Everytime we visit the Foodhallen my faith in humanity is restored. You might think that is a bit of an exaggeration but it is true. Let me explain, firstly, it is a recycle project, and you know how much I like those (remember this post about The High Line). So, while it commercially opened as a community (food and culture) space in 2014, it used to be a service station for Amsterdam trams back in 1908. [Tip: if you click here you can view remarkable pictures of the conservation work].
At the Foodhallen you can still see the original tracks running through. It gives the building an amazing industrial meets rugged (think: bare bricks, metal lamps) atmosphere. In 2017 – we call this look “hipster central” – and I love it. It has a relaxed, chilled, laid-back, contemporary, and artistically driven vibe, where the old is preserved and respected but the new is permitted to be. My Nanaji used to say, “Not everything old is good, and not everything new is bad.” When I look at the Foodhallen, or The High Line, I see an amalgamation of the two worlds, of hope.
Secondly, everyone can eat what they want. If Bambi wants a hotdog, Apoorva wants a chicken doner, and I want my dimsum fix, the world is not going to collapse. We do not have to do boring home-delivery. We do not have to roll a dice, pick a card, or break hearts. There is peace in this world, like the old and the young, the American, the Middle-Eastern, and the Oriental can live happily ever after, in the gut at least if not in the world at large.
Thirdly, you have space, to walk, to wander, and to meander. It is not just an eating space, the Filmhallen is right next door, there are cutesy shops, local designers displaying their work, and this week the American Book Centre was having a sale to support charity projects. Bambi returned with a bag full of books, which along with the full tummy made him a very happy Bambi.
Foodhallen is a toast to community life, of a coming together of people, in the name of food, for the purpose of culture. It combines the little things we hark after in a big city, that spark of humanity, which we pray is still left in our hearts. For someone like me it is an oasis, a treat, a much-needed dose of optimism.