It all started back in 1976 with our own fruit store at Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam. But when my father started his own fruit stand at Leidsebosje square I liked that kind of job so much that I applied for my own spot in the centre at the municipality Amsterdam. The spot is still our current location at Herengracht corner Koningsplein.

And thus started Balvert Fruit and more… in may 1983. Our first stand was in use from 1983 to 2005. It served its purpose very well. But its time had come. In the summer it became so hot the all chocolate melted but in winter you needed to wear a hat and gloves. Therefore we needed to modernise.

So we installed our new stand on December 5th 2005.  A great improvement for our clients as well as for our staff.

The old stand was 4 by 2 metres and had a display rack outside that we had to put outside every morning and take inside every night. No pleasant job in rain and snow. And the space was very limited. Especially when new stock had arrived.

 The new stand does not have those problems anymore. There is a new portal of 1,5 metres deep. We can close this space with a roll down shutter. That saves a lot of work. The air-conditioning provides us with a more constant temperature in summer and winter.

When I look around, I conclude that we are the oldest neighbourhood shop around in this past of the centre of  Amsterdam. Sometimes we get the feeling that we are (unintentionally) the signpost to: the redlight district (where are the pleasure ladies?), Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, Reguliersdwars, Vondelpark, And all the other canals and streets of Amsterdam. Questions about pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels.

Most people know the street where their hotel is situated. But there also those who have forgotten that (after a beer or two or more). I that case it is sometimes hard to help. Once we had somebody coming to us with an address card of his hotel which turned out to be in Rotterdam. That 40 miles way. So the goy was rally lost.


Or a man that came to Amsterdam on a bike. He had parked his bike near a house with a big white gate. Quite a vague description for a spot to be found in Amsterdam. Or the freshmen students who wanted to know where the Central Station is. They thought they knew the way better than me after living in Amsterdam for three days. We simply told them to follow the rails.

During the Taxi war many drivers came to us for a cup of coffee, a red bull or a sandwich. Our stand became hide park corner for some weeks.

Some people come bye and their (life)stories. Or a hobo that begs for an overripe banana “You probably cannot sell that anymore”.

Unfortunately also freaky incidents; a guy who came walking to me with his hands on his belly. He asked if he use my phone. I pointed him towards the phone booth on the other side of the street. Than he took one of his hands away and said that he had got stabbed. The blood came through his shirt. Of course I quickly called 911.

But most of the times funny things happen. People are in a good mood mostly. They have a night on the town or they are on holiday. So working on this spot (with the typical Amsterdam sense of humour) remains a great job after all these years.

See you soon,
Ger Balvert

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