Exploring Sustainability at Rollende Keukens: Reflections on Food, Festivities, and Future Initiatives

As summer comes close, the Netherlands comes alive with the excitement of festival season. This weekend, I went to Rollende Keukens, an annual food festival in Amsterdam, accompanied by a friend. It was a sunny day filled with culinary delights and lively entertainment, creating an atmosphere of pure enjoyment. However, what intrigued me were the noticeable changes from my previous experiences at the festival. Rollende Keukens has expanded significantly both in size since as well as in prices. Yet, amidst these transformations, there were other aspects that captured my attention.

The Abundance of Meaty Temptations

Amidst the vibrant array of culinary offerings at Rollende Keukens, one observation stood out: the prevalence of meat-centric dishes. As I navigated through the bustling stalls, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of grilled meats, succulent burgers, and sizzling sausages on display. This abundance felt somewhat contradictory to the growing societal pressure to reduce meat consumption for environmental and ethical reasons. While the festival undoubtedly celebrated the rich diversity of food culture, it also prompted reflection on the broader conversation surrounding sustainable eating habits.

The Missed Opportunity of Return Stations

Another observation caught my attention: the absence of designated return stations for reusable items like plates, cups, and glasses. The lack nudges reminding visitors to return their used items for reuse or recycling left me pondering the potential impact of such simple yet impactful initiatives, especially at an event of this magnitude. Perhaps it was a matter of my lack of knowledge, but the absence of this eco-friendly practice lingered in my mind. How come that at this very place there was no possibility to return our used cups and plates? We were allowed to take our glasses home as souvenirs, but unfortunately, the plates ended up being disposed of.

The Lack of Food Waste Awareness and Educational

The final observation, I probably noted as a professional working in sustainable food systems. I observed the diverse audience at Rollende Keukens, spanning generations and cultures. Organizing an event that resonates with such a diverse community is challenging, and Rollende Keukens succeeded admirably in this regard. The richness of this cultural tapestry underscored the festival’s potential as a platform for raising awareness about critical issues such as sustainability. Therefore, the returning question popping up in my mind was why this wonderful opportunity to spark conversations and inspire change was not used to its fullest extent?


My experience at Rollende Keukens was a delightful blend of culinary exploration and cultural immersion, underscored by moments of reflection on sustainability. As the festival continues to grow in size and popularity, it presents an incredible opportunity to not only celebrate food and culture but also to address pressing environmental and ethical concerns. This can be achieved by actively involving stakeholders dedicated to promoting sustainability standards and practices. By collaborating with organisations committed to sustainable food systems, festivals like Rollende Keukens can lead by example and inspire positive change within their communities and beyond.

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