Skip to content

Amsterdam Highlights

I promised on Friday that today I’d give you just a slice of what my vacation to Amsterdam was like last week. This post will be mostly visual but I’ll be sure to give you plenty of links so it’s easy to find what I’m talking about on the web. :)

This about sums up how our days began each morning – latte and a map!

First I’ll start with a few of the restaurants where we ate and then I’ll wrap this post up with some of the shops we hit. We stayed in the Jordaan district, so we mostly hit shops and restaurants there.

This is a chain in the Netherlands called Bagels & Beans. We went to one near the fashion district and a nice kitty came and sat with me while I had my breakfast. He was so cute, and he even has a stylish mustache. Eventually he fell asleep on my lap until a little dog came in and then he attacked it. It was quite a riot to be caught in the middle of a cat and dog fight in the middle of a cafe. In the states, animals are not allowed in eating establishments (against codes of hygiene I believe, though I think most people are not as clean as animals so what’s the point!?) but here in western Europe you see pets frequently just about everywhere you go. In Germany you don’t see as many cats, mostly dogs, but in Holland cats are everywhere. It’s so nice though it’s also very practical – cuts down on rodents!

If you want affordable, delicious Japanese-Thai food, Nooch is your place. The atmosphere is so nice and the staff is exceptionally friendly. The food is also very healthy. You have to try their pad thai and make sure to order fresh mint tea and don’t miss the mango ice cream for dessert.

Other great places to eat:
De Kroon: Order their monk fish. It’s lekker!
Lust: Great place to enjoy coffee or eat lunch or dinner.
Toussaint – We ate here twice we liked it so much. Once for lunch and another night for a romantic candlelight dinner. Such a great atmosphere and the food is heaven.
Foodware – Mostly a take-out shop but you can eat in too. Everything is homemade right there in their open kitchen. Great place.

Now for shopping…

Definitely don’t miss the Noordermarkt Flea Market on Saturdays or Monday mornings. I had a blast and even met an Etsy seller there called Accessorize Paradise where I purchased a hair clip that everyone seems to love (I wish she sold them in her Etsy store). I found a pretty print from a children’s story book from another dealer who told me she has a shop on Herenstraat called Antiquariaat Lont. Note: I’m not exactly sure what it’s called, but a block over from this flea market was a huge fabric flea market with brand new textiles including those from top design houses. I found lots of beautiful fabrics there (shown above).

Aside from the flea market, I really enjoyed these stores too…

Hema. They are in Germany and Belgium, but mostly in Holland with several locations in Amsterdam. So many cute affordable things from office supplies to candy, clothing, beauty products, everything! I love their attention to product packaging. I found their postcards so sweet, and I made sure to buy plenty of pens since I can never have to many cute pens.

These are tweezers, also from Hema. Yeah, tweezers. I couldn’t believe it either, such great packaging.

I loved this store, it’s called Het Grote Avontuur. I purchased some white plastic placemats there and a few gifts, I loved the overall vibe of the shop, all of their hand painted Russian goodies, and their lovely Dutch ‘folk’ items. What a fun shop, you have to put it on your list if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam. You can also shop them online, in English!

While you’re on Haarlemmerstraat you can walk to Papabubble, a fun candy store that I first heard about from Irene at Bloesem. It’s worth the visit! Some of the architecture on Haarlemmerstraat shown above, I really liked it!

Egg Mercantile on Leliegracht 6. I loved this shop, mostly because of the great conversation that I had with Joshua who is one of the owners. His partner, Steven, is also his business partner and they’ve done a fine job selecting the best home accessories and stationery for this lovely shop. Steven and Joshua are American, Joshua had lived in Boston before and also New York, San Francisco… and now Amsterdam where he seems to call home. This shop showcases wares from both North and South America and Europe and I just loved the vibe in there. I took the most photos of his shop because not only was he familiar with decor8 (so I felt comfortable asking permission to take photos), but he was so super friendly and warm. I kept thinking about how badly I wanted to share this shop experience with all of you, especially since I recognized nearly all of the work there… I kept thinking how some of you will read this blog, see these photos, and say, “Hey that’s my stuff!”.

