During the oliebollen season, there are about seventeen hundred stalls in the Netherlands that sell the fatty delicacy. Now there are even a little more, because fairground operators – the largest group among the oliebollen bakers – do not attend events abroad, but sell bulbs here. The cuttings are therefore scarce, says chairman Atze Lubach of the Association of Fairground Farmers (BOVAK). And whoever has a nice spot holds on to it.
“Here and there, stalls are now standing like a deserted island in the empty shopping street or at the closed garden center, but the entrepreneurs are not relocating, because the customers know where to find them at their place”, Lubach says on Wednesday. There are also so-called A locations in the world of the oliebollen stalls. “Where there has been a permanent stand for many years and it is never going away there.”
It is therefore a good idea to find a place for those who want to start an oliebollen stand and that is more people this year than other years. According to the Chamber of Commerce (KVK), the number of registered companies of oliebollen bakers has grown by more than 10 percent in the past five years. Lubach: “There are now also fairground operators who normally attend foreign events at this time of the year, but they are of course canceled.”
So they too now throw themselves on the oliebol in their own country. “A stall can still be arranged because many winter events where food and drinks are also sold are canceled. Those stalls and chalets are now used for the oliebollen sales.” The sellers must be inventive. “Sometimes they set up the booth on their own property and organize a drive-in”, Lubach says.
Stock up on oliebollen the day before to avoid crowds
Because the streets are empty, the turnover of the oliebollen bakers has been somewhat lower in recent weeks, estimates the foreman of the fairground operators. “On the other hand, we were allowed to stand with the stalls a month earlier, from October 1, and we can stay a month longer in many places, until the end of January.”
The donuts bakers or fairground operators can use all the extra income well. “Of course, most of the fairs were canceled this year and for next year everything is still uncertain. So we are glad that we can stand longer with the oliebollen.” It goes without saying that December 31 is the top day for the oliebollen sales. “Some bakers don’t sleep and bake all night long.”
The expectation is that this year, more than usual, oliebollen will be stored on December 30. “Because people want to avoid the hustle and bustle of New Year’s Eve”, Lubach thinks. According to the chairman, the oliebollen bakers do not ring in the new year with a fat ball. “The stalls close at 6 p.m., then there is still cleaning, at midnight we go to sleep.”