Dutch Quirk #84: Buy everything from IKEA and then donate it to a kringloop a year later

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If you love an IKEA purchase but also kringloop hunting, you’re in luck in the Netherlands — you can probably do both in the same place.

Always looking for hip IKEA items to decorate your place, or been eyeing a certain treasure for a while? Look no further than your neighborhood thrift shop, the kringloop!

Though the two stores are not affiliated in any way, you’d be mistaken for believing it. The second-hand shop looks like a small-scale IKEA. 😵‍💫

What is it?

Who doesn’t like to shop at IKEA?! Come on, visiting the store is like a day trip.

The added convenience of IKEA delivery only adds to this obsession, but unfortunately in the Netherlands, it doesn’t add to the items’ shelf life.

Then you have kringloop. Not only do they compete with IKEA over prices (a €1.50 vase, now that’s a steal) but with stores that pretty much look like someone ripped a page out of an IKEA catalogue.

READ MORE | How to donate clothes, furniture and everything else in the Netherlands

Turns out, this strange relation can be explained by the supply and demand provided by the Dutch themselves! ♻️

They furnish their pads (floor to ceiling) with IKEA goods, only to donate it all to the nearest kringloop a year later.

@silkedamsma Dit is een van m’n favo kringloopwinkels 🫶 In amstelveen, De Boemerang (of het is nu omgezet naar De Boem, not sure) #kringloop #kringloopwinkel #kringloopparels #comethriftwithme #kringlopen #tweedehands #deboemerang #rataplan #noppes #kringloophaul #kringloopvondst ♬ original sound – Sonic Reducer

Why do they do it?

Convenience or plain stingy?

If you think about it, IKEA furniture was created for Dutch homes, with their characteristic limited space and narrow doors.

Oh, and steep stairs that usually don’t fit a couch other than a tightly-packed one through the window or off the hook.

There is a problem with IKEA furniture, though, and it’s not the price. It tends to go out of style very quickly, and the materials used are not long-lasting.

READ MORE | Furnishing your house in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

What do the Dutch do when their chair cushions are flat and worn? Drop them at the nearest kringloop, before returning to IKEA for a replacement.

Lucky kringloop hunters get to enjoy readily assembled IKEA furniture. 😉

Why is it quirky?

The balance between the sustainability of kringloop culture and the commercialism of IKEA in Dutch society is fascinating.

A classic bakfiets from IKEA, catering to the Dutch society. Image: Donald Trung Quoc Don/Wikimedia Commons

You’ve got to appreciate Dutch waste-hating. Kringlopen offer a sustainable second chance for a neglected table that needs a DIY spruce-up.

However, you can’t help but wonder why IKEA is the go-to store if the furniture repeatedly decays after a year. 🤷‍♀️

Should you join in?

This one is up to you! From personal experience, sometimes, the only store that would actually sell items small enough to fit in your tiny Dutch space is IKEA.

But we would recommend visiting a kringloop before going to IKEA, because the chances are that you’ll be able to lock your IKEA target there for a smaller, greener price tag. 🏷️

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Pexels
Farah Al Mazouni 🇸🇾 🇺🇸
Farah Al Mazouni 🇸🇾 🇺🇸
Farah believes she's been on many adventures during her millennial life, each for a different (sometimes invisible) purpose. The latest adventure whisked her away to Amsterdam for love, and what a magical surprise she found in this city. Armed with imaginary confetti in her pocket, and ready to celebrate all wins, big and small, Farah says "ahla w sahla" or “welcome” to her latest adventure in this wonderland.



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