This is me chatting with fabulous Joshua.

Do you see the wonderful Elizabeth Soule photography far right?

Love the fancy trays from iBride on the wall…

See the handmade dolls on the fireplace mantle? They are from Heather Louise (website and etsy shop) and are absolutely wonderful in person. Her Marie Antoinette dolls are my favorites.

Do you see the Cardboard Safari head on the left wall? No animals were hurt!

I love these ceramic pieces by Lola Goldstein, don’t you? You can buy them online here.

Here’s some of my loot from Egg Mercantile. I was pleased to see lots of cards and notebooks by Camilla Engman.

Subrosa (Rozengracht 49-E) is another shop I liked, lots of tin and silver and tons of ethnic influence here. I picked up some jars and a colorful string of lights with tiny Chinese paper lanterns. It’s right down the street from my next favorite store for all things kitchen called…

Kitsch Kitchen (Rozengracht 8-11). And kitsch it was, two floors of wild and crazy colors and patterns. Wow. Great, affordable and fun. Kitsch Kitchen has tons of locations in Europe and even one in Southern California but none here in Germany. I hope they change this someday and bring Kitsch Kitchen to us here in northern Germany. It’s totally great.

I really liked Shirdak, it was like roaming the pages of my favorite magazine Selvedge. If you read Selvedge, you know it deals with textiles and the history of fabrics from all over the world. Shirdak had a collection of some of the most gorgeous things ever, it was like a museum of beautifully crafted rugs, throws, bedspreads, even slippers and bags.

Here are some other shops I hit (but did not photograph):
Jan (Utrechtsestraat 74)
Sissy Boy (clothing, some home stuff.)
V&D (for clothes)
Fame (for 5-Euro CDs and DVDs, all brand new. Amazing store, I purchased about 15 CDs and a Japanese DVD I’ve been wanting to see called The Cat Returns, a Hiroyuki Morita animated film.)
H&M: I think there was one on every corner downtown. It was H&M heaven.
Zara and Zara Home
Noa Noa (clothing)
… And a slew of other miscellaneous shops in the Jordaan district that I didn’t write down but lots of fun!

Shopping Note: I had planned to spend the entire morning and half of the afternoon on Monday going to my favorite design shops. I was so amazingly excited, I could hardly wait all weekend. On Monday, we headed over to Pol’s Potten, Droog, Keet in Huis, and Frozen Fountain only to realize that they were closed. :( I couldn’t believe it. Shops are closed in Amsterdam on Mondays for the most part, except for large department stores and a few ‘select’ shops, but even they don’t open until around 1pm. I was absolutely heartbroken. Oh well. Please don’t make the mistake that I did!

And to close, here are a few random inspirations from the city.

The ultimate of posh: A mini cooper to match one big, gorgeous townhouse.

A little bird peeped a chipper goodbye as we headed towards the train station, 4 hours on a ‘slow’ train (but first class) to Germany was really nice and relaxing. Rolling hills, farmland, clear sunny skies…

That sums up my mini break to Amsterdam. Hope you enjoyed my highlights from this lovely city today. And a special thanks to all the ladies who met me at the meet and greet, you each made my visit to Amsterdam SO MUCH better than I had imagined.

(images mostly taken by my husband Thorsten Becker, others by yours truly)

Posted by decor8 in Shop Tours, shopping, travel on September 15, 2008

Your comments...

  1. simplygrove commented
    September 15th, 2008 at 5:46pm

    Looks like an amazing trip:)

    simplygroves last blog post: London Home

  2. JENNIFER RAMOS commented
    September 15th, 2008 at 5:57pm

    I love this post! Makes me really think about my long awaited trip to EUROPE…Lucky you! Depending on which direction our election goes…hmmm I may end up moving abroad. ha!

