Books + Magazines

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

May 25, 2010

Visiting Amsterdam soon? You’ll want this book in your bag! When Pia sent me an advanced copy of Amsterdam: Made By Hand I knew that the moment I had some time to read it, that I would love it. This past weekend I had a little time on Sunday night to flip through the pages and read her lovely introduction which feels so personal, and some of the shop profiles, and all of the images (because let’s face it, the visuals are always the best in books like this)… and well it’s quite charming and certainly worthy of a review. I’m sure that many bloggers who have the opportunity to pick this book up will give it a glowing review in addition to my own because it’s one that will appeal to so many I think.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Amsterdam: Made By Hand is a compact guidebook, published by Little Bookroom in New York, that has around 171 pages with many pretty photographs taken by the author, Pia Jane Bijkerk, and it captures how Amsterdam looks and feels through her eyes along with some of her most cherished shop suggestions. This book is ideal for those looking for a bit of an “off the beaten path” guide to where one can find shops catering more to the handmade, upcycled, vintage-loving crowd.

Here are some peeks from my copy:

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Swarm – Shop shown above.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Juffrouw Splinter Curiosa – Shop glimpse above

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

The Frozen Fountain – Shown above.

“As a stylist, I am always on the lookout for objects that are distinctive and alluring—which is why I adore all things handmade. Amsterdam: Made By Hand is an insider’s guide where you’ll discover Dutch ateliers tucked away on the cobble stoned backstreets of the old canal district, and boutiques that Dutch designers and stylists have kept well-hidden inside their black books. . . until now. Between its pages you can expect to find woodworkers, flower artists, jewelry designers, dressmakers, ceramicists, and more: with the backdrop of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals and wonky buildings, you can expect to see this quaint old city in a whole new light.” – Pia Jane Bijkerk.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Another view of The Frozen Fountain shop.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Tesselschade Arbeid Adelt shown above.

Not all of us traveling want to shop only at big department stores – many delight in finding things that feel like no one else has ever found them before and most of the shops in Pia’s book feel exactly like this – mini hidden treasure boxes tucked away on random side streets owned by passionate people who have made their retail store and the products in it their entire existence. It’s hard to find shops like this in cities nowadays, even in Europe, as more and more chain coffee shops and stores move in paying top dollar for property forcing long time tenants out and sometimes not just out to another neighborhood but out of business altogether. Don’t get me started on this topic though as it makes me quite warm and my cheeks get a bit red! Ha! But yes, this is happening because how can one compete with paying top dollar costs for renting a shop when your store is really more about passion and community building than counting stacks of bills at the end of the day?

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Fabrics at Tinctoria.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Cute things at Happy Red Fish.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Gorgeous and a bit edgy – jewelry at Gild Goldsmith Atelier.

And so, when you go to cities you often only find these big stores in the main sections and sometimes it can seem as though a city lacks a local identity, the very identity that is found from the shops that had to move out to make way for the big boxes. Fortunately, in Amsterdam, many sweet stores do exist but often tucked away here and there and Pia has found them and placed the gems lovingly into this book. This is the real value of a book like this – it supports those who are happy to stay small and leads us who are happy to shop there to them. Thank you Pia for your efforts in pulling together this sweet glimpse of your Amsterdam and I hope that anyone interested in handmade goods will pick up this title the next time they plan to visit there.

Amsterdam: Made By Hand

Psst: If you are in Amsterdam on June 5th see the above image for a fun signing party that you can attend! If you go, have fun!

Psst Psst: I’m an Amazon affiliate so the links to Amazon are part of my affiliate program.

(images: top 5 photographs taken by Holly Becker for decor8, all others submitted by Pia Jane Bijkerk for this review.)


  • Reply Heidi King May 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Books like this are why I love to travel. Thanks for sharing and this is definitely on my “to do” and “to buy if I do” list. I have loved your blog and your beautiful photos for a while!

  • Reply Coco May 25, 2010 at 7:32 am

    I want this book! Living only a short hour away from Amsterdam i still could use some good tips to find the good shops in Amsterdam. And besides that it looks as such a pretty book!

  • Reply Will May 25, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Lovely review, Holly. I purchased Pia’s Paris: Made by Hand book following your recomendation so I shall do the same with her follow up. Thank you. Hope you are feeling better and your horrible virus that you caught in London has gone. xo
    .-= Will´s last blog ..{John Lewis Bedding} =-.

  • Reply pinkbathtub May 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

    What a gorgeous book full of eye candy!

  • Reply Anne-Laure May 25, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I LOVE the layout of the Tesselschade Arbeid Adelt

  • Reply Ana May 25, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I want it! I still have “Paris Made by Hand” on my wishlist but this one is equally gorgeous!
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Os dias de sol fazem-nos bem / Sunny days make us good =-.

  • Reply laura trevey May 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

    My sister lived there for a while and would love this!

  • Reply Masha May 25, 2010 at 9:35 am

    This book looks so amazing. If I go to Amsterdam one day, I’d definately buy it – just the travel guide I would need, because these would be the places that I’d bee looking for…
    .-= Masha´s last blog ..How To Discover Your Personal Style =-.

  • Reply Luisa May 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

    This book looks awesome, I can’t wait to get it! I have lived in Holland for 7 years (though not in Amsterdam), love all things handmade and don’t know any of the lovely places mentioned in your post… Well, this is all about to change!

  • Reply Nuit May 25, 2010 at 10:34 am

    oh wow!! this book looks amazing!!!!! I love this post!
    .-= Nuit´s last blog ..Fabulousness times Four! =-.

  • Reply Diana L May 25, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Oooooo! “Paris Made by Hand” sound delicious too. Must look that up as well. Thank you for the inspiration.
    .-= Diana L´s last blog ..Wow Green Sea Glass Pendant =-.

  • Reply manvi @ mochatini May 25, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Love pia’s blog and her book paris:made by hand is one of my favs! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of amsterdam: made by hand. I wish I was going to be in amsterdam then, I would LOVE a signed copy.
    .-= manvi @ mochatini´s last blog design; natural beauty by jewelweeds =-.

  • Reply String May 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Looks like a beautiful book! My partner and I both fell in love with Amsterdam when we visited several years ago.
    .-= String´s last blog .. =-.

  • Reply hena tayeb May 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    i really like the white chandelier..
    gorgeous book full of inspiration..
    .-= hena tayeb´s last blog ..10 Days =-.

  • Reply vadjutka May 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks a lot for this great tip – I am going to Amsterdam in 10 days, yaay!
    .-= vadjutka´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

  • Reply Marthe May 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Oh, I love this!! I’ve always wanted to go to Amsterdam!

    Reminds me, did you pick up the Independent London Store guide when you were in London? If not, check it out:
    .-= Marthe´s last blog ..Inspirational links =-.

    • Reply decor8 May 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      marthe – yes I got that a few years ago, it is great isn’t it? But I have it packed away in boxes in my cellar until we move so I cannot refer to it yet. :(

  • Reply MUS May 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    at my wishlist!

  • Reply Juana @ SweetVisualAids May 26, 2010 at 3:03 am

    I love Amsterdam!!! I’m looking forward to buying this book and finding great hidden treasures :)
    .-= Juana @ SweetVisualAids´s last blog ..We want candy!! =-.

  • Reply mariska meijers May 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

    She is one amazing girl. Really looking forward to meeting her at the book launch 5th of June here in Amsterdam!
    .-= mariska meijers´s last blog ..Are We Having Fun Yet? =-.

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up