When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you’re visiting the Dutch Capital, don’t skip the Febo in Amsterdam, the iconic Dutch snack bar. It’s a quintessential part of the Dutch experience, offering a unique glimpse into the Netherlands’ love affair with delicious, quick bites. Join me in discovering why Febo is more than just food; it’s a cultural phenomenon.”
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Table of Contents
History of FEBO
In the heart of Amsterdam, a fast-food revolution began with the inception of FEBO, a brand that has become synonymous with Dutch snack culture.
I will take you through the pivotal moments of this iconic eatery, from its roots in Ferdinand Bolstraat to the dynamic period led by Johan de Borst.
Ferdinand Bolstraat Origins
Febo’s journey originated in the hustle and bustle of Ferdinand Bolstraat, hence its name—an homage to its founder’s formative years learning his craft in this vibrant Amsterdam street.
Though not located at Ferdinand Bolstraat, the lasting imprint of these beginnings can still be felt in every croquette. For more details on FEBO’s unique name origin, feast your eyes here.
Johan de Borst Era
Under the stewardship of Johan Izaäk de Borst, FEBO transitioned from a traditional bakery to an innovative automat concept in the 1960s, catapulting it into the annals of Dutch culinary history.
Johan’s era was marked by the introduction of the beloved snack wall, where fresh, authentic Dutch treats are made available daily. This marked a significant pivot, preserving the heart of Dutch food culture within the convenience of a fast-food setting.
Discover more about the transformation during the Johan de Borst Era here.
In my (too) many visits to the snack bar, They sell everything I would call a staple of the Dutch fast-food scene.
Below are some of the culinary highlights available at FEBO, ranging from meat-based snacks to vegetarian delights.
FEBO’s kroketten are a must-try; these deep-fried rolls are filled with a savory, meat ragout. Beef kroket and chicken kroket are among the most popular choices.
Each has a crispy breadcrumb coating and a smooth, rich filling that represents Dutch comfort food at its finest.
Burgers and Frikandel
The Grill burger is a classic (and one of my favorites), featuring a seasoned beef patty often complemented with FEBO’s signature sauces, and some lettuce, pretty simple but tasty. If you would switch out the signature sauce for, let’s say, ketchup, It is just a pretty simple, not very impressive, burger in my opinion.
On the other hand, the frikandel, a seasoned minced meat sausage, is another beloved snack. It’s typically served with a dollop of mayo, adding to the indulgence. Feel free to swap it for Ketchup…or even better, with Mayo and ketchup (add some chopped onions, and its called a Frikandel Speciaal (special).
For those who prefer plant-based options, the kaassoufflé is a delightful choice. This crispy, deep-fried cheese pastry is a vegetarian favorite and provides a gooey, satisfying experience with every bite. I like it on a bun with dutch peanut sauce..
Sides and Condiments
No visit to FEBO would be complete without trying the quintessential Dutch side: French fries, or patat (pronounce: Paaah-taht)
These are often enjoyed with a variety of condiments, with mayo being the preferred choice for many. The combination of perfectly salted fries with creamy mayo is simple yet timeless. Of course, you can also just order them with Ketchup.
Another option is the speciaal (special), which consists of Ketchup, Mayo, and Chopped onions. One of my favorites is Patatje Oorlog, Which is a combination of Mayo (yes, again..), Dutch Peanut Sauce, and Chopped Onions.
The Automat concept is a culinary innovation that combines the convenience of vending machines with the enjoyment of quick-service dining.
It’s an approach where customers can see and select their food through transparent windows, emphasizing both efficiency and a novel dining experience.
How the Vending Machines Work
In my opinion, they are very straightforward to use. They are essentially coin- or card-operated vending machines with glass windows displaying various snacks.
As a customer, I need to insert an exact change or use a card to unlock the door of the snack I choose. Once payment is confirmed, it’s as simple as opening the window and retrieving my food.
The process is streamlined and user-friendly, focusing on providing service swiftly without human interaction.
Hygiene and Freshness
Each window holds, usually, a single snack, which minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Furthermore, snacks are, supposedly, frequently replenished to ensure freshness. If it’s busy, take it out of the vending machine, Otherwise, I would order at the register, and then they will make it fresh for you.
Locations and Accessibility
For anyone keen on trying a typical Dutch snacking experience, FEBO’s widespread presence in Amsterdam ensures I’m never too far from a quick bite.
Their accessible locations throughout the city cater to a broad audience, including tourists and locals alike.
FEBO in Amsterdam
I think that FEBO is a significant part of the city’s culinary landscape. Situated conveniently in areas frequented by both tourists and residents, FEBO branches span from the bustling Nieuwendijk to the vibrant vicinity of the Red Light District on Oudzijds Voorburgwal. Here’s a quick overview of some well-known FEBO locations I have come across in the capital:
- Nieuwendijk: Situated in the heart of Amsterdam, this FEBO spot is perfect for a quick stop amidst shopping.
