Dutch term – Gaarkeuken

A gaarkeuken is a soup kitchen, a place where poor people could go to be fed.

Gaarkeukens are best known from World War II, when the watery soup they supplied was the only food for many people in the west of the country. The Hunger Winter of 1944/1945 had left people desparately hungry. Soup kitchens remained in use for a while after the liberation, until people were able to take care of themselves again.

Nowadays, the word gaarkeuken is no longer in use, but there are voedelbanken (food banks) that supply groceries to people who cannot afford it. Unlike the gaarkeukens, the food in voedselbanken is not prepared.

Gaarkeuken in Amsterdam, 1945. Still from YouTube video, below.


This YouTube video shows a soup kitchen in Amsterdam in 1945, shortly after the liberation.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG® is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate certificate in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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