Dutch Quirk #85: Put all their national pride into HEMA

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #85: Put all their national pride into HEMA

Ah yes, The Netherlands! The land of cheese and bicycles…and HEMA? Indeed, this Dutch chain store is an integral part of the Netherlands.

We can’t help but adore this quaint variety store but it is a hidden gem outside of the Netherlands.

What is it?

HEMA, which stands for Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam (Hollandic Standard Prices Company Amsterdam) is a variety-store chain founded in Amsterdam. It was set up by the luxury department store De Bijenkorf in 1926 (nearly 100 years ago!).

This beloved establishment sells generic household goods at a low price. HEMA has a few locations outside of the Netherlands, including Belgium (of course), the UK, France, and even Mexico!

Why do they do it?

Dutchies are known for being a little stingy (read: very stingy) so a variety store where they can get pretty much anything for standard prices is an appealing deal. While products don’t cost 10 to 25 cents anymore, you can buy relatively good products for cheap.

Not to mention, HEMA has all kinds of cute products. From fashion and beauty, to office supplies and home goods, you can find almost anything you need at HEMA. They even have a small groceries section and do photo services, like print pictures or making posters.

At certain locations in the Netherlands, HEMA stores come with a take-away restaurant so you get to enjoy delicious fresh snacks and drinks on a budget too. 💁‍♀️

Why is it quirky? 

HEMA is a great representation of the Dutch spirit — practical in both money and time, it’s no wonder that everyone in the Netherlands would defend HEMA till their death. Even though half of the Netherlands is shopping at HEMA, they have been financially struggling on and off for a few years.

The Dutch government almost became the new owners of HEMA at one point, until Jumbo bought HEMA in 2020. Despite facing financial troubles, there’s always someone who wants to save this old and beloved company.

Should you join in? 

We give this is definite yes! HEMA is a lovely store to shop at and it’s always nice to support a local business.

And you can try all the delicious Dutch delicacies they sell, including (vegan) rookworst and tompouce.😋

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

Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien is a Philippine native living in the Netherlands to finish her master's degree in political communication. You can usually find her trying to organize everything on Notion and the sticky notes app, otherwise, she’s nose-deep in a good book or obsessing over film soundtracks and video games.

1 COMMENT

  1. I did not know that HEMA was an increment, I actually have worked for this company in Holland many years ago and so did my mum. She worked in customer services, I was on the tills, working weekends. Have got great memories and missed it when I moved to the UK.
    Until I found a HEMA at Birmingham New Street Station! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Have visited the shop many times for a few years since it opened but, unfortunately it has now closed! 😔 I’m hoping things might change and another one will open in Birmingham!!

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