Antique Shopping in Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Dear Diva Readers,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Antique shopping in Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier is a destination in itself. Its streets are lined with gabled houses that are home to art galleries, antiques shops and cafés. Popping inside one of the stores in this neighborhood, you might discover a canal house converted into an antique shop or atelier with the front door facing the Spiegelstraat and the back door leading to a quiet oasis, where on sunny Dutch days you’ll find the shopkeeper reading in the garden.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Walking into these antique shops in the Spiegelkwartier you are given a glimpse of what lies beyond the doors of some of the private residences and canal houses. You can imagine Empire porcelain sets clinking as Grand Dames serve afternoon tea on long wooden oak tables. And you can picture how life used to be lived with Dutch style in the days of yore.

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />If you’ve only one day to dedicate to antique shopping while in Amsterdam – this is it.
The Spiegelkwartier houses over 100 specialized art and antique dealers whose wide variety of objects for sale range from archeological finds to 17th century furniture, glass and Dutch Delftware, from oriental art to Art Nouveau, from tribal art to contemporary art, from old medical instruments and clocks to jewelry and, last but not least, icons, paintings and old master prints.

to 10px; WIDTH: 300px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />This is my favorite place to spend any day in Amsterdam – the best days to go are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when you’ll find the greatest numbers of shops are open! Mark your agenda’s for the Spiegelkwartier’s Open House this September 25 – 26 and consider booking an Antiques Diva Tour of Amsterdam to find your way into hidden courtyards, past countless canals and to antique shops spotting both the Spiegelkwartier and further afield in Jordaan and Old South!

Before I dash, I have 3 last words of travel advice before you go:

Firstly, remember that in Holland cash is king. Normally when you hear me utter this word of advice it’s because cash allows for better negotiation, but in the Spiegelkwartier where not many of the vendors will bargain significantly, that’s not my primary reason for warning you of this. In Holland, due to the high transaction fees for credit cards, not many small shops and vendors accept credit cards. Though an annoyance, you can do bank transfers should you find something you can’t live without. And by the way, even though you shouldn’t expect a major discount on Dutch antique negotiations, it is always worth asking for one! In general, in Holland, you can expect a courtesy 10% discount, but not much more.

to 10px; WIDTH: 400px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 300px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />Secondly, watch out for the bicycles. The small road width of the Spiegelstraat with its charming brick lane feel can lull you into thinking this is a pedestrian street – but it’s not! It is a main thoroughfare with bicyclists peddling past you. Crossing the streets always reminds me of playing Frogger as a child!

And lastly, don’t wear kitten heels. Amsterdam streets are killer on my shoes and a day out antiquing inevitably results in a trip to the shoe cobbler if I forget to wear my loafers. Of course, maybe I’m going a little “too far” with the comfortable shoe option in the picture on the right?

Until next time, Happy Shopping.

The Antiques Diva™

(photo credit right: The English Rose)

Last Minute Diva! Merchandise Mart International Antiques in Chicago

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Flash Update from La Reine, the Roving Reporter!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I have the fabulous luck to be in Chicago this weekend for The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Show, October 3-6. In addition to the antiques, art and collectibles being offered at this semi-annual show, the Mart is also host this weekend to Design Chicago showing all that is hot and new in design. The show features speakers such as designer Celerie Kemble and Margaret Russell of Elle Decor, and includes open houses at several of their showrooms such as Grange and Niedermaier. Luxe Home is celebrating National Kitchen and Bath Month with an Open House of their own on October 4, featuring HGTV’s Monica Pederson. Of course, being La Reine, I’ve already previewed the Luxe Home show with Monica on HGTV this month! Luxe Home features over 8000 square feet of kitchen and bath designs and products. While looking for kitchen cabinet knobs recently, I needed a coffee half way through just to keep everything straight the options were so many!

If you’re not already a bit overwhelmed by all the offerings, The Merchandise Mart debuted the new Dream Home 2008 on September 25, which will be open until December 20.

Talk about one-stop shopping…it will take me two days just to go through it all! Tickets for the Antiques Show are $15, a donation of $5 towards University of Chicago Cancer Research is suggested at the Dream Home. Gourmet food and beverages are available (I think I’ll need to rent a chair!)

See you at The Mart!
La Reine

Robert Schreuder Antiquair – July Open House

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Open Dagen! 18-20 July and 25-27 July
Robert Schreuder Antiquair – Zomer in Amsterdam!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>You’ve heard me wax poetically about Robert Schreuder Antiquair at least twice before, so it won’t come as a surprise that I’m sending you his way again. Robert calls me “Princess” and that alone is reason enough to escalate him towards the top of my “best kept Amsterdam secrets list,” but he also happens to have an incredible collection of top quality antiques, specializing in Grand Tour Souvenirs. I’m all about tourframe.html” target=”_blank”>The Grand Tour, and have in fact devoted the last decade of my life towards living it in full pomp & circumstance, with a Baccarat champagne glass in one hand and Karl Lagerfeld draped on the other.

Robert’s “open by appointment only” antique shop provides the perfect backdrop for living the life I’ve always dreamed of living! In his upcoming secret sale, he has a few sensational items that I can’t help but give you advance warning of. Strange choice of words, “warning”, but “be warned” indeed for your self-control & monetary restraint will fly right out the window when you lay your eyes upon what I consider to be the piece de la resistance of his new collection. I fear I might be about to start a bidding war!

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ /> Et voila – the piece I’m clamoring to buy is an inkwell in the form of Napoleon’s tomb! Open the lid and you’ll find a little statue of the big man inside! (Given that my husband’s nickname for me is “Little Napoleon” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is the piece I adore). Alongside the tomb, Robert’s collected two “presse-papiers” – one with a bronze lion at rest yet alert as only the king of the jungle can be and the other is adorned with a small roman theatre mask. Both pieces are made in lava-stone and date from the middle of the 19th century.

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You won’t be able to help falling in love with his bronze statue of cupid sharpening his arrow or his beautiful bronze statue of a bearded man, signed “Barbedienne”.

to 10px; CURSOR: hand; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”” border=”0″ />A final item to wet your appetite for Robert’s Open House is his gorgeous large Neapolitan gouache of the view of the Gulf of Baia (dated around 1830-1850). With intense, beautiful colors such as these I can already see it hanging nearby my red matted lithograph of San Marco’s square!

Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™

Open Dagen – July 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 & 27
Friday 3pm – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday 11am – 7pm
Robert Schreuder Antiquair
Ceintuurbaan 368

The One Minute Diva – Amsterdam Antiques Annoucement

Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier is throwing open their doors this week Sept 28 – 30 (daily between 12 – 5pm) for their annual Open House. More than 80 dealers and art galleries will show off their new acquisitions offering special exhibitions and a number of interesting lectures.

Of particular interest in the line up of events are:

Galerie Lieve Hemel (Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 3)
– Adriana van Zoest demonstrates painting still lifes

Dekker Antiquairs (Spiegelgracht 9)
– Offers a special collection of jewels, watches and silver from Michiel Adriaan

De Brès Art Gallery (Kerkstraat 179)
– Celebrates their 20th year anniversary with a special exhibition and offers an Open House 20% discount.