Michiel de Haan


On the corner of the Loosduinsekade and the Volendamlaan you will find Vermolen’s Snackcar. For forty years you can go there for fries, snacks and in the autumn also for oliebollen. Fred Steenwijk (48) has been in the cart. And there is news: “We are now building a new snack kiosk.”

Fred has been in years in Vermolen’s Snackcar. In 2002 he took over the business from her parents together with his wife Rilana. “As a young man I never thought I would have my own snack bar,” says Fred. “I was trained as a car mechanic and I used to work with cars. Then I met Rilana. She has been in the snack car from an early age. When her father wanted to retire, he asked us to take over the business. I first worked in his business for a year to see if it suits me. I’ve been here ever since.”

For forty years

Rilana’s father placed his snack car on the Loosduinsekade forty years ago and the cart never left after that. “My father-in-law comes from a fairground family and was at the fair with slot machines,” says Fred. “In 1024 that didn’t go well anymore, so he went looking for something else. Then he bought the snack car. We recently dismantled the snack car for our new building. Over the years, everything has been built on it, such as a kitchen and an awning. But, inside was still a real cart with a wheeled base.”

A new kiosk

On Fred and Rilana now have a new kiosk built from stone and wood at the place of the snack car. For fries and snacks, their customers can now go to the oliebollen stall that they have temporarily converted into a snack car. “The oliebollen stand contains everything we need to bake and sell snacks. This way we can stay open while the stall is being renovated.”

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Vermolen’s snack car just before demolition. Photo: Fred Steenwijk

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The customers

Fred thinks the best thing about working in the snack car is the customers he meets. “We are here on the Loosduinsekade between several districts. My clients are a reflection of society as a whole in The Hague. We have regular customers from the area, but people who are waiting for the tram also often come to get fries. The fries are our best-selling snack after all. In addition, many customers come for our homemade peanut sauce. That’s a family recipe from my father-in-law that we still use.”

The Future

Calling Fred and Rilana their company is now Fred Steenwijk and Co., because their two teenage sons and teenage daughter also help in the business. “Whether they will ever take over the kiosk, I don’t know yet,” says Fred. “It is especially important that they choose their own path and finish school. With my new kiosk we can move forward ourselves. I will stay here for at least another ten years so that we can celebrate our fiftieth anniversary.”

On the fourth floor of the Central Library at the Spui you will find up to 070 June the photo exhibition Queer Migrations: Portraits from The Hague. These are nine portraits of people from the LGBTIQ+ community who have moved to The Hague. We talked about it with photographer Zanyar Aziz and with Marnix who is on one of the portraits.

The photo exhibition is an initiative of the LGBTQ Humans of Amsterdam foundation. With this, the foundation wants to give attention to people from the LGBTIQ+ community who migrate to The Hague. For this they were looking for a photographer who knows this theme inside out. “This topic is perfect for me,” says Zanyar. “My parents fled from Iraq to the Netherlands and I am queer myself.”

“When I started this assignment, I first had to look for people to portray. I was looking for people from diverse cultural backgrounds and from the different letters of the LGBTIQ+ community. To this end, I made an appeal on social media and contacted LGBTIQ+ organizations in The Hague. That’s how I found Marnix.”

The story of Marnix

“Zanyar asked me if I wanted to share the call in our app group, but it suits me so well that I also reported myself,” says Marnix. “I was born in Colombia, but adopted as a child together with my two brothers by a Catholic family in the Netherlands. In recent years I have been looking for my roots. As a result, I discovered that I also had to deal with a lot of prejudice at home. For example, I tan quickly in the summer. Then my adoptive mother said: nice tan, smear that on me too.”

“Furthermore, as a child I was never allowed to be who I was”, Marnix continues. “I was not allowed to play football and I had to be a girly girl with dresses on. I have been in transition to a man for a year and a half and have broken off contact with my adoptive parents. I don’t even want to use the last name I got from them anymore. My two brothers are now my family here.”

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The portrait of Marnix Foto : Zanyar Aziz

Important places and moments

As with Marnix, Zanyar tries to tell a story with every portrait in the photo exhibition. “I started as a photographer during the corona pandemic,” says Zanyar. “Besides writing, it is a way for me to tell stories. I don’t photograph people in a studio but outside, because the environment gives context to a photo. I also first talk to someone to get to know them.”

“I did that for this series of photos,” explains Zanyar. “I wanted to photograph people in places or moments that are important to them. For example, I photographed one of the sitter, Kick, at his birthday party where he announced his new name. I photographed Marnix at the Hang-Out 600. This is an organization for people from the LGBTIQ+ community with a bi-cultural background.”

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In front of the camera

“ The people in the Hang-Out are my chosen family”, Marnix adds. “It was very special to be photographed there. I film a lot myself, so I prefer to be behind the camera. But, Zanyar is a very fine photographer. It is special to have such a good picture of this moment in my life and my transition. I think it’s an exciting idea that that photo is now hanging in the library, but it’s also great that I can give visibility to people like me with this.”


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