Imagine strolling through the streets of the historic harbour town of Medemblik. While you admire the beautiful old facades, your senses suddenly run wild. You are enchanted by the smell of warm, fresh sandwiches and other delicacies. Without thinking, you follow your nose and find yourself standing in front of the building 'Bakkerijmuseum Oude Bakkerij.' As soon as you open the door, you go back about sixty years in time. You are standing in the middle of an authentic, old-fashioned sweet shop and you gaze around in wonder. On the counter are the most delicious chocolates and sweets in all the colours of the rainbow, which you haven’t seen for a long time.
Your mouth begins to water at the sight of so many goodies. As you walk a bit further, you wander even more back in time into the history of life in the bakery. "Put your hands behind your back, or you’ll get a clip round the ear!", Theo Spil laughs. You have to be a bit strict here, as 40% of the visitors are children.
In 1985, Theo and Ans Spil opened the Bakery Museum in a small building. Ans's father had left her a large collection of bakery items. They moved to larger premises four years later. During the nineteenth century, there was a bakery in the Nieuwstraat. Rumour has it that a fire broke out and that the baker's wife ran out of the bakery in panic, jumped into the canal and drowned. In the twenty-first century, this old and largest Bakery Museum in the Netherlands now stands on the same spot.
Theo bakes cookies with children, while he talks about the past. As the icing on the cake, the children are allowed to decorate their homemade cookies with marzipan. The smell of the fresh dough reminds you of the past. The days when your mother baked delicious apple pies and you secretly ate the dough. "Do you want to taste the dough?" Theo asks. Yes of course, you don’t want to be deprived of that opportunity. With the delicious taste of the dough in your mouth, you continue exploring the museum.
You are amazed at the large amount of art displayed on the wall. Each object is related to the baker and his craft.
The stories behind the bakery items in the museum are explained individually, so that you know exactly what each item is for. Workshops are also given here. From cocoa painting and sugar drawing to simply baking your own bread. The enthusiastic reactions to the museum are the motivation for the Spil family and their eighty-five volunteers.
Theo and Ans' son, Jacco, has been working in the Bakery Museum since he was young and feels like a fish in water here. When he was thirteen years old and his sisters were helping in the shop in their costumes, he felt a bit embarrassed. Fortunately, he managed to get away with it and was allowed to wear his own clothes in the shop.
Jacco attended art school and taught himself the art of painting with cocoa. Jacco's grandfather also made cocoa paintings. This is a special addition to the museum. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Jacco likes to make cocoa paintings from existing photos. And he likes a bit of drama. So not just a superficial picture, but a picture with a story behind it. He says that emotions are a great impetus for being creative.
These paintings do need to be kept up to date, because cocoa paintings are perishable. At some point, they have to be thrown away. Cocoa eventually crystallises, which causes a white deposit. Jacco: “When I’m no longer here, this won’t be either. I’ll take it to my grave.”
You say farewell to the Bakery Museum with a satisfied feeling. You step outside and into the present. On your way to the next unique location in this beautiful region West Friesland.