Shopping + Products, Travel


December 14, 2009

Want to see a little loot from a recent shopping trip? I mentioned last Friday that I hit Hema, a Dutch department store with eight locations in Germany, one of which happens to be near to me. I first discovered it while vacationing in Amsterdam (my travel review here) last Fall and I’ve been hoping to get back ever since to spend money I don’t have. :)


My friend and I hopped the train and headed up to Oldenburg (charming old city, great shopping district) where we spent the afternoon drooling in Hema where things have the most adorable packaging, the prices are right, and the selection is great. Here is a glimpse of some of my loot, what I could fit in my tote anyway — I’m so glad that I don’t have a car, I’m certain I would have spent a lot of money on more cute ceramics!











My favorite departments include the home accessories and kitchen goods, stationery, kid’s toys, and the snacks & candy! Oh the candy! I love the prices too – super affordable. For instance, the small blue cups were under a euro each and the aqua mugs were under 3 euros. All of the ceramics shown above, including the gray bowl, white doily-patterned plate, and the snowflake silver/white bowl was only around 13 euros ($20 USD)! That’s a great deal. And the white candlestick holders were around 10 euros for the pair. I love them, they look great with my aqua candles I think. :) I love using aqua in my home in the winter, it’s an unexpected color to add to my lilac, black, grey and white/cream mix but with the silvery accents that I have around and the ethnic prints and patterns I think it’s a gorgeous hue to work in to my wintery look.

I am so glad that I found a Target equivalent here though I think Hema is smaller and has a bit more to choose from when it comes to cute stuff like postcards and ceramics. If we had taken the express bus from Oldenburg over the border to the Netherlands I heard that we would have been able to shop at a much larger Hema — but we did not have the time so we’ve agreed to head back in a few months, perhaps with a car, to hit the next one. I am already excited for my next Hema trip!

Have you shopped at this store? Did you like it? Aren’t their postcards the best?!

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente December 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    oh….these are adorable! I love your picks and so wish I could visit there! Gotta love adorable home goods and things at really good prices! :) And how cute is that candy?
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Monday: inspired by Miss Capricho =-.

  • Reply diane December 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I lived in Maastricht for a spring semester in college. There was a Hema there that I shopped at frequently. It was definitely a favorite place of mine.

    I love your purchases!

  • Reply Antsje December 14, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Ooh, I like the stuff you bought! Hema is my absolute favorite store, I usually go there once a week. You should really visit Holland, Groningen for instance is only an hour and a half further than Oldenburg and has a really nice (and big) Hema. And it’s a lovely city!!

  • Reply Beth perry December 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

    so adorable and pretty! love all the colors!
    .-= Beth perry´s last blog ..SAMURAI WARRIOR =-.

  • Reply maartje December 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Ha, I recognize almost all of the products on your pictures! I live in Amsterdam, so I have several stores nearby.

    Have you ever seen their advertising brochure? It’s a joy to look at!

  • Reply glitzkrieg December 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Super cute loot! I especially love the cups- what a beautiful colour!

  • Reply Ana December 14, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I’ve been to Hema in my travels to Holland and it’s amazing! I could buy everything! It’s a pity (or maybe not;) ) that we don’t have it in Portugal.
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Remakover (seja lá o que isso for / whatever that is) =-.

  • Reply ermy December 14, 2009 at 10:14 am

    i shopped @hema in antwerp last spring and lovin it! Their chips and crackers are pretty good too.
    I also love this shop Dille & Kamille, they sell kitchen utensils, jams, jars, soaps, teas, etc etc…
    Not sure if they have it in Germany as well.. or maybe u can hope on the train to Brussels :)

  • Reply katrin December 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

    HEMA is one of the reasons why I get homesick after the NL regularly (I used to live in Rotterdam in 2004). Lucky me, I live in Cologne now and can easily pass by HEMA in Neuss or in a dutch city close to the border. They just seem to sell colours, don`t they? I feel like the dutch people/customers are more playful and spontanious. Boom bang! And it`s really affordable, that no matter what my account shows, it`s always possible to buy something colourful to cheer me up…oh and the baby-wear! Unique!

  • Reply lotte December 14, 2009 at 10:27 am

    It’s so must fun to read what you wrote about HEMA.
    I live in s’-Hertogenbosch Holland and grew up with HEMA


    Kids clothing is also the best when you don’t have that much to spend.

    Just want to tel it’s real fun to hear that someone finds it verry special while I am so familiar with it.

    btw. Almost everything is fun to read, so keep an going!

