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  • Writer's pictureVeronika Bajnoková

Dairy Store Teases the Municipality With “We Love Gemeente Groningen” Sign

Updated: Feb 2

A dairy store in the city centre displayed a witty sign in response to the municipality of Groningen removing their advertisement. “We wanted to be creative and think outside of the box,” says Bart Klapwijk who works in the family business.

The cargo bike placed outside Zuivelhoeve store at Akerkhof says “We love the municipality of Groningen” © Veronika Bajnoková

Zuivelhoeve is a well-known brand of Dutch dairy products with a tradition of more than 40 years and almost 85 stores throughout the entire country. The store at Akerkhof in Groningen opened in November of last year, and since then advertised its business with a poster attached to a cargo bike placed in front of the shop.

The sign had to be removed last Friday after municipality officials came to confront the owner of the store, Anton Klapwijk. The regulations of the municipality explicitly ban billboards and other types of advertisements on the streets of the shopping area of the city centre.

The bike displaying the poster is located on a street where advertisements are banned © Veronika Bajnoková

“The municipality said to us it’s not possible to put your bike there with ads, so we thought okay, shit. Let’s make a fun story about it then,” says Bart, the store owner’s son. The ad on the bike was swiftly replaced with a sign that reads “We love the municipality of Groningen.”

Bart has been working at Zuivelhoeve with his dad and mom for a couple of years now, before the opening of the branch at Akerkhof. “My mom thought that we could joke about this situation and that way start a conversation with the municipality,” explains Bart.

Storefront of Zuivelhoeve at Akerkhof © Veronika Bajnoková

The local broadcaster OOG TV received a statement from the municipality last Friday relating to the Zuivelhoeve sign: “The entrepreneur's building is located in the core shopping area and no displays and advertising on the street are permitted there. The same rules apply to cargo bikes fitted with advertising signs.”

The municipality further clarified, as reported by the OOG TV that the retailer subsequently agreed to remove the sign after careful consultation. The same rules apply to all entrepreneurs in the core shopping area, and no exceptions can be made.

“We want the municipality to think outside of the box because the rules are strict,” explains Bart.  He hopes changes in the policy could be made: “Maybe in the future, all shops will be allowed to put up their advertisements.”

Zuivelhoeve sells traditional Dutch dairy products such as cheese but also nuts among other types of snacks © Veronika Bajnoková

The municipality has not responded so far to the new sign on Akerkhof. But Bart thinks the sign has a positive effect on the business: “Lots of talks are going on about it, especially online. And that’s good, that’s exactly what our goal was,” he told The Groninger. “Now it’s just a cool story but I hope the rules can be changed in the future.”

The municipality of Groningen has not responded to attempts by The Groninger to seek comment.

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