When the Old Amsterdam shop appeared last year I expected it would vanish within a few months. But yesterday as I walked over Dam Square it was clearly still a hit. Especially with the flow of tourists stepping inside. How have Westland made it a surprisingly pleasant experience and why?
The nostalgic Old Amsterdam identity and advertising campaigns are enduringly charming and the first thing you notice from the street is its window display. Half rounds of Old Amsterdam are repeated in the shop window and an oversized full round serves as branded signage without diminishing the yesteryear spirit.
Whiffs of melted cheese invite you inside to perfectly arranged shelves of Old Amsterdam in various packaging formats. The rosy lady making toasted sandwiches cheerfully posed with tourists for potential Facebook photos. Plates of tasting cheeses were a welcome nibble and cliché giant clogs didn’t weaken the allure. A wall of Boska cheese utensils and the wine display even invite a spontaneous picnic.
Despite originating from Huizen, not Amsterdam, Old Amsterdam has overcome expert Dutch criticism for technically not being old cheese. Only established in 1985 it is now thriving with international awards and export to Europe and America. No other cheese is more talked about and this retail experience is an extra slice of authenticity for a cleverly positioned mainstream supermarket product.
Written by Hayden Roberts.