Travelling back to my hometown this weekend. Had to change trains half-way so I grabbed a coffee muffin meal deal from one my favorite Dutch stores: Hema.
One of the characteristics of Dutchness is not liking to spend money. So when we spend money we like to minimise the money we spent. This does not mean that we always buy low quality stuff. It means that if we buy something with quality X we want to buy the cheapest product with quality X. In addition, we take considerable pride in buying things cheaply. No dinner party is complete without the host saying something like: I got this object from store A but store B sold it at twice the price!
Out of this Dutch characteristic the company Hema was born. It originally started as something like a dimestore selling the cheapest possible products. But over time it developed its own design and style. Prices increased but it is still pretty cheap if you want a bit more than just basic stuff. In addition, they also have restaurants where you already can get dinner for under 5 euro ( which is really cheap for Dutch standards).
And what's the most iconic product from Hema? It is not muffins, or the coffees, or the Dutch waffles or any home product. It is a brown smoked sausage. It was introduced into the store in the most Dutch way possible. In 1936 a manager at one of the stores had ordered too many packaged sausages. He couldn't get rid of them so he decided to serve and sell them as snacks. Apparently, it became a popular things. And here we are in 2018 with Hema still selling those smoked sausages.