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Dutch eatery trials greenhouses for socially-distant dining

Amsterdam – An Amsterdam arts centre is to serve diners in small greenhouses so that people can go out to eat again despite social distancing rules brought in due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The concept is currently being trialed only for family and friends of staff from the ETEN restaurant, which is part of the Mediamatic arts centre, as it waits for Dutch authorities to reopen restaurants that have been shut since March 16 because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Corona now forces us to rethink how we can do hospitality,” said the centre’s director Willem Velthoven.

“We used to already have these little greenhouses here for art projects. We thought ‘Okay, let’s try what happens if we sit in these small places, does it feel good and can we serve in a safe way’, and it goes quite well actually.” 

Sitting next to a canal, the five small glass booths each have a little round table and two chairs – perfect for people who may want to go out once eating establishments reopen but don’t feel comfortable going back immediately to crowded restaurants.


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“Being together in large groups will probably be out of fashion for a while but still coming in a social situation and really enjoying things together is something that we long for even more,” said Velthoven.

Waiters hand in the food from outside the greenhouse and wear protective gear in front of their faces to guard against any “accidental exchanges” with customers, he added.

“The greenhouses are so small that actually the serving staff wouldn’t even fit inside.” - AFP/REUTERS

Food & Drink