Can deposit in Holland soon Why Germans empty this supermarket just across the border
Heinsberg district · A few metres beyond the city limits of Wassenberg, on Dutch territory, lies the Rothenbach supermarket. The car park in front of the shop is very busy on this Friday morning. But there are only a few Dutch number plates.
Most customers cross the border by car from Germany - and not only from the neighbouring district of Heinsberg, but also from Viersen, Neuss and even Düsseldorf. However, this is nothing unusual, says Lars Strikers, who runs the Rothenbach supermarket with his brother Björn. "We are not a classic supermarket. In border trade, customers don't come as often, but they buy more. And they usually come for very specific products," he adds.
This is also evident in the car park. The obvious product of desire: beverage cans. Almost every car driver heaves pallets of soft drinks or beer into his vehicle. A woman toils, pushing a shopping trolley full of beverage pallets and dragging another one behind her. The reason why so many people are currently stockpiling drinks from across the border is the can deposit that will be introduced in the Netherlands on 1 April. In future, a deposit of 15 cents will be charged on every beverage can.
Can deposit law from 1 April: no need to buy stocks
But just because this law will come into force on 1 April, such stockpiling as is currently taking place daily at Rothenbach is not necessary at all, as Lars Strikers emphasises. "We are allowed to sell the deposit-free cans we have in stock beyond April," he says. Only then are deposit cans ordered and finally sold to the customers. However, this information has apparently not yet reached some of the customers, as conversations in the supermarket show. They say they'd rather take an extra pallet because the deposit will be due in April.
Lars Strikers and his brother Björn don't care when the cans are bought. They have prepared themselves to delay the end of the deposit-free can. Not only the warehouses at the supermarket itself and in a hall across the street, but also in other towns are filled to the top. He expects stocks to last until autumn, says Lars Strikers.
Deposit on cans in the Netherlands: Supermarket expects loss of shoppers
He can understand the government's move, he says. "Of course we earn from the trade. But I also often see the cans lying in nature. It is certainly better for the environment," he emphasises. The can deposit will also have an impact on his supermarket. Also because it will be a closed system and Dutch cans can only be returned in the Netherlands, Strikers expects a loss of customers. He would have liked to see a uniform system with neighbouring countries.
Social media is very important for the border market. On the Facebook page, the market informs about offers, but also about the innovations with the can deposit. And every now and then, photos are shown of the packed boots of German cars that have bought as many beverage cans as they can fit. The purchase of Alexander Knorren from Wassenberg did not make it onto the page. He comes regularly for coffee and drinks, he says. And he, too, can understand why the move towards deposits is being made.
The Rothenbach supermarket is also so popular with many German customers because of its rural location, Strikers says. Many combine their shopping with a hike in the Meinweg National Park. Unfortunately, some of the deposit-free cans end up there. But Strikers does not want to mourn the decision. Border trade thrives on change. The brothers will find new ways to attract German customers.
(Original text: Marvin Wibbeke / Translation: Mareike Graepel)