Our local HEMA in Utrecht, where I'm a regular.

Yesterday I had lunch (mustard soup and a mini-baguette) at the HEMA near my office and it just gave me yet another reason to love HEMA.

(I’m sure my Dutch friends are already laughing at this post, because I’m always going on about how great HEMA is. Well, now the whole world knows.)

For my readers who live outside of Holland and are unfortunate enough to have never visited a HEMA, it is a Dutch chain with locations throughout the Netherlands. The most succint way to explain it is to say it’s a Dutch version of Marks & Spencer, but I never liked Marks & Spencer, and HEMA is in my mind one hundred times nicer.

HEMA is everything you want it to be – a household goods store, a clothing store, a drug store, a garden store, an office supply store, a card shop, a mini supermarket, a patisserie, a café, and a cafeteria. Yet it still manages to be a managable size, unlike sprawling department stores, and is as cheap as is it is cheerful.

In all the countries I’ve ever lived in – which is many – I’ve never encountered a store that so conveninetly sells all the things I need in one place. Imagine a Woolworth’s, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Ryman’s Stationer, Clinton’s Cards, Tesco Metro, and Gregg’s all rolled into one. Need cotton buds, a bra, correction fluid, a birthday card, a plastic bucket, and a fresh apple pie? Just go to HEMA. I’m telling you, it’s awesome.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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6 Responses to HEMA

  1. Will M says:

    Sounds more like John Lewis than M&S. Gonna ignore the slight on M&S.

  2. Well you have Hema in 5 countries (in case some people want to try it):
    Netherlands: 445
    Belgium: 62
    Germany: 8
    Luxembourg: 3
    France: 4 (Paris, Créteil, Valenciennes, Lille)


    • africagrows says:

      And, intriguingly, apparently there was a cultural and artistic exhibition in Amsterdam a few years back that attempted to create a virtual Arabic version of a HEMA store. As part of this, they developed an Arabic-font version of the HEMA logo, leading to a lawsuit from the company. See more at: http://www.atrissi.com/wordpress/?p=23. Scroll down for images of the Arabic-language logo next to HEMA’s signature rookworst!

  3. Pingback: Freebies « What the Dutch

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