De Kas is a large restaurant and nursery located in a former greenhouse on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Back in 1926 the greenhouse was built to house Amsterdam’s municipal nurseries. All of the plants and flowers used for Amsterdam’s municipal plantings were grown on these grounds and in greenhouse. Over the decades, the nurseries were shut down and the buildings and greenhouse became dilapidated. About 10 years ago the greenhouse was scheduled for demolition, but chef Gert Jan Hageman saw the building and decided it would be perfect for a restaurant and vegetable garden. Hageman approached the city with the proposal and ended up buying it for just 1 Euro, which he renovated it completely into the restaurant it is today.
Located inside the Frankendael Park, the 8 meter high greenhouse restaurant stands out as a majestic building. The dining room is spacious and beautifully lit trees intersperse the tables. Every seat has a clear view of the garden, the sky and the semi-open kitchen, thanks to the glass ceilings and walls.
The restaurant has a garden nearby where it grows most of its own vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. They also have a large field about 10 kilometers from Amsterdam for seasonal vegetables, which are harvested at sunrise everyday so that guests can enjoy the freshest possible ingredients. Anything else they can’t produce themselves, they buy it from local farmers and suppliers around the city.
The restaurant has no “regular” menu. It changes constantly, so they don’t even print it. Once you get seated at DeKas, the only question that is asked is whether anyone has dietary restrictions.
Chef Gert Jan Hageman sums up the nature of his restaurant as, “A kitchen surrounded by fertile soil where vegetables and herbs thrive. Where daylight shines in from all sides and where the chefs are free to express their creativity daily using the best the season has to offer. It seems an obvious concept, but I spent twenty years surrounded by white tiles under fluorescent lighting before I came up with it.”
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