“Amsterdam is like the rings of a tree: It gets older as you get closer to the center.”
This is how author John Green described the eclectic Dutch capital, and if you’ve already had the pleasure of visiting, you’ll know exactly what he meant.
A casual stroll feels like you’re time-traveling though its history. Start at Dam Square, located in the Old Center at the very heart of Amsterdam which dates back to the 13th century, and work your way out, crossing the arched bridges built in the 17th century as part of its canal system which has earned the city the nickname “Venice of the North.” Reach Museumplein, or Museum Square, where three of the nation’s most important museums have opened their doors in the last two centuries.
And while Western Europe has left its mark on life and culture in the Netherlands, so has its neighboring Scandinavia. It’s the best of two worlds and this is exactly what makes the country of Van Gogh and Rembrandt so unique. And at the center of it all seems to be Amsterdam.
“It is, together with Eindhoven, considered to be the creative capital of the Netherlands. Creativity is an integral part of Dutch culture and firmly anchored in the Dutch national character,” said Piet Boon, founder and owner of Amsterdam-based design studio Piet Boon. “Our Dutch creative spirit was handed down as a legacy to us over centuries, and it is what put the Netherlands on the international map as a cultural and innovative country.”
Boon says that when it comes to interior design in Amsterdam, what matters the most is the combination of raw functionality and imagination. “It is still an efficient and comfortable living space but it has certain edginess. It is permeated with a high level of detailing and craftsmanship, and is at the same time pragmatic and unpretentious,” he added.
When decorating a home to fit this aesthetic, the notion of ‘less is more” should always be at the back of your mind, or as he puts it, “the art of simplicity and leaving things out.”
“It’s harder than it sounds though, because it is all about finding the right balance and creating harmony,” Boon said.
What does that mean in practice?
Follow his advice and invest in important basics like a comfortable sofa and a good size dining table, for example. Keep the color palette neutral, but incorporate beautiful art — after all if there’s anything the Dutch are famous for, it’s art.
Use natural materials such as wood, stone, and leather. Boon says these materials are not only durable but they also tend to become more beautiful with the passing of the years, just like Amsterdam.
Now, take a look at our picks for décor items inspired by Amsterdam.
To buy: uncommongoods.com, $280
Three Panel Amsterdam Canvas Wall Art
To buy: amazon.com, $140
To buy: ahalife.com, $1,099
Bender J. Rodriguez De Stijl Print
To buy: etsy.com, from $15
Glowing Wave Paper Lantern
To buy: uncommongoods.com, $40