  • Reply Suze December 14, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Oh, I totally love the mugs! I have similar ones I bought here in Italy and also coordinated cups in pastel pink and pastel light brown.
    Great buys!
    .-= Suze´s last blog ..Advent Calendar * 13 * =-.

  • Reply Sarah December 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I also discovered Hema on a trip to Amsterdam and fell in love. (I bought up the same tea towel you have in photo 1 :) Ever since, I make a point of finding one anytime I am in Europe and buy up loads of pretty, fun things that I don’t really need. Their website is pretty fantastic as well:
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Vintage Wallpaper Salvaged Paper Notebook =-.

  • Reply Mrs. M December 14, 2009 at 10:35 am

    what lovely shopping bounty! the aqua cups & those candle holders are beautiful, and so reasonably priced! jealous. x
    .-= Mrs. M´s last blog ..pretty papers, pretty ribbons of blue =-.

  • Reply cheryl oz December 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

    The blue cups are so adorable. This is quickly becoming my favorite blog!
    .-= cheryl oz´s last blog ..Owls Gift Recycled Greeting Cards =-.

  • Reply Juana @ SweetVisualAids December 14, 2009 at 10:50 am

    What lovely finds!! and at a great price! I’ve passed many times in front of Hema here in Belgium, but never went inside.. Will definitely go in next time!! :)
    .-= Juana @ SweetVisualAids´s last blog ..Delightful Cologne’s Christmas Markets! =-.

  • Reply Brittanie December 14, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’m loving all of the ceramic pieces. Those aqua stacking cups are beautiful!
    .-= Brittanie´s last blog ..*Cupcake Saturday* =-.

  • Reply HomemadeHappinessNL December 14, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Unfortunately (for my wallet that is) we live very near a small Hema. But even small Hema’s stock beautiful products! My latest catch is 12 chocolate angels with real golden wings – they’re truly stunning!

  • Reply Brittanie December 14, 2009 at 11:00 am

    The website is hilarious! I love all the items setting each other off.
    .-= Brittanie´s last blog ..*Cupcake Saturday* =-.

  • Reply Kris December 14, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Love those blue cups!
    .-= Kris´s last blog ..Kaitlyn =-.

  • Reply cristin @ simplified bee December 14, 2009 at 11:02 am

    what great colors! love the coffe/tea cups and candle sticks. great finds.

    .-= cristin @ simplified bee´s last blog ..Sixx Design & Downtown Chic Book Giveaway =-.

  • Reply kaat December 14, 2009 at 11:42 am

    There are 3 (!) of these shops in my neighbourhood, so I realy have to be careful not to spend too much money in them. But as you say : prices are low. So whenever I want to treat myself, I go there.
    There are Hema’s (plural !) in almost every city in Belgium. Lucky me !

  • Reply vera December 14, 2009 at 11:49 am

    i have shopped a lot there, it’s one of my favorite stores :D
    Happy to live in the Netherlands ;) I love all their stuff from coffeecups, towels, socks, sweets, books, candles, postcards till their schoolstuff!! XO.

  • Reply Flavia December 14, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Great finds! I wish I could check out that store one day. I especially love the candlesticks – the aqua accents look great with your color scheme!
    .-= Flavia´s last blog ..From Condo to Home – the Dining Room Complete! =-.

  • Reply Melibu December 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I love those sweet little stufs !
    .-= Melibu´s last blog ..DIY Felt plushes / Peluche en feutrine =-.

  • Reply Ana December 14, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I love your shopping goods! lovely!
    I L O V E HEMA!
    For me is quite a long time I dont go to a Target, 4 years or so I left US that I didn’t do the straight connection! But they are quite alike!

    My mom too, when visiting me, in Amsterdam, in May, fell in love with HEMA!

    enjoy your new purchases!

    .-= Ana´s last blog ..a car ride to Breda =-.

  • Reply Lydia December 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I absolutely adore HEMA! I live right across from one and I go in whenever I need a little color or pick me up from the gray days here in Belgium. It’s a bit like Target! I love sending their postcards to my friends and family in the US. I love their design and their prices.
    .-= Lydia´s last blog ..Advent Origami Boxes: Day 13 & Santa Lucia =-.

  • Reply juliette December 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    oooh, now you’re really making me want to make a Hema visit happen! I will have to Google their locations and see how far off they are…

    and props on the candlesticks! LOVE ‘EM!
    .-= juliette´s last blog ..2 wreaths and a dose of perspective =-.

