IMG_4946

The Dutch really know how to live. Their country is the seventh happiest in the world, according to a U.N. report. They throw the world’s biggest street party each year. And they design drool-worthy items like the Bugaboo stroller owned by every celebrity mom. Dutch Design is actually a “thing.” The aesthetic combines minimalism, experimentation, and quirkiness with functionality and craftsmanship. It usually refers to Dutch product design which took off in the ’90s when creative mavericks like Marcel Wanders burst onto the international scene. Since then, the Netherlands has produced cutting-edge design studios with funny namesDroog and Moooi—and a cottage industry of lifestyle blogs.

During our few days in Holland, I admired how Dutch Design permeates daily life. Back in the States, you have to visit specialty websites like Hive Modern or A+R Store to find Dutch designers like Tord Boontje and Piet Hein Eek. Meanwhile, Amsterdam’s largest department store De Bijenkorf sells cool European brands like Tom Dixon and HAY, in addition to homegrown wares from Pols Potten. But it wasn’t just the superior retail offerings that made me swoon. It was the delightful little touches at every corner, proving that Dutch people are the most innately talented stylists. They can curate my house any day!

Bowled over: home accessories by British designer Tom Dixon on sale at De Bijenkorf department store. If only I had more room in my suitcase…

Snazzy feet: fierce and fabulous shoes by Sophia Webster in the window display.

The Frozen Fountain: I had read so many rave reviews about this contemporary furniture, fabric, decor, and art shop located on the Prinsengracht. It was a Dutch Design wonderland!

Green with envy: how killer is this wallpaper? And those chairs??

Dippity hue: I was beyond tempted to snag some of these neon-dipped wire baskets.

Pastel perfection: these gorgeous ceramics were like sugary confections.

Touchable texture: an ornate detail on the door of a mansion along the Prinsengracht.

Cuties on duty: quirky statues hanging out above the De Spiegel cafe on the Lijnbaansgracht.

Artful welcome: lovely front stoop along the Keizersgracht. I adore the effortless combo of blue, pink, orange, and gray.

Kids’ corner: love the hanging shoes!

Just plain pretty: sometimes flowers and a white bench are all you need.

Canta believe it: an example of the practical side of Dutch Design. This is the Canta LX, a micro-car made in the Netherlands and designed for disabled drivers. Measuring only 1.1 meters across, it can be used on bike paths and sidewalks. And no driver’s license is required (yikes!).

Love in the air: an upside-down heart is our final, fleeting image of Amsterdam.

Check out my Pinterest board for more info and resources.

Previous posts in this series: