This Store Is the Dutch Equivalent of Target and IKEA's Baby

This Store Is the Dutch Equivalent of Target and IKEA's Baby

Emma Glubiak
Oct 19, 2018
(Image credit: HEMA)

There are a lot of stresses that come with moving to a new country. When I moved to the Netherlands for a six-month stint at the University of Amsterdam, I desperately tried to squeeze all of my favorite pots, pans, and utensils into my suitcase, because I wanted the comfort of those familiar items. Ultimately, though, airline baggage fees and limited suitcase space forced me to leave my cherished cooking supplies behind.

For the first few days I was there, I didn't cook — I subsisted on fresh bread, cheese, and bitterballen (delicious, little fried croquettes). Then came the moment of truth. Was there a place in Amsterdam that could fulfill my need for high-quality yet cheap items to temporarily fill my kitchen?

Enter: HEMA. The one place every Dutch person suggested when they heard my kitchen needs. "It's like your Target, but better," they'd confidently tell me.

Now this is a bold claim. As someone who takes special pleasure in browsing the aisles of my beloved Target, I was ready to be disappointed by HEMA.

I was not!

To be fair, HEMA is not nearly the same size as Target, as the Dutch retailer only sells its own brand. It actually felt more like a cross between Target and IKEA. But for kitchen supplies, bedding, towels, basic cosmetics, and simple clothing, it is absolutely amazing.

Every item I purchased for my kitchen surprised me — such high quality and low prices!

(Image credit: HEMA)

I got this enamel baking dish for less than $10 and it was far sturdier than my one at home.

(Image credit: HEMA)

I also picked up some basic pots and pans, which were equally budget-friendly and very high-quality.

(Image credit: HEMA)

They also carry tons of adorable oven mitts, dish cloths, and aprons, most of which are less than $5.

I was able to fill my kitchen with all the basics I'd need for less than $75. (And that included groceries like olive oil and salt!)

Yes, HEMA also has some groceries! Perhaps the greatest part of HEMA has nothing to do with their spectacular cooking supplies: They sell very cheap, very tasty traditional Dutch smoked sausages, which make any trip there even better.

I will never stop loving Target, but my experience at HEMA taught me that sometimes you can have room in your heart for two favorite stores. Even though I left Amsterdam two years ago, I still have the bike route from my apartment to HEMA memorized — I don't think it's something I'll ever forget.

Have you ever been to HEMA? What'd you think compared to Target and IKEA?

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