The Antiques Diva™
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>By mere happenstance, you’re in Holland at the best time to buy antiques in the last quarter century. Right now, Holland is offering some of the best bargains in Western Europe. Antiques have fallen out of favor with the fashion-forward low-landers and every Jan, Henk and Peter is cleaning their “zolder”, banishing anything Rococo, Baroque or beyond. As the Dutch lose interest in antiques, prices drop and savvy shoppers benefit from increased selection and lower prices. As an antique shopping maven, my mantra is the time is ripe to cash in on the age-old adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Of course, “trash or treasure” are subjective words. An 18th C heavily-carved Dutch walnut armoire might have sold ten years ago for 12,000 Euros. Today you can pick one up at auction for 2,000E. But you needn’t spend thousands to cash in on this recession. I’ve bought 200 year old copper pots and Art Deco lighting fixtures at Diemen’s De Eland for less than the price of dinner at IKEA. As a non-Dutch speaker, going to auction seems to be a daunting affair. But don’t let the words get in the way. De Zwaan located on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht #474 is part vaudeville show, part cultural immersion course. Go to viewings and peruse the catalogs in advance. If serious about buying, ask that your lot be sold in English. Should your budget be a bit bigger, Sotheby’s and Christies always offer English as an option.
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Your husband WG told me about your blog and I was hoping you could help me! I’m going to be in Amsterdam on holiday this month and would like to buy some antique Delft tiles while visiting. Do you have any recommendations of where I should shop? Also, do you have any tips of things I should do while in Amsterdam?
Desperately Seeking Delft
top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>WG told me you might be emailing! I am quite happy to give you some information on buying antique Delft tiles in Amsterdam! My answer to this question varies depending on the quantity of tiles you are interested in purchasing. The first place I send anyone looking for antique Delft tiles is to one of my favorite stores in Amsterdam!
De Weldaad is a charming shop located in the 9 Streets, my favorite shopping area in Amsterdam!
De Weldaad is an antique store that sells as many reclaimed salvaged goods as it does reproductions & home decorating goods. The shop is simply gorgeous and you’ll be happy to know they have an incredible selection of Delft tiles to choose from. Prices start at about 15E per tile and move upwards to 150E – 200E per tile! Needless to say, buying Delft tiles isn’t cheap! The owner of this shop happens to have a “farm store” located in Abcoude where she sells items at wholesale cost & has a much larger assortment of antiques & painted furniture. Sometimes she gets entire “Delft tile walls” in amongst the reclaimed building materials she sells. If you’re looking for a “wall of tiles” to use in a renovation project of a bathroom or kitchen, it would be worth emailing the owner at email@example.com to inquire on her inventory.
A second place I personally search for individual antique tiles within Amsterdam is De Looier Antiques Mall. This isn’t a gezellig sort of place like De Weldaad. It’s an antique mall and everything happens to be in a glass case. I personally find this antiques mall to be sterile, as I like to shop in places that look like a home, however it’s a favorite shopping destination of many A’damers. You won’t find “walls of tiles” here, but instead individual tiles in the same price range as above scattered around the mall. And if you like antiques you have about 200 vendors to choose from!
This shop is located on the Elandsgracht where there are a few other antique shops. Usually if I go to De Looier I take the Tram to De Looier, starting my day here I walk from this shop down the Elandsgracht towards the Prinsengracht. Turn left on the Prinsengracht and you’ll find tons of fabulous quirky shops lining the canal! When you are almost opposite the Anne Frank House there is a Delft Shop selling very good quality Delft products (both old & new). I don’t remember the name of the shop – but you can’t miss it!
I’m not sure how long you are in Amsterdam for holiday or what your plans include. However, a trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to The Rijksmuseum. That would be like visiting Paris and not going to The Louvre! My recommendation would be that you pop into the antiques district – The Spiegelkwartier – which is located perpendicular to the museum’s front entrance. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of Delft tiles in miscellaneous antique stores. The Spiegelkwartier is the premier antiques district in Amsterdam and while they have “high end” stores, they have mid-range & low-end shops as well.
WG & I love taking a Saturday afternoon in this district. Not only do you have the antique shopping & Rijksmuseum but also two of my favorite smaller museums are within easy walking distance from the antiques neighborhood: The Van Loon Museum and The Tassen Museum (Purse Museum). Also, I love nothing more than a casual lunch across from the purse museum at Stacey’s Pennywell Brasserie– the carpaccio salad with pine nuts & truffle mayonnaise with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc is to die for.
If you’re serious about buying tiles, then I’d recommend you get out of the city and go to Delft! It’s probably a 45 min train ride away and is a charming town worthy of a visit especially if you are a Vermeer fan as this is the city he is from! Perhaps the best resource for antique tiles is De Porcelijne Lampetkan Antiques. I just visited their store for the first time but I’ve known of them for years as they always have booths at upscale antique fairs. I’ve never seen “walls of tiles” in their display but as always it’s worth asking.
I had an interior decorating client from the USA who wanted to buy a large quantity of antique tiles for her kitchen walls (you can see tiles used in kitchen décor like this if you visit the Van Loon Museum). She was willing to pay the price and readily accepted that this was an expensive way to decorate her home as she & I agreed it was going to make a perfect country kitchen! Once she saw the antique tiles in person, however, she decided she didn’t want to decorate her walls with antique tiles but new ones instead! She thought that the antique tiles looked “too dirty”. And though I love antique Delft tiles, I could understand her point. Thus, instead of buying old, we went straight to the factories in Delft where you can buy giant tile murals or “wall pictures” where an assortment of tiles come together to make 1 picture. A tour through any one of the Delft factories is an interesting hour and educational as it will help “improve your eye” for quality when you’re out shopping for Delft…. I’ve been to several of the Delft factories but the one I remember liking best was De Porceleyne Fles (The Porcelain Jar). Online you will find a “tile catalog” of their inventory.
The Antiques Diva™
PS: One more Amsterdam must-do is to visit “Our Lord in the Attic” museum! It’s a baroque cathedral hidden in the attic of a house in the red light district! Also, I don’t know if you are a “foodie” but if you are, one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life was in Amsterdam at Restaurant De Kas when WG & I booked the Chef’s Table on a double date with our friends The Gourmet God & Goddess! If you go to De Kas, sitting at the Chef’s Table is essential as from this seat you get to taste every single thing that comes out of the kitchen!