I saw this nearly perfect kroket on three wheels a couple years ago while visiting an art exhibition at Museum de Paviloens in Almere with Kyoko. I didn’t realize then it was actually a fully functional croquette (“kroket” in Dutch) frying and vending vehicle. I just figured it was just a humorous art piece. I suppose that’s also the case judging from some of Tilmann’s other projects which include a fake Segway tour of a mental institution, a mall kiosk that made and sold concrete clogs, and a one man university. But we talked with Tilmann at another exhibition last week and he filled me in on the whole scoop. He’s German though and explains it all with a straight face so I’m still not 100% sure about the humor part. I might just be inadvertently insulting an artist here, something I’ve already demonstrated an aptitude for amongst righteous cyclists.
The project’s called “Buurtkroket” (means neighborhood croquette”) and to paraphrase Tilmann’s explanation…
The city council of Almere engages artists to improve the social cohesion in certain town districts. To this end Meyer-Faje developed a snack bar bike for the Stedenwijk Noord neighborhood which has no shops or restaurants. It’s a “bedroom community” which is fairly unusual in the Netherlands. The concept was to introduce mixed development to this monofunctional, planned neighborhood.
From his special bakfiets Tilmann deep-fried and served croquettes made from recipes of the local residents. Croquets are currently regarded as cheap fast food but originally they were “grandmas homemade pride” of the traditional Dutch kitchen. Every oma has (or had) her special kroket recipe.
The kroketbakfiets has spiritual roots in the street vendors’ bakfietsen of the olden days. Until about the 1960’s all kinds of goods were commonly transported and sold from special bakfietsen on the streets of Dutch cities. The milkman had a bakfiets outfitted to carry several steel milk jugs. The bread baker rode an enclosed bakfiets with various drawers and compartments while the cake and pastry baker had a fancier box with glass display windows. The fishmonger had his trike equipped with bins and a work surface for cleaning and cutting the fish. Many of these were standard models that could simply be purchased from various firms such as Huisman, Lely and Maxwell. Even the major bike manufacturers offered bakfietsen though they were sometimes built by other firms such as the Gazelles which were (at least in the 1960’s-70’s) apparently built by Apollo in Aalten. Only one classic bakfiets is still in production… the Huisman that WorkCycles sells. It’s been built continuously since the 1930’s.
Have some ideas for the future of the krokettenbakfiets? Tilmann hinted that it might be for sale, at least for the right buyer and price. You can contact him via his sites above.