roommate and I collected hundreds of stickers so that we could receive free knives, but we never got around to redeeming the stickers. It was fun though nonetheless. Often times, my friends and I would consider going out for dinner, but then we’d crave something from our local Heijny, and we’d decide to just go there instead. There is an Albert Heijn museum in Zandaam that I unfortunately never got to go to. I’m not sure if Albert was that interesting of a guy, but maybe the museum would have free gouda samples? I guess I’ll never know. Some of my favourite foods that I will miss are the pikante (that means spicy) hummus, the old Amsterdam cheese and mustard sandwich that I get every time I get off of a train in Amsterdam Centraal and the freshly squeezed orange juice. There are also the fresh stroop waffles and just outta the oven white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that I will probably dream about and wake up with drool on my pillow. It wasn’t someones birthday without an Albert Heijn birthday cake and hand drawn decorations from the AH icing. Another lovely aspect of AH is the free coffee that people don’t seem to know about but that definitely exists at most locations! A supermarket that provides free caffeine is no doubt a friend. Not only did Albert Heijn provide us with delicious food, but also it has been a place of education that has taught me basically all of the Dutch that I know. Kip, for example, means chicken. Zee Zout? See Salt. Wortel? Carrot. Melk? Milk. Ingang? Entrance. See? I’m basically fluent. It’s at Heijny that my only “Dutch” conversations took place, and they always went as following:

CASHIER: Bonuskaart? (Bonus card?)

ME: [I then do not say anything, but I hand the cashier my bonus card]

CASHIER: Vijftien vijftig (15.50 euros – note, I do not actually know Dutch for most numbers, but it is always displayed on the screen, so it is very easy to fake)

ME: [I then pay and bag my groceries]

CASHIER: Bonnetje mee? (Would you like your receipt?)

ME: Nee, dankjewel (No thankyou!)

CASHIER: Goed avond! (Good evening!)

ME: Doei! (Bye!)


Doie-doie Amsterdam and Albert Heijn! You will be dearly missed.

xo Jean




One thought on “An Ode to Albert Heijn

  1. Have fun in Bulgaria Jean! I’m starving now, so tanks for dat! You should have someone send this to the head office of this supermarket chain. They will probably give you a million stickers for enough knives to join a circus act! (you know the thing where they throw knives at people spinning on a target for fun). Either that or a lifetime supply of gouda as the best customer evah!
    Ian (THE MAN FROM Newfoundland who is thy UNCLE)

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