Marqt, the growing wholefood supermarket chain, has opened its second branch in Amsterdam. The shop is located in the basement of the old ABN Amro building on the corner of Rembrandtplein.
The building, partially designed by H.P. Berlage, the father of the Amsterdam School of architecture, had stood empty for several years after asbestos was found. The eight-storey colossus is now undergoing extensive renovation, with the aim of restoring it to its former glory. For pictures of the building and information on what it will eventually look like, check out The Bank Amsterdam website.
Marqt is in the basement, the only part of the renovation that has so far been completed. Although ‘completed’ is relative, as the owners have gone for an industrial look of bare concrete and exposed bricks.
The 1,000m2 space is filled with what Marqt describes as ‘real food’ – food produced with respect for animals, human welfare and environment, and free from any unnecessary additives – although it is not necessarily organic. Many of the brands are the same ones you can find in the less trendy EkoPlaza chain, but there are enough unknown local products and novelty imports to distinguish it from the crowd.
Marqt’s cheese display, for example, is groaning under the weight of kaas from Holland, France, Germany, Italy and England, and the collection of fresh herbs includes things like chervil that can be virtually impossible to find elsewhere. In the freezer section is a line of gorgeous fruit and vegetable sorbets and ice creams (red cabbage and apple flavour, anyone?) by Frozen Dutch, a company based in Amsterdam North.
In the seafood department, fresh fish are displayed packed in ice (rather than plastic), and the bakery turns out crusty loaves, cakes and pastries several times a day. Many items, like home-made brownies and rolls, are individually wrapped, which is handy if you are picking up something for lunch. It does, however, raise a question about whether Marqt has thought as much about the environmental impact of its packaging as it has its food.
Also on the premises is a branch of De Pizzabakkers, George Deli and a Starbucks concept store.
Marqt’s other outlet is on Overtoom 21.
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