De Leeuw Pickles history
In the year 1850 Amsterdam is a vibrant city. The city flourishes because it’s the financial heart of The Netherlands. Despite the prosperity a lot of the citizens are pour. These pour but proud Amsterdam people complain. They can’t keep their fruits and vegetables fresh for a longer period of time. This problem intrigues Isaac de Leeuw. Living close to the docks a Dutch sailor tells him how the Vikings solved this problem. They kept their fish eat-able by drying it in salt. Isaac, his family and his friends decide to try this with fruits and vegetables. They place fruits and vegetables in a barrel filled and topped off with brine. After a couple of weeks it shows that the fruits and vegetables are preserved. But the taste is horrible. Isaac starts experimenting. By coincidence he uses an old oak wine barrel, which he fills with vinegar and specially selected herbs. Using the old oak wine barrel makes that the preserved wine stored in the Oakwood blends with the vinegar and herbs. Weeks of tasting and improve follow. Then the mixture in which the fruits and vegetables have been laying is perfect. As usually Isaac picks out a gherkin, eats it and is astonished. The taste of the gherkin is so great and fresh “De Leeuw pickles” is born.
Keeping his recipe a secret, Isaac and his family start selling his pickles door to door. For this particular purpose he has bought a wheelbarrow, which he modifies to carry the heavy oak wine barrels containing his complete assortment. In no time Isaac, his family and especially “De Leeuw pickles” are very well known and even famous in the whole off Amsterdam. Next to the great taste people value the high quality of the food. The wheelbarrow of “ De Leeuw pickles” ads colour to the streets of Amsterdam when it passes with it’s pickles displayed in the old oak wine barrels. Colours that don’t go unnoticed. In 1877 a young man is living with his uncle and aunt close to where Isaac and his family live. The young man is studying but in his heart, he want’s to do something completely different. He wants to paint. His uncle already told him about the great pickles “De leeuw pickles” sells. On a given day he walks the streets and spots the wheelbarrow of “De Leeuw pickles”. Astonished by the colours he orders some pickles. The pickles taste as great his uncle has told him but the colours are unbeaten. The young painter writes this in his dairy. This young painter Vincent van Gogh would become one of the famous Dutch painters.
Nathan De Leeuw inherits the business from his farther. After the Second World War Nathan is the only surviving member of his family after the holocaust. His children Isie, Gerrit and Greta de Leeuw are forced in 1960 to stop selling door to door. Prosperity has brought cars to Amsterdam. The narrow streets are packed with cars and the traffic is to busy. The city of Amsterdam decides that it is no longer safe to sell pickles door to door with a wheelbarrow. By this time the De Leeuw family is the last family who sells the pickled pickles prepared with the same recipe as in 1850. A few families sold their recipe to a larger company. But most of the families died during the Second World War, because they where Jewish like the De Leeuw family.
Forced by the new regulations “De Leeuw pickles” opens a shop. They still use the same secret recipe as their forefather Isaac. The shop at the Vrijheidslaan in Amsterdam becomes quickly known throughout the whole of Amsterdam. Slowly but steady the brand “De Leeuw” continues growth. During the 80ies the son of Greta de Leeuw starts working within the family business as a sales manager. “De Leeuw pickles” starts to deliver to the large wholesalers in The Netherlands and Freddy drives with his car throughout The Netherlands to supply shops. Freddy Ooms does not have any niches, cousins, brothers or sisters. So Freddy is the only beneficiary of his two uncle’s and mother.
In 1990 Freddy and his wife Monique become the fourth generation De Leeuw to continue the family business. The family name only changed into Ooms. But the brand “De Leeuw pickles” keeps it’s name because it means excellent quality of pickles with superb colours and astonishing taste. The year 1990 is not only a memorable year in the history of “De Leeuw pickles” because Freddy and Monique take over the family business. 1990 in The Netherlands is the Vincent van Gogh year. Historians allied to the Van
Gogh museum visit the shop of “De Leeuw pickles”. Based on phrases of Van Gogh mentioned in his diary, such as “the colours of “ De Leeuw” inspire me” and much more of such phrases. Therefore they want to investigate the colours of certain pickles prepared by De Leeuw. After investigations they come to the conclusion that the colours Van Gogh used were indeed matching up to the colours of the pickles. Van Gogh also mentioned in his dairy that he loves the good taste of the pickles.
During the 90ties the shop of “De Leeuw pickles” becomes known in The Netherlands. Because of the Jewish inheritance the shop is also open on Sunday. On Sundays it becomes common that people from al over The Netherlands drive out to the authentic shop and buy their pickles. The shop hasn’t changed much since the 60ties so people feel the authentic atmosphere the shop has. Amsterdam loses it’s bad reputation during these years and becomes one of the financial hearts of Europe again. The famous channels of the city are packed with tourists. Close by the authentic shop there are a lot of hotels so International travelling people discover the shop. Tourists, business people, flight crews and so on become regular costumers. The remark these International travelling people more often make is. “Why don’t you export your fine and excellent pickles to country I live? Every time I get home my friends and relatives only ask if I brought “De Leeuw” pickles. If I haven’t had any time to visit your shop they expect me to return and get your pickles.” Two years ago Freddy and Monique decide to start exporting De Leeuw pickles. First they make sure that they can enlarge their production capacity without having to chance the authentic preparation process. Because the pickles only contain natural ingredients De Leeuw pickles gets the internationally accepted HHACP certification. We, De Leeuw pickles are proud to present our jarred pickles to the world.