»Bude« – The next generation

The German “Bude” is most comparable to a deli or 7-Eleven. The history of the “Buden“-culture in the Ruhr area originates from a plan to improve the healthcare of the working-class. In the second half of the 19th century it was a common practice for factory directors to motivate their employees by adding hard liquor to their actual payment. Unfortunately it soon turned out that the intense consumption of “Schnapps“ and the handling of complex industrial machinery didn’t go along very well. So it was decided to establish attractive meeting-points for the workers where they could come together and enjoy – healthy sparkling water. While the kiosks could immediately satisfy the demand for a place to meet, the range of offered products was soon adapted to the wants of the consumers. Over the years, “Buden“ became regular features of life in the Ruhr area where one could purchase candies, newspapers, tobacco and alcohol as well as everyday items like grocery and cosmetic products. Until 1996 those kiosks were the only shops in Germany that were allowed to sell something after 6pm because of very rigid laws governing the hours of trading. Often situated in secluded neighborhoods, they were also a convenient alternative for elderly and immobile people to buy their daily supplies. But the function of the “Bude“ was not simply that of being a shop; they also played a key role in social life – for the customers and the operators. After World War II many kiosks were run by veterans and war widows and although they sure weren’t the most profitable businesses, they ensured the longterm livelihood of those people. For the customers the kiosk remained the place where one could meet neighbors and friends, exchange news and gossip or ask for help. After the loosening of trading-hour-laws and the expansion of shops attached to gas stations, the economic pressure seemed to almost erase the “Buden culture“, but in recent years a new generation of operators started attending to the case. Like Bilal Eroglu, whose family came from Turkey in the 1990s and who runs the Adler 59, many young people with a migration background decided to keep the tradition alive. Since the working hours are long and the income might still not be very high, it is especially the social factor that makes running this business attractive. While, as Bilal states, he almost couldn’t manage the kiosk without the support of family and friends, he took the chance to improve the neighborhood. He slowly broadened the range of products and added influences from his Turkish heritage. Besides the usual candies and tobacco one can purchase many Turkish products at Adler 59 – from fresh mint to flatbread. And with a lot of idealism he tries to carry on with the aspect of creating a meeting point for the surrounding community. Because the dirty and dark backyard behind the kiosk really annoyed him, he initiated graffiti-events and still invites young street artists to show their skills. The result is a backyard bursting with colors and energy. During the summer Bilal sometimes even finds the time to organize musical events in the garage yard. And when the smell of the barbecue, the sound of HipHop and laughing people come together, it is nice to know that the idea of the “Bude“ is still alive.

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