  • Reply Emma December 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Oh such a big fan of Hema too, love what your bought, I wish we had one or even some in the UK, I know it would do really well here. Thanks for sharing

    Emma :D:D

  • Reply Marianne December 14, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I am glad you like Hema a lot. They are a bit Ikeaish aren’t they. Hema can be found in almost every town. It is very popular for the reasons you mention. I love them. Not just for the nice stuff but also for ordinary things like toothpaste, t-shirts, bra’s, make-up etc. Their peas oup is awesome, you have to try it.
    .-= Marianne´s last blog ..{ Christmas decorations} =-.

  • Reply Tracey December 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to visit Hema last time I was in Germany but after seeing these pics (especially those adorable little blue cups) I am going to make it a point to visit!

    Great finds… thank you for sharing :)
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Going to a Good Home- “The Cove” =-.

    • Reply decor8 December 14, 2009 at 2:24 pm

      I’m so happy that all of you enjoyed taking this little virtual shopping trip with me. :) :) :)

  • Reply Pattie C December 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    We shopped Hema often in our 4 years in the Netherlands. Have you seen their website. It has cute graphics and animation. I still use the Dutch size bath towel for my hair everyday. Not quite bath size for Americans.

  • Reply Tatiana Maia December 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Oh nooo! Those candies… o_O
    Look soooooooo delicious!
    I’m on diet!


    Well, yes, you’re right. Hema’s cards are great!

    .-= Tatiana Maia´s last blog ..Drawing Bruce =-.

  • Reply julie December 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    We don´t have Hema in Berlin, but every time we´re in Belgium ( my man´s belgian) Hema is on the to-go-to-list. Also bought the dutch sweets last time :-) they´re so pretty and really nice as a little present for like minded ladies.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..birdie in the morning =-.

  • Reply Mari December 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    L-O-V-E the HEMA, and am lucky enough to live in the Netherlands home of the very first HEMA. It’s my favorite shop for undies, glasses, wrapping paper, bedding, you name it.
    .-= Mari´s last blog ..My New Favorite Song =-.

  • Reply Ester Reznik December 14, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    My sister live in Holland, Hoorn.
    I`m Brazilian,and I always visit my sister and the first shopping I do in Nederland, is in HEMA.
    I can`t live without shopping in HEMA.
    It`s a special place to by somethings and eat something delicious.
    A hot dog is the best of the world.
    Try it!
    From Brazil

  • Reply Nancy Comelab December 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing, sweet Holly. This sure brings back so many wonderful memories… I used to frequently visit Hema when I still lived in Belgium, and I sure miss it! It’s wonderful to see the beautiful items you have picked out.
    .-= Nancy Comelab´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply Irene December 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    How funny, HEMA in Germany, I really didn’t know …but I’m glad you like this typical DUtch shop that so many overseas people miss, including me!
    .-= Irene´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply Alison Gibbs December 14, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    What great things you have bought. Love the aqua
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..OH CHRISTMAS TREE..OH CHRISTMAS TREE & WE HAVE A WINNER =-.

  • Reply Sonia December 15, 2009 at 12:34 am

    I adore HEMA! I shopped there all the time while living in Maastricht. Since I was just a poor student, I decorated my room w/ their postcards!

  • Reply Ursula Graham December 15, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Wow those treats look so perfect it’s almost as if they’re fake! Amazing things like this make me want to just go and travel the world right this very moment.
    .-= Ursula Graham´s last blog ..Dining Area =-.

  • Reply Pillipillihandmade December 15, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Big Sigh.

    I’m Belgian, and have lived in Amsterdam (the HEMA Hometown!!!) for six years, but last year I moved to Italy to be with my sweetheart and honestly, HEMA is one of those things I really miss (aside from Thai & Indian Restaurants).

    Don’t get me wrong, Italy is FANTASTIC. But they don’t have Hema.


    .-= Pillipillihandmade´s last blog ..Penguin and Fish! =-.

  • Reply Annebet December 15, 2009 at 5:52 am

    I live in Holland, and I have to say, HEMA is one of my favourite stores! I can completely imagine that you miss out on it when living abroad.
    Whenever you need a gift, a nice card or good wine, Hema is the place to be!

  • Reply Jane December 15, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I love Hema!!! Pretty much the only thing I look forward to when travelling to Brussels… I didn’t know they have it in Germany too, so maybe next time I don’t need to go so far anymore. When I went to a wedding in Brussels in October, the first thing after arriving really was hitting Hema and buy loads of stuff for my flat, from bread knives to a matrass cover… I think it’s amazing that they stock everything – from candies to coat hangers(even the practical stuff you tend to look for forever like these plastic caps for wine bottles). Like Muji, but so sweet!

