Across the country, the number of cheese shops has increased from 475 in 2007 to 605 in 2017. The past few years in particular have seen a rapidly rising number of new cheesemongers. On balance, 80 cheese shops have been added since 2014. This means there is now 1 cheese shop for every approximately 28 thousand inhabitants; Amsterdam has a ratio of 1 per 15 thousand. The capital attracts relatively many tourists, who like to take home cheese as a souvenir.
Zuid-Holland leading in cheese shops
The biggest increase in number of cheese shops is seen in the province of Noord-Holland: from 85 in 2007 to 130 in 2017, mainly due to the boom in Amsterdam. However, the province of Zuid-Holland continues to boast the highest number of cheesemongers, although it has remained the same: 135 on balance. The provinces of Limburg and Zeeland also did not record any growth. Amsterdam currently has two and a half times more cheese shops than Rotterdam and The Hague, where the number has not increased.
The 605 Dutch cheese shops together employ over 1,400 people versus almost 1,300 a decade ago, i.e. an increase of over 10 percent. The number of people working at Amsterdam cheese shops has risen from fewer than 100 to around 200 over a ten-year period.
On average, cheese shops employ around 2.5 persons, compared to slightly under 3 employees in 2007. With a workforce of 5 to 9 persons many new cheese shops in Amsterdam are relatively large. The average number of employees at an Amsterdam shop has gone up from slightly under 3 in 2007 to over 3.5 in 2017.
Specialist food shops have developed in different ways since 2007. Whereas some shops have lost out competitively to supermarkets, others are gaining ground. In addition to cheesemongers there are also more fishmongers, organic food and foreign food shops in 2017 compared to a decade ago.
The current number of fishmongers is up by nearly 35% compared to 2007; organic food shops and foreign food shops recorded an increase of around 18 percent. On the other hand, the number of greengrocer’s shops has declined by nearly 30 percent while the number of butchers and poulterers is down by nearly 19 percent and 12 percent respectively.