Every country has to have its giant department store. Harrods in England, Macy’s in the US And in Holland, they have de Bijenkorf.
Like most huge departments stores, de Bijenkorf has a long history. The store was opened in 1870 by owner Philip Goudsmit. At the time, de Bijenkorf Amsterdam was only small store selling nothing more than buttons and sewing supplies. And funnily enough, the current success of the store is due in part to simple luck. While the old location was being renovated in 1912, the store moved from its location at Nieuwendjik street to a new location at Dam square. The idea was for the move to be temporary, but as sales began to multiply and the store began to grow, it never moved back. After World War II and the end of the Nazi occupation of Holland, de Bijenkorf grew big enough to fill the huge and elegant building that was constructed at Dam square in 1957.
Today, there are de Bijenkorfs all over The Netherlands, and the department store chain has turned into a Dutch institution. Part of that is due to its elegance and the oftentimes high prices of the products sold there making it attractive not only to an upper class clientele, but also to sightseers who simply enjoy being in the building. De Bijenkorf is also a central feature of Amsterdam because of a high class restaurant, an art gallery, and the occasional fashion shows, festivals, and concerts that take place at the store.
Even if nothing is going on, de Bijenkorf shopping is an experience all its own you don’t even have to pull out your wallet. And you may not want to, as you will probably find prices a little high. If you’re looking for more reasonably priced fare, visit Hema, a department store located on Kalverstraat it’s also owned by de Bijenkorf.