Christmas is a time for friends and family to be together and present shopping reflects this. The more personable or unique your gifts, the better they’ll be loved. So why not go on the hunt for shops that only sell unique gifts? It might save you a lot of fuss. The following three shops could turn out to be essential for you this Christmas.
Located on the doorstep of the Rijksmuseum is Hoogkamp Antiquariaat, a quaint antiquary. Visitors on the lookout for something very special can browse numerous antique maps, prints and etchings, mostly of Amsterdam but also other subjects and areas. The little shop offers a foolproof method for acquiring unique etchings of the crooked houses lining the canals, or prints of the wondrous bridges crossing the waterways. There are scores and scores of them, as well as antique maps depicting previous versions of the city’s layout, dating back to times like the 17th Century.
And also good to know; you can find lots of botanical drawings, both authentic ones and reproductions at Hoogkamp’s. Prices are very reasonable and chances are that if you buy something that you know might be of interest to a loved one, you will really make their Christmas unforgettable. To find the antiquary, head to the north side of the Rijksmuseum and head for the canal just across the bridge, Spiegelgracht. It’s number 27.
La Savonnerie is French for ‘The Soapery’. Toiletries are, of course, a very different ballgame from antiques but if you’re hunting around for unique gifts, this soap outlet is a very good bet. It will be difficult to pass by this shop, located on Prinsengracht 24, without going in as the smells literally wake up the senses of everybody who happens to gravitate near it.
The soaps are made on the shop floor and entirely according to French milling customs. Be assured that all the soaps you see in the shop are made of 100% plant-based materials, oils are derived from either palm or jojoba. There are over 50 scents around here both food scents and ‘real’ perfumes, so take your time to pick and choose. Soap bars are hand stamped ‘Amsterdam’ and the shop’s name and can be personalised if you so wish. The many bath accessories in La Savonnerie also make amazing gifts and it’s unlikely you will find these elsewhere in Europe…
Amsterdam is a mecca for vintage fashion lovers. So in case you are looking for that very best of accessories or, if you dare, an item of clothing for a friend – you could try your luck here. Or you could have an afternoon of fun taking pictures of yourself in various outfits and presenting those to a loved one to choose from. Thing with vintage is; if you hit the nail on the head, you’ll absolutely have purchased a gem that will last for a long time to come in any wardrobe.
Spiegelbeeld in Huidenstraat 24 (part of the icononic Negen Straatjes boutique shopping area) veritably stocks some of the best vintage designer clothes with labels including Burberry, Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. If this one is chockerbloc with other hunters, step away and walk a couple of steps until you hit the other major vintage store just around the corner, Laura Dols, at Wolvenstraat 6 where you will find a greater variety of vintage fashion as well as tons of really cool accessories such as bags, belts, tea towels, tablecloths and various bedlinens.