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6 posts categorized "The Netherlands"



Founded by Erik Wong in the Northern part of the Netherlands is Wongema ...  a multiple workstation for artists and designers and other creatives who would like to seek shelter for a couple of days to retreat, meet and greet or just to relax and find inspiration. 

But it is also a super location for spending a weekend with friends and have your own private pub and restaurant ... 

I found this magical place via Wij zijn Kees ... you remmebr I worte about them last week. You might recognise studio IJM's signature here  too ... :)








Tammingastraat 58
9978 PD Hornhuizen
The Netherlands


.. Wongema

All images by Jitske Hagens from ‘wij zijn kees’

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Design B&B in Amsterdam


Often people ask me where to sleep when visiting Amsterdam ... well this might be a good place to stay: the &Klevering apartment. Right in the city centre and a very authentic and typical Dutch ambiance.

Seeing so many design accessories in this B&B is no surprise as the owners are also the founders of &Klevering, a well-known home decoration shop here in Amsterdam. A visit to Amsterdam is not complete for me with a stop-over in one of their outlets.

The kitchen below is spot on, cool with the wood and green accessories.

I love seeing my friend Jurianne Matter her pop-up poster on the wall ... 









.. &Klevering Bed and Breakfast
.. Jurianne Matter pop-up poster
.. &Klevering

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Irene When I was little I used to say to people I am an ‘Amsterdammertje’ by which I meant that I was proud my first crib was overlooking the famous Museum quarter. Although I grew up in the east of the Netherlands (which is beautiful too, but nothing like Amsterdam and a world of its own with a different language or dialect actually… we spoke ‘tukkers’…). Moving back to Amsterdam was always on my mind. When I turned nineteen, I finally went back where I belonged. I admit it took me probably another ten years before I actually visited all of the incredible museums and other historic places that you literally find at every corner in Amsterdam. But I guess that this might be typical for most Dutch people, they should appreciate their heritage more... No more excuses. I hope to make up for this lack of patriotism a little bit with this weekend read… The read is not about historic stuff though. It is about places that I feel define Amsterdam and its people today, hopefully uncovering some beautiful spots you may have overlooked on your previous visits to this wonderful city. Quite a challenge I realize, as many of you are Amsterdam experts already...



Sugar + water + glucose = PapaBubble

But there is more to PapaBubble than just these three basic ingredients. It is what they do with them in their candy laboratory that makes sweets worthy to carry the PapaBubble name. From now on you will put your favorite lollypops in a vase rather than tulips. Offering a sweet to someone has never been this fashionable. You are basically giving away little pieces of edible art.



PapaBubble is strategically located around the world, so you can’t miss them on your city trips when you need to satisfy that sweet tooth…. Mark your map as follows: Amsterdam, Barcelona and Tokyo… a sweet triangle… PapaBubble teamed up with Comme des Garçons to create the ‘taste of Comme des Garçons’. It is a powder candy that matches the perfume. Can you imagine giving your date an actual taste of your perfume… talking about seduction techniques…Your first order is for free when you purchase a bottle of perfume. A sweet collaboration indeed…

Keet in Huis...


...means ‘party in the house’ and this is exactly what you will get when you set your kids (or yourself…) loose in Keet in Huis. It will be your kids’ favorite playground. So many beautiful colorful objects and an ever changing collection. You will find 'Pakhuis Oost' but also a wonderful series of KEET products for kids. I have a special place in my heart for  Keet in Huis as they were among the first to carry my collection of baby announcements and greeting cards.


