The ten largest supermarkets chains in the Netherlands include both Dutch and foreign-owned food retailers. The country has seen substantial consolidation over the past decade in the grocery retail sector, which is dominated by a handful of key players…
#1 ALBERT HEIJN – The first Albert Heijn grocery store opened over 130 years ago in Oostzaan, Netherlands, just north of Amsterdam. Today the Albert Heijn supermarket chain consists of more than 850 locations across the country, with 3 formats: ‘AH’ – medium-sized locations found in all city centers, ‘AH XL’ – large hypermarkets primarily located in suburban areas and shopping malls and ‘AH to Go’ – small footprint convenience shops found in locations with maximum pedestrian traffic like airports and train stations. Albert Heijn offers home delivery via its online webshop www.AH.nl. As of 2017, Albert Heijn had a base of approximately 6.6 million regular customers in the Netherlands. Albert Heijn’s parent company, AHold Delhaize, is one of the largest food companies in the world and operates supermarket and grocery chains in many countries, including the United States (under the names Stop & Shop and Giant).
#2 JUMBO – The first Jumbo full-service supermarket was opened in Tilburg in 1979 and was purchased by competitor, Van Eerd Groep, a few years later. Through organic expansion and acquisitions (including former grocery chain C1000 and recently a number of Emte store locations from Sligro), Jumbo has grown to become the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands. By the start of 2019, Jumbo had 613 stores and over 5.2 million customers. In 2016, Jumbo acquired the popular La Place food business, following the bankruptcy filing and eventual liquidation of its parent company, V&D department stores. La Place food items can be purchased through the Jumbo webshop along with large varieties of international foods and organic products. Online orders have the option of home delivery or in-store pickup.
#3 LIDL – This German-owned discount food chain has the second largest customer base in the Netherlands, approximately 5.4 million regular shoppers, and the fourth highest store count (419 as of 2019). It’s received various awards and won customer surveys, including being named supermarket chain with the best fruit and vegetable selection in Holland. In addition to its physical stores, there is the Lidl webshop (but only non-food products are sold through it).
#4 ALDI – The German-owned food discounter, Aldi, has expanded significantly in the Netherlands over the past decade and now ranks as the fourth largest retailer in the Dutch food industry. As of 2019, Aldi operated 496 stores locations with a customer base in excess of 4.2 million.
#5 PLUS – This Dutch supermarket cooperative formed in 1928 under the name ‘Sperwer. After multiple name changes, the banner ‘Plus‘ was introduced in 2001. Today it is the fifth largest food retailer in the Netherlands with 263 independently-owned stores and over 2.3 million customers. Plus operates 3 regional distribution centers (Haaksbergen, Ittervoort and Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht) and one national DC (Middenbeemster). In a 2018 Nielsen survey, it was cited as the Netherlands supermarket chain with the best wine assortment. Plus stores can be found in popular expat cities like The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leidschendam, Tilburg and Eindhoven. Plus offers online ordering with home delivery or in-store pickup.
#6 DIRK – The first Dirk van den Broek supermarket opened in Amsterdam in 1953. In 2009 the company merged with competitor Digros to form the parent company Detailresult Groep. In 2014, the Dirk van den Broek, Digros and Bas van de Heijden nameplates were changed to ‘Dirk’. Dirk ranks as the sixth largest food retailer in the Netherlands with approximately 2.0 million customers and 121 stores located throughout the country. Dirk is part of the SuperUnie buying cooperative.
#7 COOP – The first Coop store was opened over 100 years ago in Zaandam, Netherlands (close to Oostzaan, where the very first Albert Heijn store opened a few years earlier). It ranks as the seventh largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands with a customer base of 1.3 million and 228 stores (primarily mid-sized neighborhood grocery shops and convenience food stores). They recently introduced a third larger hypermarket format called SuperCoop. Coop is part of the SuperUnie buying cooperative.
#8 SPAR – The Spar grocery store formula was founded in 1932 in the Netherlands as a cooperation with independent food store owners. As of 2019, Spar operated 225 locations across the country with 5 different formats SparBuurt (neighborhood stores), SparCity (city center stores), SparEnjoy (holiday park stores), SparUniversity (on and around school campuses) and SparExpress (in gas stations). The company has expanded internationally with some 12,700 store locations in 48 countries.
#9 HOOGVLIET – This Dutch supermarket chain ranks ninth among food retailers in the Netherlands but among the top 5 in the province of South Holland where the majority of stores are located. It was founded in the Dutch city of Hoogvliet (south of Rotterdam). As of 2017, Hoogvliet operated 67 stores and had 1.1 million regular customers. Hoogvliet is part of the SuperUnie buying cooperative that also includes Plus, Coop, Dirk, Deen and Sligro.
#10 DEEN – The Deen chain rounds out the top ten largest supermarket retailers in the Netherlands. It was founded in the city of Hoorn in 1933. As of 2017, Deen had a customer base of approximately .8 million and operated 81 stores located primarily in the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland, with just one store each in the provinces of Utrecht (Zeist) and Overijssel (Zwollle). Deen operates an online webshop and is part of the SuperUnie buying cooperative.