    Jen Ramos
    ‘100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards & More’

  3. Astrid Mueller commented
    September 15th, 2008 at 7:22pm

    Dear decor8blog team,

    I love your blog! In fact, I love your blog so much, I have an award for you at my blog!


    Astrid Muellers last blog post: I received "I love your blog" award

  4. brand-eye commented
    September 15th, 2008 at 8:57pm

    sounds wonderful. i absolutely LOVE amsterdam, there is no other place like it. i’ve been twice and can’t wait until i can go back!

    brand-eyes last blog post: summer 2008 soundtrack

  5. AK commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 12:51am

    Wonderful post Holly. Enjoyed it immensely.

  6. Benita commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 3:10am

    Oooooh! Now I really need to go back to Amsterdam. Thank you so much for the tips. I’ll definitely print this!

    Benitas last blog post: How to iron a shirt

  7. Valisa commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 3:39am

    I love Egg Mercantile and Stephen & Joshua. They are soo lovely. I order a few things from them online and you know what the service is first class – I get everything the next day! And the shop rocks – I want to live next door!

    Valisas last blog post: I dream of Ayam Percik

  8. Coco commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 4:05am

    Fun to read! I love Amsterdam and always have too short time to visit it properly. shhh but I think you meant V&D instead of V&A ;)

  9. decor8 commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 4:14am

    Thank you Coco! I also forgot the link, so I just corrected it. Thanks again. :)

  10. Elizabeth commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 5:12am

    You really captured Amsterdam! I remeber the light outside being just like that. I’m itching to book some flights over there now. (I’ve always wanted to hire a bike and cycle around the city, but never summoned the courage to do it – perhaps I’ll rectify that soon.)
    Thanks for the great post!

    Elizabeths last blog post: ‘concantenation’ (Word of the Day)

  11. Simona commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 5:29am

    Ciao Holly,
    I have never been to Amsterdam, and it’s definaly a place that I want to see. Thanks for all the tips and the selection of amazing shops that
    you have given to us.

  12. heather moore commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 5:45am

    Wow, what a fabulous tour! I’m green with envy at such shopping goodness.

    heather moores last blog post: New design: LAVA

  13. eva commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 6:45am

    hmm…glad to hear you had a nice time in amsterdam and getting a bit homesick with all the pictures! I love HEMA…I think that’s one of the shops I miss most living abroad!

    evas last blog post: Family craft

  14. kerry commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 7:39am

    I love your descriptions and photographs. I went to Amsterdam several years ago and loved it. It brought it all back for me. Thank you

    kerrys last blog post: Bride, Needham, MA

  15. Sia commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 8:13am

    Even though I live in Amsterdam (being familiar with all the spots you wrote about), I really enjoyed reading this (visual) post.

    And you went to Toussaint twice! I had dinner at Toussaint the week before the meet and greet and it was just as you described: great atmosphere and the food is heaven…

    {If you ever need another PapaBubble parcel, just e-mail me and I’ll send you one!}

  16. lindsay commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 8:20am

    It looks lovely Holly! Thanks for sharing your little adventure with us. :)

    lindsays last blog post: a badly lit sketch…

  17. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 9:05am

    Oh, Oh! So great! Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us Holly!
    What a fantastic store that Egg Mercantile is! I wish I could go there…..
    It sounds like absolute heaven( your whole trip)…

    Melissa de la Fuentes last blog post: kindness

  18. Noelle commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 9:39am

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post! Looks like a lot of fun and makes me so excited for our upcoming trip to Germany:)

  19. Anne commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:19am

    thank you so much Holly for this post. I lived in Amsterdam when I was 5. I have longed to go back and visit to see the old street organs and puppet shows, egg cups, the montessori school, the canals. I bet things have changed there since 1978. Have you gone to seen the Night Watch yet, the Anne Frank museum, Keukenhof? (I assume that place may be more of a spring visiting place)

  20. Stephenie commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 10:49am

    I love your blog! I read it daily and just want to say I am living vicariously through you. I’ve never been to the places in Europe you are living and visiting, but I love seeing all the photos and learning the differences in culture. What a great experience it must be. I also love Haus Maus and look forward to each and every post. Thanks!