Keet in Huis is located on ‘KNSM eiland’ in the heart of the ‘island district’ along the ‘IJ’ river. An area that used to be the old harbor and has developed rapidly as one of the city’s favorite places to live. Modern architecture and converted warehouses. It is where in the old days the ‘Holland America Line’ passenger ships would dock. Cruise ships still dock there, but now at a beautiful new terminal which basically drops you in the heart of the city (close to Central Station). It is only a five minute walk from your cabin to Keet in Huis


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A true taste of Amsterdam



Truly amazing. Food is no longer just about eating. Sound, atmosphere, styling, an inspiring crowd and much more. Marije Vogelzang is food designer and invented Proef. Proef means 'taste' and gives new meaning to the word restaurant. A whole new eating sensation, stimulating all of your senses... Imagine eating your plate for desert, don’t worry it is made of sugar. Only eating stuff your body reacts favourably to. Seduced by colours, texture and design. A special breakfast that will ignite you with energy, pushing all the right buttons to get you started for your Amsterdam weekend escape. And it’s all healthy too. No more boring Dutch staple dishes (remember Van Gogh’s ‘potato eaters’…?). Proef gives a fresh impulse to both Dutch cuisine and design. Marije also did some marvellous projects for Droog Design and Hella Jongerius.


And it gets even better. Proef is located in the 'Westergasfabriek', a former industrial park which has transformed to Amsterdam’s newest signature piece. A creative and cultural melting pot. Merging artistic entrepreneurship with commercial enterprise. This is ‘New Amsterdam’, putting you right into our next ‘Golden Age’.

You will find special events, theatres, bars and restaurants. The area is wrapped in a beautiful park. Take a sharp right when you leave Central Station (after visiting a new wing of the ‘Rijksmuseum’ which is located within the station). It is just a fifteen-minute walk away.



{ps. should you end up in Rotterdam by mistake, don’t panic, Proef also has a tasting oasis in the centre of this harbour city which is definitely worth a visit!


When Analik opens her new Miauw suites this March there will only be one place for you to stay in Amsterdam. Analik is famous for her outspoken fashion designs but that is not all she has been up to lately…Check into Miauw, and you may never leave again… Beautifully located at the corner of ‘Keizersgracht’ and ‘Harte Straat’ in the heart of an area called ‘nine little streets’. The extremely spacious and modern styled suites (70 square meters!) are open concept, have a small kitchen and come with all sorts of complementary goodies. You will feel right at home. Overlooking one of the best parts of the canal area. Just pick a floor plan, make an on-line reservation, and you are all set for your spring visit.


Miauw combines suites with Miauw shops and projects. No ordinary hotel lobby. The ground floor is occupied by Analik's boutique where she shows her latest designs and some handpicked other labels. Special projects include photography exhibitions. Our lucky ‘Zuiderburen’ in Antwerp (a friendly nickname for our Belgian neighbours in the south) have enjoyed Miauw's hospitality since a few years already.



All a girl could ever wish for…

Looking to shop in style, listen to newly released music or browse magazines surrounded by contemporary furniture and art exhibitions? Look no further. Head straight for SPRMRKT. My friend Nelleke started SPRMRKT only a few years ago. It has really taken off since. SPRMRKT is not a store. It is all about how you have always wanted to spend your city weekends. Submerged in all good things life has to offer. SPRMRKT is setting the pace for others, but this time keeping up might just not be that easy… Nelleke chose a fabulous collection of niche fashion labels. You will also find rare pieces of vintage furniture and other special items. I especially like the collection of leather bags that are designed by Nelleke herself.


Not exclusive enough for your taste? Enter SPR+, a boutique within SPRMRKT, for those of us looking to go all the way and know how to spend it… SPR+ was designed by XandL. Say hi to Nelleke for me when you’re there!





Beyond snap shots

My interest in photography only started a few years ago when I was working part-time for Nel’s photography agency. I continue to be amazed by what some people can do with a camera. A great place to satisfy your appetite for photography is Foam. Yes, it is a museum…Foam is all about photography ‘now and then’. An absolute favorite among ‘Amsterdammers’. You can easily spend an entire afternoon in Foam, drinking your latte, having lunch and enjoying images from all over the world. Check Foam's agenda on-line for exhibitions that interest you. Located on a beautiful canal, just minutes away from the Amstelveld where on the other side of the water you will find Bebob for vintage furniture.




Visit Droog

No further introduction needed… I just wanted to give you the address of Droog Design's showroom if you do not have it bookmarked already. Go to ‘Staalstraat 7b’. How to get there? Follow the crowd or check out their website.