  • Reply Onneke December 15, 2009 at 7:44 am

    What a lovely post about hema! I am Dutch but moved to the UK 7 years ago, whenever I go back I always go to hema. There is nothing like it in the UK. They do the most amazing baby and toddler clothes. The slogan in Holland is: Echt HEMA. Real HEMA. You can always recognize their products, and then you say: echt hema. Love it, thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Nicole December 15, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Ohmygod! Can’t believe that you went to my Hometown? Remember that I told you on Facebook to go there one day? Anyway hope you had a coffee in the “Loft” and if not you have to next time, it’s the best Cafe’ ever in the City. The Hema must be new? I didn’t know it, I only know it from Groningen/Holland, of course no Hema in Spain, haha. Anyway I’m going to Madrid today until Sunday so I hope to get some good finds there. Hope you liked my City! Windy greetings from Malaga

  • Reply Karin Elizabeth December 15, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Love the photos in this entry! HEMA’s one of my favourite stores! Lots to offer, from clothes to interior decoration to goodies, and at such a great budget price! I recently moved to a smaller town but we have a HEMA here, five minutes away by bike! Heading there tomorrow, I’ll go have a look at their candy department and pick up some snacks.
    .-= Karin Elizabeth´s last blog ..R&R 074 | Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse #5) =-.

  • Reply Annika December 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Nice posts all the time, very inspiring!
    thought you might be interested to see this interview with one of the designers from the HEMA. she does the hole postcard collection, and a lot for the other departements as well.
    greetings from Netherlands

  • Reply megan December 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I just spent a year living in Leuven, Belgium and loved HEMA. It was actually one of the first stores we started using to get things for our apartment. My first thoughts about it too, were “TARGET!”

    it was nice to see this post and get a little taste again of the dutch life!

  • Reply annie December 16, 2009 at 1:07 am

    those blue stackable cups are so cute! i swear i saw the exact same ones at macy’s, except the cups were white. they didn’t have blue.
    i also love the rubber stamp set & the doily plate.
    .-= annie´s last blog art journal pages =-.

  • Reply mijk December 16, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Hey if you would have hopped over the border fom oldenburg. You probably would’ve been in Groningen where i live. If you ever do I am sure you would love some of our small shops!

    • Reply decor8 December 16, 2009 at 8:36 am

      Mijk: oh reallllyyyy?? Hmmm. Maybe I will go there! :) :)

  • Reply OhhhMhhh December 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Holly, you went to Hema in Oldenburg?! That’s so funny, I’ll be shopping there next week! It would have been so funny to meet you there. And I have to share my shopping tipps for Oldenburg with you. My two sisters live there, so I shop there very often. Did you visit the shop called Hofgarten in the Gaststraße? The Shop is much more pretty than the Website… They have a lot of stuff you would love!
    @ Mijk: Groningen is very lovely! I shop there often too. And you had Hema first, right? ;)
    .-= OhhhMhhh´s last blog ..Wandschmuck für glückliche Weihnachten – der Fang der Woche =-.

    • Reply decor8 December 16, 2009 at 9:49 am

      OhhhMhhh: Yes, that’s where I went. :) Have a fun time. We can meet up sometime, sure! I did not see Hofgarten, I will look it up online. Thank you!

  • Reply CommeUnPiou December 16, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you very much i didn’t know HEMA but next time i’m in Paris i will try to go there !

    What a lovely shopping you did ! Everything is cute !

  • Reply Minkeltje December 24, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I love HEMA, mostly because if you need something ‘If HEMA doens’t have it, nobody has it!’

  • Reply Selina Lake January 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I love HEMA!! fab shop i always buy tea towels, bed sheets and candles when i’m in Holland x

  • Reply Cátia August 16, 2010 at 4:41 am

    How I understand u…I found hema’s store, last year, when I went to Belgium…and from the moment that I step in, I fell in love with…everything :) All the colours, the graphisms,…I simply wanted to take everything with me to Portugal! But what I found more adorable was the postcards…how I miss Hema’s postcards :) Waiting for the portuguese Hema’s Stores :D To lose my mind…and my money! By the way…nice website! I’ll come again*

  • Reply Emily November 18, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Is there anyway to get HEMA cosmetics online ? I live in the UK and would dearly love to buy some .. Gorgeous stacable cups and candle stands.. you have excellent taste !

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