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The Zuiderzeemuseum

A cup of coffee, a sandwich 0r a serving of fries: these are a couple of things that you can get at the restaurant in the Zuiderzeemuseum, an open air museum in Enkhuizen. The restaurant is surrounded by old and authentic small houses where volunteers are busy to maintain the trades and crafts from long ago. Foodcurators is asked by the Zuiderzeemuseum to create a new interpretation of the restaurant and to make sure that the menu connects with the context of the museum. The restaurant is a challenging venue where the story and the crafts of the Zuiderzee area can be placed in a modern day context.

Schetsen_zuiderzeemuseum.jogThe Zuiderzeemuseum is a cultural historical museum in Enkhuizen where they present the culture and maritime history of the former Zuiderzee. The museum has two parts: the indoor part, which is open throughout the year and presents changing exhibitions with objects from the rich collection of the museum. The outdoor part, only open between March and October, shows authentic buildings from the Zuiderzee area, like a church, a fish smokehouse, shops and fishermen’s houses. The employees and volunteers display historical crafts, so visitors can learn about the craftmanship that was the standard in the 19th century. In the outdoor museum there are also a couple of presentations that give a modern interpretationf of traditional techniques and materials. For instance, The Flax Project of designer Christien Meindertsma.

The museum collaborates with a lot of contemporary designers to shine a different light on the museum’s collection. Previous collaborations were with Studio Makkink & Bey, Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters, Studio Job and designer Richard Hutten.

The Zuiderzeemuseum keeps old crafts alive. The question from the Zuiderzeemuseum for Foodcurators is very concrete: create a new meaning for the restaurant of the outdoor museum, in which the restaurant connects better to the context of the museum. Deeper lays the question for Foodcurators to create a vision about the relations between crafts and industry.

During our first visit to the museum we noticed that the crafts of the Zuiderzee still have a value, but lost their purpose and necessity in the present. Dedicated volunteers try to preserve the knowledge and skills, but the production is not connected to contemporary consumption or use. By linking crafts to the museum restaurant there occurs a necessity to produce goods. With this design we want the give a vision on how industry and crafts can be merged.

In our research we focussed on the cuisine of the Zuiderzee area. In the 19th and beginning of the 20th century this meant sweet and savory porridges, cabbage and potato mash and of course fish. These dishes still appear on the dinner table, but to make it more interesting, we improved them right into the 21st century. We also developed a couple of toppings that can be used to give contemporary dishes a typical Zuiderzee taste.

A big part of our research was dedicated to the potato. The potato and the Zuiderzee region are inseparable. In 1932 the Zuiderzee was closed with a dam for two important reasons. The first reason was to protect the towns against flooding. The second reason was to create a more stabile food supply for the Netherlands. The inclosed parts (polders) – the Noord-Oostpolder and Flevoland – are used for agriculture, of which a big part is used to cultivate potatoes.

The potato is one of the cornerstones of Dutch cuisine, but the last few years the potato lost its shine to the likes of pasta and quinoa. This is really a shame, because there are so many ways to prepare and use the potato. In the museum restaurant we want to present the potato in a different light.