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5 Ideas For The Empty V&D Locations Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Culture, Dutch Vocabulary, News

Earlier this week, I explained what happened to V&D and how the company went bankrupt. A real shame, and maybe it is a bit early to think about this, but every day these buildings are closed and unused is a day of opportunity lost in many city centers in the Netherlands, so let’s check what can be done with all this empty space!

The Dutch warehouse V&D is bankrupt. The more than 100 years-old department store tried to stay alive with capital infusions from investors, but on Tuesday it became clear: those infusions won’t come. No deal. And so, a Dutch classic, comparable to Hema, is gone. Apart from the nostalgic tragedy and the many employees that are now on without a job, there are also 62 empty properties in city centers. And V&D warehouses are big, so the freed space, especially in the crammed and full centers of Dutch cities, is very valuable and opens up opportunities. What will come here next?

1. A “Foodhall”

Markthal Rotterdam (market hall Rotterdam), the new Rotterdam Foodhall.

Markthal Rotterdam (market hall Rotterdam), the new Rotterdam Foodhall.

An increasingly popular setup in the Netherlands is a “Foodhall”. This is a  indoor market, where you can get fresh food and drinks, produce and more. Basically a fancy supermarket.

They have already proven to be a huge success in Amsterdam. Rotterdam’s huge arch-shaped Foodhall has also fared extremely well. I was there, and I must say, it is worth a visit. There is a lot to discover with all the little shops and stands, and the fact that it is indoors gives it a bit of a modern atmosphere.

Putting something this popular in a city center… Not a bad idea! What do you think?

2. A Night Club

Also popular in the Netherlands, especially among the young, are night clubs. To have a big night club in the middle of a city center can be a huge attraction, also for other events than a club night. Fedde Le Grand, one of the most popular DJs of the Netherlands, recently started GRAND, a new kind of show that combines his dance music with a theatrical show (see video above). It became a very successful concept. He brought GRAND to theater Carré, but also to the Ziggo Dome. So as crazy as the idea initially sounds, a night club could be a great idea. Your opinion?

3. Hudson’s Bay stores

Logo of Hudson’s Bay. (Image by Michael at Flickr.com under license CC BY 2.0)

The Canadian department store chain has shown an interest in the Dutch market. The Canadian multinational already bought up Kaufhof, a large German chain in the sector. Now with V&D gone, it might take on 40 locations to bring in their own Hudson’s Bay formula. Will it work? I don’t know Hudson’s Bay, but the Dutch are curious. They would take a look, especially in the middle of a city center. They will buy stuff, but do we need another department store? The V&D example shows quite the opposite. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. Do you know Hudson’s Bay? What do you think?

4. Apartments for refugees

Refugees (Image by at Flickr.com under license CC BY SA 2.0)

The refugee crisis has kept the European Union under pressure, including the Netherlands. We have covered that as well here on the blog. The AZCs (Asielzoekerscentra are the centers where asylum-seekers live for the time that they don’t have a verblijfsvergunning (residence permit). When they get such a vergunning, they need to find a place to live. And that is another problem: where to find so much housing? It is quite a problem right now. 62 free, gigantic spaces are ideal for a large number of apartments for exactly this purpose. It would not be anything entertaining, but it would solve a big problem.

5. There is still hope…

There might still be a possibility that V&D will have a doorstart (relaunch), if out of the blue an investor wants to bring in money, or if a deal can be brokered with the current interested investors. Is this likely? No. Can you hope for it? Sure!


Some related vocabulary:

stadcentrum – city center

faillissement – bankruptcy

leegstand – vacancy (of buildings)

nieuwe ideeën – new ideas

creatief – creative

architectuur – architecture

winkelen – shopping

markt – market

winkel – store, shop

magazijn – magazine, warehouse, store, storeroom

huurwoning – rented housing, rented apartment

appartement – apartment

vluchteling – refugee


What do you think a Dutch city center needs? What would you like to see in a city center?


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Sofia:

    Your idea regarding creating food halls and HoReCa related destinations in empty V&D locations is great and fresh
    Look what they did in states with Barnes & Noble’s former flagship location in NY – food market and restaurants


    Thanks for the great blog and interesting content