My first trip to Amsterdam was in 2001. I was meeting my family for an extended trip to the UK, and I had a two day layover in Amsterdam. I stayed in a guest house, and explored the city on my own. I was intrigued - the lively canals, crowds of bikes, and tiny shops and restaurants hidden around every corner. I promised myself I'd come back one day and explore the city further.
On our first date (as it often goes on first dates) my husband and I talked late into the night about philosophy and dreams, and discovered that we shared a love for Amsterdam. The dream to return to the city that we loved became a shared dream.
Almost five years later, when my husband was finishing grad school, we started talking seriously about a trip to Amsterdam. We'd saved some money to buy a house but felt compelled to use the money to travel instead. In the process of planning the trip we experienced two great personal losses: the death of my husband's mother, and our son's diagnosis with a rare genetic disease. We were reeling with grief, but we decided to take the trip anyway.
We rented an apartment in a cozy neighborhood just outside the center. From our bedroom window we could see the Rijksmuseum. We borrowed bikes from a small, local shop and rode everywhere, sometimes just to ride, sometimes to the the outskirts of the city to pay homage to my husband's favorite architects. We picnicked in Vondelpark daily and became regulars at our local coffee shop.
It probably goes without saying that the trip was life changing for us. We laughed and cried and clung to our little family. We came home with a deep desire for a simpler, more sustainable life. Maybe that's what we'd wanted all along but hadn't been able to articulate. Amsterdam, at that moment in our lives, articulated it for us.
We'd often talked about opening a small neighborhood shop, but that idea really started to take shape in Amsterdam. Our love for the Dutch way of life, and their innovative, accessible approach to design are at the heart of our shop.
Dutch is our attempt to capture just a glimpse of what we came home with: a desire to fill our home and lives with beautiful, meaningful objects, and to be part of a conversation about what it means to live with intention.
Katie | Dutch