January 26, 2022
By rationing is meant a necessary and fair distribution of all goods among the population. In a war or other crisis situation, it is regularly seen that the available raw materials and/or food must be distributed, because otherwise the danger of hoarding arises and some people remain deprived of food and goods. Moreover, some hoarders are in fact speculators, taking advantage of the situation by later selling the goods at extortionate prices. When a product such as coffee is rationed to 1 pack per person, in theory the store will only sell one pack per person. But this person can visit multiple stores, or send his entire family out to buy a pack of coffee each. In order for rationing to take place effectively, a means of control is needed: the use of distribution coupons. On October 11, 1939, in the Netherlands, sugar was the first product only available with distribution coupons. From January 1940 this also applied to peas. Until the 1950s, many goods were only available "on the receipt"; coffee was the last product that was finally freely available again in 1952. In Belgium there was rationing during the First World War (1914-1918), and again during and after the Second World War, from 11 May 1940 to 31 December 1948.