The first petrol pump in Holland appears in 1920 in front of hotel Pabst in Zeist.
Because there is an uncontrolled growth of cheap built stations, destroying the beautiful landscape, there's also expanding criticism on it. It even leads to rules, the companies make to control the visual aspects of their selling points. They dont't want to loose customers because of this. Before world war II Esso made a "Handleiding ter verbetering van aanzien en service-verleening van Standard-garages" (Manual to improve the visibility and services of Standard-garages) with detailed rules for the use of color and signalisation.
After 1935 the execution of the Motorway Plans of the government really took a start, so a lack of new service stations was created. Often the oil companies built those in the new architecture, with straight lines and light, fresh colors. Kiosks were made of glass, and often combined with extra service and greasing room
After world war II the government restarted the building of new Motorways with a petrol station every 10-20 km. The companies'
task was to build many station in a short period.
For Caltex (today Texaco) architect Rondeltap introduced the canopy for the need of
good working light mounting, and to support the signalization to increase the "stopping power" of the station. In the sixties the canopy
became a typical expression means. Iron frame or laminated wooden girders, concrete portals, anything was possible.
In Holland self service started in 1962, but only broke through round 1970. This concept asked for large canopies, to offer comfort to the customer. The number of pump islands increased in the same way traffic did. Preferably arranged following the toll-gate system. Easy accessible for the hurried motorist, and always a free place. There were structural growth of scale, and standardization forced by the economic situation. The petrol station finally found its uniform appearance. Pumpunits and a selling box under a large canopy with broad rim, and company signalization on it. The last aspect making the only difference.
The kiosk had started extending to a shop again, the customer had to pay here. And meanwhile his attention had to be attracted to the shown retail goods.
The last years there are less strict rules on opening hours, and the assortiment is growing rapidly. So the shops extend too. At the moment, "convenience shops" of 100 m2 and more, where you can get dairy, meals and bread, are no exception any more.
Since the introduction of stricter environment rules in Holland early ninetees, one station disappeared after another. The left selling
points had to be adapted with impermeable pavements against oil spill, and vapour recovery systems against the petrol air you get in
your nose while fuelling.
It will be clear, that the often very expressively designed stations from the past mostly didn't survive this environmental renovation. But Holland should have now the most environment-friendly petrol stations in the world
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