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Starbucks coming to Amsterdam and rest of the Netherlands

Technically, Starbucks has been in Holland for some time already. For one thing, in 2002 the company opened a roasting plant at the Port of Amsterdam, and it includes a little-known store.

Holland’s second Starbucks store is located inside the Nike HQ in Hilversum — but it is accessible only to Nike employees.

A third spot was opened in Terminal 1 at Schiphol Airport. You’d have to show a plane ticket to a European location in order to order a drink at that Starbucks.

Then, last year, two Starbucks stores opened at Schiphol Plaza, the shopping center that is part of Schiphol Airport. One — standing room only [update: a few tall tables and stools] — is located in the main hall near the train ticket counter. The other — a spacious affair with lots of seats, tables and easy chairs — at the far end of Arrivals area 4. [See our Starbucks review]

Now comes news that Starbucks is expanding in the Netherlands by opening shops inside train stations — starting at Amsterdam Central Station.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Servex, one of the largest food and beverage concessionaires in Dutch railway stations and a subsidiary of NS, today announced a strategic licensing agreement to open Starbucks stores in prime railway stations throughout the Netherlands. The first store will be opened in the landmark Centraal Station in Amsterdam in the spring of 2009. Starbucks will continue work on its broader development plans in the Netherlands while opening stores in top railway stations across the country.

“For more than five years Starbucks has had a significant presence in the Netherlands through our roasting plant and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) support center which are located in Westpoort. It is a proud moment for us to announce the arrival of our first store in central Amsterdam and we look forward to meeting our Dutch customers in the heart of the city,” added Coles.

In 2002, Starbucks opened its Amsterdam Roasting Plant which receives, roasts, packages and ships Starbucks coffee to more than 1,200 retails stores in the EMEA region. It is the only Starbucks roasting plant located outside of the U.S. The facility also houses the EMEA Support Center and a Starbucks store. This facility directly employs more than 150 partners (employees). Starbucks also has three locations located at Schiphol Airport, which are operated by HMS Host through a licensing agreement.
– Source: Starbucks to Open First Store in Central Amsterdam in Historic Centraal Station, Starbucks Press Release, Aug. 14, 2008

The 33,400+ Starbucks fans at Dutch social site Hyvess are enthusiastic. Many of them have been traveling to Schiphol or even, if closer, to Germany in order to visit Starbucks.

Last month, Starbucks closed some 600 stores throughout the USA. The poor economy, competition from fastfood chains, and a runaway expansion that in many places led to an overkill of Starbucks stores were cited as the primary reasons.

Expansion overseas is seen as key to the company’s bottom line. The strategy is part of the vision of Howard Schultz, the executive who led the chain during its meteoric rise and who returned in January to put a “aser-like focus” on reinvigorating the Starbucks experience,” according to Andrew Martinâ’s report in The New York Times.

In the USA, which suffers from a self-created recession, many Starbucks customers are said to forego the store’s expensive coffee drinks in favor of less expensive versions.

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