When shopping in Amsterdam, de Bijenkorf is one store not to be missed. Offering everything from high-end fashion and beauty treatments to luxury homeware and restaurants, this department store is among the best in the world. We speak to the team about what makes the store so special and what to look out for this autumn/winter
Amsterdam has one of the most diverse shopping scenes in Europe thanks to its mix of trendy vintage treasure troves, high-end boutiques and cool concept stores. But for the best in luxury shopping in Holland, those in the know turn to de Bijenkorf.
Luxury at de Bijenkorf doesn’t stop at the labels on the rails. The department store’s impressive shopping services are among the best in the city
Opened in 1870, de Bijenkorf – ‘the beehive’ in English – began life as a small haberdashery on Amsterdam’s Nieuwendijk. Today the department store is the biggest in the Netherlands. It has seven branches throughout the country, but it’s the flagship store on Amsterdam’s Dam square that is Holland’s main shopping destination.
With five floors of fashion, jewellery, beauty, homeware and food, de Bijenkorf has everything a visitor to Amsterdam could ever need, all under one roof. Brands in attendance include Italian labels Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci and Prada, French fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Givenchy, and British brands Burberry, Victoria Beckham and Charlotte Tilbury. As Irene van Lieshout, buying manager of womenswear, explains, the buyers pride themselves on ‘always being on top of newness and bringing new and exciting brands to the Netherlands’. The range of labels here can rival that of any leading department store across the world.
Another strength of de Bijenkorf’s collection is its variety. ‘It is very diverse,’ says van Lieshout. ‘That is the strength of a department store. We are accessible to a broad range of customers with various interests.’ All ages and tastes will find something to love here, from local labels to the best in international brands. ‘We will never lose our Dutch roots and remain close to local brands, but the customer is becoming more international and we try to find a balance somewhere in between,’ she continues.
As one would expect, the luxury at de Bijenkorf doesn’t stop at the labels on the rails. The department store’s impressive shopping services are among the best in the city. One of the store’s most popular services takes place away from the busy sales area in a discreet lounge on the second floor, where de Bijenkorf offers a luxury personal shopping service. The by-appointment service consists of a consultation with a dedicated personal shopper, who will take the time to discover the client’s taste before presenting a selection of products carefully chosen to match each individual’s personal style. The store also has an in-house tailoring service, where expert tailors will make alterations and adjustments to ensure visitors leave with purchases that are perfect for them.
De Bijenkorf’s services don’t stop at fashion either. The store’s Treatment Room is located on the ground floor and provides an enticing range of beauty therapy treatments, including facials and expert make-up advice, using products from leading brands including Chanel, Dior and La Mer. The Rob Peetoom hair and beauty salon on the fifth floor offers a selection of hair, make-up and beauty treatments, ensuring visitors to de Bijenkorf leave looking and feeling more stylish than when they arrived.
Amid the beauty and shopping services available, de Bijenkorf also caters specifically to international customers. On the store’s fourth floor, visitors will find the Netherland’s first and only Tax Free Lounge, where non-EU shoppers can receive an instant tax refund. In addition to the lounge, every cash desk on the store’s five floors offers tax-refund services for non-EU residents, as well as a dynamic currency conversion system, allowing customers to pay in their preferred currency when using MasterCard or Visa. And to ensure the staff at de Bijenkorf are as helpful as possible, multilingual hosts are dotted throughout the store, to ensure that visitors who don’t speak Dutch or English are looked after.
After a long day of shopping and beauty treatments, it’s only natural that visitors to de Bijenkorf may end up a little hungry. Luckily the store’s fifth floor is also home to de Bijenkorf Kitchen, serving a host of international cuisines, including Japanese, Italian and American dishes, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Similarly, the Dam Café on the store’s first floor is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine, champagne or a cocktail while perusing the café’s menu of delicious light bites and snacks.
When it comes to the end of a long day’s shopping the last thing anyone wants to do is carry their new purchases back home. Luckily, the department store’s hotel delivery service allows customers to pass on their shopping haul to a member of staff, who will arrange delivery.
Stocking the biggest names in fashion, with personal shopping, tailoring and alteration services, hair and beauty treatments, Tax Free shopping services, and a wealth of culinary treats, it’s easy to see why de Bijenkorf is Amsterdam’s premiere department store and an essential port of call.