  21. Uncle Beefy commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:06am

    Well Holly, I see you did your best with this Amsterdam post. Granted, I was hoping for a larger post with photos and long lists of places to see and go to…but you did what you could. ;) Jeepers! This is MIGHTY comprehensive and a lovely mental vacation! LOVE Amsterdam for a multitude of reasons…not the least of which would be a kitty on my lap at a cafe drinking coffee. I mean, me drinking the coffee…not the cat. Got it? Oh mercy, I need coffee now. Lovely post!

    Uncle Beefys last blog post: Corking in the Kitchen

  22. Victoria commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 11:28am

    Oh! Hema! I’ve visited Amsterdam many times with my mother, and she insists on stopping there every time we go, and I don’t mind one bit. All of our tea towels are from there in both of our homes.

    Victorias last blog post: new painting (in progress)

  23. Maartje commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 1:37pm

    Thanks for sharing! I live in Amsterdam myself, but some of the places you mentioned were still unkown to me! Now I’m definitely going to visit Egg Mercantile and Foodware.

  24. Heather Louise commented
    September 16th, 2008 at 6:46pm

    Thanks for the props! Great blog!Amsterdam is both haunting and whimsical –a very wonderful and always surprising place to live and visit! Im glad you had fun:o)


    Heather Louises last blog post: ORNAMENTS!

  25. irene commented
    September 17th, 2008 at 1:00am

    This is a fabulous guide!! I’m so glad to see you had a wonderful time!
    I used to live above Toussaint and when I graduated form University I gave a big party to celebrate in Toussaint. Brings back some great memories…
    Thanks Holly for sharing. irene xx

    irenes last blog post: Ontwerpduo Joints

  26. Grace@PoeticHome commented
    September 17th, 2008 at 10:46pm

    Swooon! What a fantastic visual tour!! The There is so much inspiration in Amsterdam and Holland in general — your pictures really encourage me to book a flight and visit again!

    Grace@PoeticHomes last blog post: Airplanes + Vintage Industrial = Voila!

  27. miriam commented
    September 19th, 2008 at 1:01am

    I think that adorable little kitty has a ‘van dyck’, not just a ‘stache. How fitting. ;-)

  28. petra commented
    September 21st, 2008 at 9:11am

    hey holly! wow, that’s such a coincidence! the photo you put up that shows the beautiful building in the haarlemmerdijk is our new shopspace! isn’t that great? you HAVE to come visit again, i would love to meet you after the last time didn’t really work out.
    hope you are well,
    petra (restored amsterdam)

  29. Cheney commented
    September 24th, 2008 at 9:20am

    You commented on the fancy trays on the wall by iBride – but where do those bags come from that are on the shelves beneath the trays – can they be purchased online anywhere? Please comment back or email me.

    Thanks for all the beautiful things – I love your decor8 blog!

    Cheneys last blog post: These beotches

  30. Barbara commented
    October 5th, 2008 at 5:25pm

    Dear Cheney,
    these lovely bags come from
    Click on comment Nr 30 and you will find my blog on Marsupialia about them.
    I don’t know where to buy them, but probably you can find out on their website.
    I hope this was helpful.

    Barbaras last blog post: Winter depressions

  31. Kara commented
    March 14th, 2011 at 11:25pm

    I love the Charlie Chaplin kitty! Great post!

Leave a comment

CommentLuv badge


Some of my books

Co-editions are also available in many languages, learn more


Next dates

Blogging Your Way
e-courses, 2015
Visit our e-course website to learn more about our inspirational e-courses by bloggers, for bloggers.