{Droog Design: table setting by Arno VerhoevenChair by Tjep,  Table Cloth: Fold to fit by Chris Kabel}



Neighbourhood love

Just around the corner of my old place. Never could resist going in when walking by. Studio91 was started by Hester Slaman, Roos Arends and Marc van der Voorn. Jewellery, fashion and custom made lamps. All collector’s items. And there are more things happening on ‘Elandsgracht’, so many new boutiques and other fun stores have opened since I left almost two years ago. Let me know what you have discovered when you get back.





I love Mondays!

Just in case you missed your plane on Sunday… get an early wake-up call and rush for the 'Noordermarkt' on Monday morning. Make sure to get there early enough to scoop your vintage cloths, bags and pottery and furniture. Visit 'get back design' for more details.




Peek view

A brief note on my old neighbourhood the ‘Jordaan’. It is in the heart of the old city and canal area. My old place is on the ‘Looiersgracht’ where in the old days you would find the city’s leather sweatshops. These days are long gone. The area is now densely populated and has some of the greatest shops and restaurants in town. The 'nine little streets' (technically not the Jordaan…) is my favourite area for just wandering around the canal area. The area is pedestrian (and bicyclist) paradise, you don’t need a car to get around, you just start walking... Here are some pics of my apartment and studio in Amsterdam. Carme from Barcelona now lives there. She calls it her ‘new home’ which is a great compliment and (still) makes me feel proud of my hometown.


I hope to see you in Amsterdam soon!
{big kiss again for Rik.} {originally posted in January 2007}

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Pia reporting from Amsterdam


I’m a wanderer.  I love to wander wherever I am and try to make the time to do so as often as I can. My new home is Amsterdam, and I am head over heels for it’s quaint bridges, canals, and wonky old buildings. I love putting on my strolling shoes and wandering in Amsterdam, and this is one of my favourite wanders in this gorgeous city:

I start at utrechtstraat which is a strip of fabulous re staurants, cafes, homeware stores, music stores and delis. I then wander up towards rembrandts plein (’plein’ means ’square’). Then I continue up over the bridge of the amstel until I reach the beautiful staalstraat (’straat’ means ’street’) bridge:
Once here I turn right onto staalstraat which is full of gorgeous design shops including droog …
which is one of amsterdam’s destination design stores. Even though this is such a little street you could spend hours wandering between the stores. At the end of this street is one of my all time favourite amsterdam cafes: Puccini’s. The menu is fresh and delicious and no matter what time of day you wander this way, you must indulge in a puccini hot chocolate. I will not say anything more about this hot chocolate except that you must. Puccini’s also has a chocolate boutique just a few doors up so you can take home some gifts (for yourself).
So, after my chocolate comatose I turn left along the canal and this is where you will find all sorts of quaint painted apartment doors which to me, is so Dutch ‘keselic’ (homely) style. (Irene, I can’t remember how to spell this word, do you know the one I mean? Could you spell it properly for me? Px)
It’s along here that I change my path to discover new streets, so you just keep meandering and see what you discover along the canal, but keep to your left as you walk on ahead (you will spot such places as wonderwood, and some beautiful street art)…
and you will make your way to Nieuwmarkt which is another big square and marks the end of this walk. But don’t leave just yet as right in front of you is In De Waag,
an incredible medieval looking building turned restaurant which was once the Amsterdam ‘gatehouse’. Inside are beautiful beamed high ceilings, the whole restaurant lighted with candles. It is magical. Here I indulge (again! always with the indulging) in a glass of champagne and a little plate of Dutch bitterballen - I think these are some of the best in town. They also serve delicious cheese croquettes. You must arrive before 5pm though as the bar section closes to make room for dinner guests. I suggest you aim to arrive here at around 2-3pm as they change the candles in the huge chandeliers and that is quite a sight. You can also sit outside In De Waag when it is a sunny day. Bliss.
I hope this little ‘wander guide’ comes in handy for some of you, do let me know! I will share more of my wanders on my blog in coming months.

* * *Pia Jane Bijkerk blog
* * *My Heart Wanders project by Pia

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