The story behind the licorice: by Jochem Douwenga, son of the inventor
IT WAS IN 1936, September 11 in the morning at nine o’clock that the old man Van Slooten, a just but strict man, called my father Douwe Douwenga (also a licorice maker) and asked shortly: “Douwenga, I had an idea, button licorice, can you make that? “” Sure, sir, “my father murmured. “Well then, make that happen” said the old Van Slooten and crashed back on the invoices. There are buttons and “buttons”. And my father immediately thought of ship knots. Bought a single trip to Harlingen, took a room there at Hotel Havenzicht and apprenticed to an old sailor.
After four days, weak coffee in the morning and Beerenburg in the evening, he knew all the ship’s knots and all sailor’s curses. For his liquorice he chose three: De Halve Knoop, De Vlaamse Acht and De Meervoudige Overhands Knoop. “Yes, you can also call these buttons”, said the old Van Slooten, surprised at the sight of the result. “But I just meant buttons on the pants.” But when he tasted them he was convinced. De Echte Volzoete Scheepsknopen Drop was a success until the beginning of the sixties. But has fallen into oblivion. That is why I am proud that I am also able to restore my father, Douwe Douwenga, to this delicious, full-bodied licorice.