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Amsterdammers can keep their chips [August 30, 2012]

The Vlaams Friteshuis in the Voetboogstraat behind the Kalverstraat is said to produce some of the best chips in the city - big and fat and Belgian style. There's often a queue waiting to buy fries over the open counter - but therein lies the problem.

A few years ago the city council brought in new rules to stop fast food joints and other establishments selling directly onto the street.

It's not quite clear what their objections were, but the great and good in city hall decided a counter behind a simple shutter was not enough. The counters were to be moved inside the front wall - to create a proper space for customers to wait.

Snack bars like the Vlaams Friteshuis were allowed to carry on - but would have to make changes if the business was sold on to a new owner.

Vlaams Friteshuis owner Jan Borst has had enough after 20 years and wants to sell up. But the rules would mean the new owner would have to close outside counter. Trouble is, the property is so small, there is no room to place one inside. And that means the new owner would have to shut up shop.

Outcry in the Parool, angry letters to the council and the bright sparks at city hall have come up with a properly legal and perfect Dutch-style compromise.

All the new owner has to do is move the counter back enough centimetres to create a place where customers can stand and be technically inside the snack bar.

'The situation is legal as long as people have their feet inside when they order their chips,' D66 council executive Boudewijn Oranje told the Parool.

Make mine with ketchup.

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