- Red Light District: Easily accessible for those exploring one of Amsterdam’s most famous areas.
- Bos en Lommerplein: A great option in the west part of the city, offering the same menu variety.
- Javaplein: Located in the eastern part of Amsterdam, it’s a good spot for a snack after visiting local bars.
Branches Beyond the Capital
While FEBO’s heart lies in Amsterdam, I’ve found their branches comfortably nestled in other cities around the Netherlands.
For those venturing outside of the capital, a FEBO treat is still within reach. Places such as Purmerend, Hoorn, Hoofddorp, Amstelveen, and Haarlem all boast their own FEBO outlets. Below is a brief list that highlights a few of these locations:
- Purmerend: A bustling FEBO location on the Purmerend high street.
- Hoorn: Easily accessible, ensuring that the delicious croquette isn’t a mere privilege of the capital. If you enter Hoorn by train, There is one way (Veemarkt) that goes directly to the city center, where the street ends and the shopping center begins, thats where the FEBO welcomes you, can’t miss it.
- Hoofddorp: Offering convenience for those in the suburban town close to Schiphol Airport.
- Amstelveen: A suburban alternative for a FEBO experience just outside Amsterdam.
- Haarlem: Providing the FEBO goodness in this charming city, just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam.
In each city I visit, FEBO maintains consistent quality and service, making it a reliable choice for a quick Dutch snack.
Experience at FEBO
It offers a unique fast-food experience rooted in Dutch snack culture, providing tasty options at a cheap price.
The Snacking Atmosphere
The atmosphere in FEBO is a direct reflection of Dutch pragmatism merged with a passion for good, simple food.
The concept is straightforward: a wall of vending machines, each housing a variety of hot snacks. The aroma of freshly fried croquettes and the sizzle of the deep fryer create an inviting environment that’s perfect for a quick bite.
The clientele often varies from families during the day to a livelier crowd at night, especially those seeking out comfort food after a night out.
Tips for First-Time Visitors
Plan Your Visit: Avoid peak hours if possible to sidestep the crowd. I’ve learned that mid-afternoon is a sweet spot when you can take your time choosing without haste. Dutch people do not tend to eat at Febo in the morning, that’s why most Febo Snackbars open after 10 or 11 am.
Cash or Card?: Have your card ready; while cash is accepted, card payments are swift and can save you time.
Try the Classics: Don’t miss out on the iconic kroketten — a deep-fried roll filled with meat ragout or vegetables. They are a staple of FEBO and a must-try for any visitor.
Stay Sober…Or Not: While FEBO is indeed popular among the nighttime, possibly drunk patrons, the experience is just as satisfying when you’re sober. The quality of snacks doesn’t discriminate against your state of mind.
By keeping these tips in mind and immersing yourself in the snack culture, my visits to FEBO have always been enjoyable, whether for a quick lunch or an end-of-night treat.
Tourist and Local Preferences
Tourists seem drawn to FEBO for the experience of Dutch fast food culture and the legendary status of the brand.
Locals, on the other hand, seem to appreciate FEBO for its consistency and hold onto it as a staple after nights out.
Both groups favor the automatiek format, citing the no-fuss, no-wait nature of the service, making FEBO a novel and emblematic fixture in both local and tourist dining preferences.
Specialties of FEBO
In exploring FEBO’s menu, I’ll focus on the items that define the brand: “De Lekkerste,” or “The Tastiest,” unique snack options available in their automats, and FEBO’s signature items that have become synonymous with Dutch fast food.
“De Lekkerste” at FEBO is not just a claim but a promise of quality. I’ve found that their kroketten, a crispy breadcrumb-coated roll filled with savory ragout, truly lives up to the name.
Both the beef croquette and veal croquette are standout offerings. These are the core of what makes FEBO a mainstay in the Dutch snack bar scene.
Unique Snack Options
FEBO distinguishes itself with an array of unique snack options. One of their more distinctive offerings is the Speciaaltje, a hot snack comprising a beef and chickenmeat with coriander und selery and other spices. There’s also the Bami snack, a deep-fried savory noodle patty that offers a twist on traditional Indonesian flavors.
FEBO’s Signature Items
The automat restaurant experience wouldn’t be complete without FEBO’s signature items. The Grill Burger is a stand-out, a juicy burger enhanced with a special grill sauce that provides a satisfying sizzle.
It’s a hot pick among the locals, providing robust flavors and the convenience of quick service. With such items so readily available, it’s clear why FEBO remains a favorite destination for anyone seeking a quick and delicious bite.
This is a little challenge Some people do(Mostly drunk guys..), the last part is obviously a Joke:
You have to go to the wall of snacks where you can put in a coin to receive your snack. Starting from the top left, you pick one snack and then you go to the next column and pick the next snack that is one window below the snack you have previously chosen. If done correctly you will draw a diagonal line from the top left to the bottom right, purchasing all snacks that are available in that line. This is the traditional Dutch way of ordering at FEBO and it ensures you get a balanced, healthy and varied diet.Reddit