The Bastei Neighbourhood Super
The Nijmegen countryside as a supermarket
In the surrounding countryside, Nijmegen used to have great diversity where many varieties of food could be found. You could get fish from the river Waal, hazelnuts from the forests on the hills, and geese from the river forelands. Yet we are seeing a turnaround since cities were expanded and we have started to produce our own food: the richness and diversity of the landscape changed, which also impacted the food supply.
The exhibition entitled De Bastei Buurtsuper (The Bastei Neighbourhood Super) brings food production in the Nijmegen area to life. The visitor to this supermarket takes a basket and gathers ingredients for a delicious meal. Once the items are brought together, the visitor goes to the tables, where the stories of the products are told within the context of five time periods. You ultimately learn about the different ways that humans caught, gathered, bred, planted and cultivated food through the centuries, and how this affected the landscape.
Are we having marinated otter steaks tonight, or einkorn pancakes? The visitor chooses a recipe at the start of the exhibition, and then enters the supermarket.
The recipe ingredients to be gathered are spread out over four sections of the supermarket, each one representing a biotope. As you’re gathering your items, you learn about the qualities and developments of these four countryside zones through the ages, and how these have influenced our food supply.
By scanning through the supermarket items, each of which represents a period of time, you learn about the history of that particular tasty morsel and the part of the countryside where it originated.
Each table has a hands-on activity for the food that people consumed during that era. You can play with a Roman dice and learn more about the food that the Romans brought to Nijmegen, for example. Or try to guess which ingredient from modern history you’re playing against in ‘Who Is It?’
Although the historic food-producing areas of the countryside around Nijmegen have disappeared over the years, we are currently seeing a turnaround: many new and sustainable food initiatives that are inspired by the (food) past of Nijmegen. At the end of the exhibition, visitors are asked to put down their shopping basket at the initiative which makes them feel the most enthusiastic.