General

Dutch bakeries face threat of closure due to energy crisis

Dutch bakeries are facing the threat of closure amid rising energy costs in the wake of Russia's war in Ukraine.

As the electricity and natural gas prices surge, the bakery owners are coming up with new ways to reduce their costs while continuing to work long hours every day to meet the demands of customers.

Hasan Atik, a baker in the city of Schiedam, told Anadolu Agency that the bakery business was hit hard by the energy crisis in the country.

"While the monthly energy bill was €1,800 ($1,782) before, it is now €5,400. This is a huge amount for us," he said.

Atik said he tries to save energy by reducing the production and not using the oven too much.

"We made a small change in the prices, but this is really extraordinary for the people, because even 25 or 30 cents can be too much for everyone's budget. The purchasing power of the people has decreased considerably," he said.

Atik expects urgent solution from the government and energy companies and says that otherwise many bakeries will face the threat of closure in three to five months.

Zeki Solmaz, who has been a baker for 30 years in Rotterdam, said that the energy crisis affected bakers the most.

"I am now paying (for energy bills) nearly three times more than before," he told Anadolu Agency. "While I was paying €1,600 ($1,584) per month, the monthly bill increased to €5,600 after my contract with the energy company expired.

"We don't turn on lamps when they are not needed anymore. We close the upper compartment of the oven and only operate one eye unless it is necessary," he said but added that this was not enough.

"As a family, we are trying to make a living with our savings. It has been going on like this for two months, but I don't know how far we can go on," he said.

Ineke Ruijs, an employee of a 25-year-old bakery in Schiedam, said that the bakery will close this week due to the energy crisis and shortage of staff.

The Dutch government announced on Sept. 20 that as of Jan. 1, 2023, a ceiling price will be applied to energy prices for households.

Source: Anadolu Agency