ProefPark Haarlem

Interview ProefPark Haarlem: We want a culinary revolution

Most Haarlem Foodies know that ProefPark Haarlem is coming up, but do you know the ins and outs of the event? Read about them in Haarlem Foodies’ interview with the man behind ProefPark Haarlem, Sjors van Wezel.

The weather is nice, a beautiful location has been chosen, and in a couple weeks it’s time for ProefPark Haarlem. Sjors, tell us: How did this all begin?

At Kenaupark and Queen’s Day. I am crazy about this place. The park was for some 30 years not (really) used as an event location. Really a shame I thought… I thought that something big has to come here. It was 2013, then Queen Beatrix declared that she would abstain from her throne, and so we would go and celebrate our last Queen’s Day. Where else than in this magnificent park? The location is just perfect, a nice open area surrounded by nice houses that offer shelter and it’s close to the station. With a lot of lobbying for permits at the Gremeente Haarlem, we were able to celebrate Queen’s Day here.

After a great Queen’s Day celebration, there had to be a sequel. In Amsterdam there was already a concept called “Rollende Keukens” which is a gathering of food trucks from the whole country. We (the other initiator Wijbrand Burma and I) were really enthusiastic about it and really wanted a similar concept in Haarlem.

What did you want to achieve with ProefPark Haarlem?

The goal was to bring together different kinds of food, recipes, and people in Haarlem. We wanted to do this in the late summer just after the going back to work and school to enjoy together.

And how did it go?

Great for the first edition: 15,000 visitors even though it was three days of stormy weather. Last year was even better: 20,000 visitors with one day of bad weather. I hope to get 25,000 visitors this year.

ProefPark Haarlem

ProefPark Haarlem

What makes ProefPark Haarlem different than other food festivals?

We are not equivalent to Haarlem Culinair or Rollende Keukens, we want to have our own concept. Haarlem Culinair works a lot more with business owners in the city. Since there are not 30 food trucks riding around Haarlem, that makes it a bit difficult.

Rollende Keukens is getting even bigger with 130 food trucks and 150,000 visitors. It’s getting more chaotic, there is a disharmony with all kinds of music playing at the same time. Mostly, it’s young hipsters walking around.

ProefPark Haarlem is totally about the character of the food. There is also music from our FooDieJays but it is not predominant. Don’t expect a pounding house party but a good gathering with food and a relaxing atmosphere being the most important things. A lot of families come to ProefPark Haarlem. Expats as well as Haarlemers together form a whole coming together to see how nice our city is and what it has to offer. ProefPark Haarlem gets a mix of different people and we love it. Everyone is welcome at ProefPark Haarlem.

The main ingredient at ProefPark Haarlem is still the food trucks. That is classic cars, regular cars, buses, catering campers, and bakfietsen where the kitchen is built and where the street food is sold. We are proud of the diversity in our selection. All world cuisines are represented in the lineup for this year. From South American to Italian and from a dried Haarlem sausage, via organic poffertjes to a goose bitterbals. People can enjoy separate dishes during ProefPark Haarlem. Made with pasion: all of the food trucks are run by people that have a passion for food and are proud of the product that they sell. This makes it a special experience.

So food trucks, but is there more for the Haarlem Foodie to find?: there are demo kitchens with (kids) cook experience, different cooking battles, and kids can brew their own energy drink in the “Frisabriek!” We also have for the first time an Instagram game: all pictures with #ProefParkhaarlem will be printed out. Everyone can order the pictures later so that they can later enjoy the nice moments experienced at ProefPark Haarlem.

We want to start a culinary revolution.

Can you give us any hints about what is to come at ProefPark Haarlem 2016?

My dream for next year or for sometime: little theaters everywhere in the park so that you are entertained while you wait.


I feel love for this park, also for Haarlem?

Of course! I am from Nijmegen, am an adopted Haarlemer and I want to stay here. This is my city now!

I want to know more about you, Haarlem and Food… The nice place in Haarlem?

Retorical question 😉

What would you miss the most about Haarlem if you would live out of the country?

Parksessie, a great Haarlem event.

Your favorite food/drink place in Haarlem?

De Oerkap


Nieuwe Koningin

Cooking Store?

De Huismuis. Fantastically good and nice stuff.

Place to buy food?

The market on Saturday, Grote Markt and Botermarkt.

Food Store?

I like to buy meat the best at I like to shop at Mabrouk but they have become really popular and I don’t always have the time to stand in the long line.


Ceviche, Peruvian style

What else do you like?

Haarlem Foodies! They are doing great! and you guys too of course 😉


And I have a surprise for your readers: the two winners from the expatsHaarlem/Haarlem Foodies/Haarlem Photo Club Food Photo Contest get the one and only ProefPark Haarlem picnic blanket from us as a gift.

Also participants of the expatsHaarlem Monthly Drink at ProefPark Haarlem will grab the chance to win a ProefPark Haarlem picnic blanket from us as a gift.

Plus, last but not least, have the expatsHaarlem August Mothly Drink at ProefPark Haarlem and your members will get one free drink from us as a gift. Read more about the conditions and sign up here.

And finally…

See you on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of August in Kenaupark in Haarlem.

We from expatsHaarlem will be there for sure!

ProefPark Haarlem