In Amsterdam the tradition to set flea markets roots in passion of the Dutch to collect curious things and in the tendency to get rid of them. The reason perhaps is in the set-up of Dutch house that as a rule is very narrow: in Harlem you can encounter some three-stored houses with 2 or 4 meters height front. Even a new Yuppie district in the Java island was built up in accordance with analogous principle: narrow multicoloured houses are stuck densely to each other and you can spread up there only in height. That is why in Amsterdam they still construct the buildings provided with girders and hooks especially to hang up the furniture to the upper stores through the window. Not hard to be that under this daily life organization there can not be too much furniture and at every triffle they turn out to be in the flea markets. As an example on the King's Day, this is a national holiday in the honor of the King's of the Netherlands birthday (previously during 125 years there used to rule queens and this day was nominated the Gueen's Day but last year a man mounted the throne, the King Willem - Alexander) Amsterdam people displayed everything they want to sell out in front of their houses.
Spontaneous or seasonal markets are just one of the angles. The history of the second-hand goods markets of Amsterdam started in the 1780s when in the Jewish district Jodenbuurt there appeared the first shop. Since then many of the town places are considered to be constant flea markets. Among them for instance is the The Square Waterlooplein that used to be a part of the Jewry.
In the square Waterlooplein there still the oldest Amsterdam second-hand goods market and it is about 120 years. Local old-clothes dealers sell here the things that you could find only in the Netherlands: long wooden skates on the strings cost 12 euros, brass kitchen utensils at 3-5 euro and delftware -plates and different kinds of dishes at the price of 30 euro and more, wooden cigar boxes, half rusty heavy waffle-irons with long handles (Waffles are the third national specialty after chees and herring). Antique dealer Lars, tall wide-shouldered big chap with a golden chain around the neck and with a smile and sells an old shabby harness for 25 euro with a mirror inside, a kind of a shelf with a mirror. To my question where he had got this item Lars answered that he purchased it on the King's day somewhere in the streets of Amsterdam.
Here is a shop - warehouse in the enormous hanger to put up for sale all the assortment of bankrupt shops. The "Exhibition for sale" here rennovates weekly and if you look for something you need to visit this place several times. The downfall can happen to everyone so in Mevius they sell all and sundry: old kitchen utensils, umbrella stands with porcelain handle and leather bellows, chinese crackers, soviet motocycles, furniture of the 70-80s, "Zinger" sewing machines, new globes , buscuits cans and photocameras Clack and Bolex and many other useful irreplaceable things. In Mervius you can always find curious shape glass wall lights and gigantic wine glasses about 100 cm height. Designers come in here to buy something like that and of course here you can meet decorators and party organizers. These items help them to create the whole club or art-object space for a techno house party.
"Here you will meet many Russians. Yesterday for instance there came a lady from Moscow and bought all my engravings", said Aksel, a young antique dealer who has been working more that 6 years in one of the shops Antiekcentrum Amsterdam,the largest covered market of antiques in Amsterdam. "Antiekcentrum" takes about 1750 square metres of the commercial area and it is easy to get lost there: zigzag passages come between splendedely illuminated glass displays with tiny tiny items and rest on the half lighted rooms filled with overall goods. In a place like this Aksel works. One of his favourite antiques is fine curved "man's" servant with some partions for decanters and glasses and tiny cigars drawer or cigar box. This servant was created in the Netherlands in the early XXth century and cost about 700 euro. In the Antiekcentrum the encounters are rent usually by old sirs, in general by collectioners and they all have their own hobby or interest. Some sell watches of limited editions, and Mickey Mouse accessories, stuffed animals (lop - eared rabbits and rose doves), a collection od the tiny decorative cuticle scissors and needle-holders and old Dutch tiles with small pattern compound of small figures (this kind of finishing you can find in the kitchen of old Ductch houses of XVII-XVII C.) or wall ceramic coffee-grinders cost 60-70 euro that are not uncommmon for the houses of the XXth C. All this looks like a single-whole, a little pop-art-installation: the floor and the walls of some shops are covered with different objects like clocks and closk sets, media printed pictures and rusty signboards, flats numbers and autos.
An incredibly comfortable second hand shop of furniture with the best samples of modern design work is so attractive that you do not want to leave it. It stays not so far from the NDSM wharf that turned into a creative allocation unit, in one of the warehouses on the bay's shore. To get the Neef Louis you can take a boat from the Central port because that is the unique free public transport in Amsterdam.
In the Neef Louis shop the goods are not deprived of the texture and beauty. These are hand-made goods like f.i. massive wooden cast iron tables (the perice per one this table is approximately 2000 euros) and industrial furniture ( metal medical cabinets at the price of 1000 euro), operation lamps, gigantic lanterns (145 euro). In the hangar on the opposite side of the Neef Louis the re is a warehouse of an unpretentious furniture and accessories for home embellishment in country style- different multicolored lamp shades, credenzas for 300-400 euro, heavy wooden tables with drawers for 700-800 euro and woven bark-baskets for bottles.
In the main department of the Neef-Louis the advantage is given to the Dutch and Danish designers modernists. New items here are often rare to find and valuable samples in particular (they can come from a private collection) can be rent for a week under the deposit of the 20% of the price of the item. To the category "not for sale" go Four Chairs collection, created in 1959 by the company Mogens Kold made of teak, oak wood and brass and plastic or the Pelican armchair of the 1950s by Dutch Louis van Teffelen, made for the Meve company. The vertigo seizes you when you see on the encounter the Zig-Zag chairs of 1930s and Steltman of 1960s and actually it turns out that these imitations are hand-made. You can buy this modern replicas per 695 euro each. Safari chair 1933 by Danish designer Kaare Klint is a replica too judging by the price but an old one of course.
Unlike other second hand shops here the business is run by those who once grasped the sense of what they sell. The preferencies of the shops are read at once: this is a combination of the cold and warmth of the wood like in the chairs Rowac by Robert Wagner made of wood and steel or in the ascetic armchair made of green steel with wooden seat made by a Dutch architect Henry Martens in the 1930s for a Dutch Church.
The author of the article is Olga Ryabukhina
Public taken from the "Antikva" magazine
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